In the heart of Paris, amidst its busy streets and famous attractions, lies a hidden tranquil oasis, the Grand Mosque of Paris. This magnificent mosque in the 5th arrondissement offers a serene escape from the city’s hustle and bustle.
In this complete guide, we’ll explore the rich history (including how it saved thousands of people in WW2), stunning architecture, cultural significance — and everything you need to know to visit this remarkable place.
If you’re in a rush to visit the mosque, here’s a summary:
Can You Enter the Grand Mosque of Paris? Yes!
Location: 2bis Pl. du Puits de l’Ermite, 75005 Paris, France
Visiting Hours: 9 a.m. -6 p.m. (7 p.m. in Summer) every day except Friday
Entrance Fee: €3 per person | €2 per person for groups of 10 or more
Dress Code: Knees and shoulders should covered | Covers are available at the entrance
The Grand Mosque Paris: Largest Mosque in France
The Grand Mosque of Paris (Grande Mosquée de Paris, also known as the Great Mosque of Paris) is not only a spiritual center but also a testament to stunning Islamic architecture. It’s the largest mosque in France, serving as a hub for the Muslim community and a place of cultural exchange.
Architecture and Design
The Grand Mosque of Paris is a masterpiece of Islamic architecture. Its stunning design immediately transports you to another world. As you step into the mosque, you’ll be captivated by the intricate tilework, elegant archways, and impressive minaret. The blending of Moorish and Hispano-Moresque styles creates a unique and awe-inspiring atmosphere.
The entrance itself is a work of art, with its intricately decorated doors and graceful arches. You’ll notice the iconic symbol – the star and crescent. The star with five points represents the Five Pillars of Islam, while the crescent moon and star symbolize the magnificence of the creator.
Beyond the entrance, you’ll step into a courtyard adorned with colorful geometric-patterned mosaics and lush greenery. It’s an inviting space that sets the tone for what lies ahead.
The Prayer Room
The heart of the mosque is its prayer room, where worshippers gather for their daily prayers. The room is both grand and serene, with beautifully crafted stucco and vibrant stained glass windows, creating a serene place for worship. The prayer room is reserved for worshippers but you can silently take a peek from the outside.
The minaret, with its distinctive green tiles, is another architectural highlight. Standing at 33 meters, this tall minaret was inspired by the Al-Zaytuna Mosque in Tunisia. While you might not be able to climb it, simply gazing at its graceful structure is a treat for the eyes.
The Central Garden and the Fountain
One of the most enchanting features of the Grand Mosque that attracts many visitors is its central garden. Here you can stroll among the fragrant orange trees, palm trees, and cypresses. If you’re visiting during spring (around late April), you will see beautiful wisteria vines creating a picturesque canopy.
In the middle of the garden, you’ll hear the soothing sound of gorgeous pink marble fountains. Let the peaceful atmosphere wash over you. It’s a perfect spot for meditation, contemplation, or taking a seat to pause your Paris itinerary.
Wisteria at the Grand Mosque of Paris
As mentioned earlier, the Grand Mosque of Paris is one of the best places in Paris to admire wisteria. The tiled central courtyard is adorned with decades-old vines that gracefully wind around the area, emitting a delightful fragrance.
Typically, the wisteria at the Mosque begins to bloom in mid to late April and continues for several weeks until the middle of May. If this is a consideration for your visit, check out Instagram’s recent stories on the Mosque’s location to see whether these purple flowers known as glycines in French, are currently in full bloom or not.
One of the grandest and most impressive public spaces of the Mosque is its library. This room has a beautiful wooden ceiling with lantern windows and wooden bookshelves which hold thousands of books. If you’re into Islamic culture and literature (and you can read French literature), don’t miss the mosque’s library. It’s a valuable place to explore.
Patios, Gardens, and Fountains
As you explore further, you’ll discover hidden patios, smaller gardens, and additional fountains. Each corner of the mosque offers a different perspective on its beauty.
A Brief History of The Grand Mosque of Paris
The mosque’s history is intertwined with the cultural fabric of France. It was officially inaugurated in 1926 and has since played a vital role in the spiritual life of Muslims in France. Today, it stands as a symbol of peace, cultural exchange, and interfaith dialogue in the heart of Paris.
Why Did France Build the Grand Mosque?
The Grand Mosque of Paris holds historical significance as a symbol of France’s enduring relationship with the Muslim world. It was constructed in the early 1920s as an expression of gratitude for the Muslim soldiers who fought alongside France during World War I. Over 100,000 Muslim soldiers fought and died from 1914-1918 for France.
This gesture aims to honor their sacrifices and strengthen cultural ties between the two communities. You can see a plaque in the internal courtyard that commemorates these brave soldiers.
But this is not the only world war that had a great impact on the Mosque and its community of worshippers. During WW2, this mosque displayed a significant role of bravery.
What Was the Mosque of Paris During WW2?
The Grand Mosque of Paris played a remarkable role during World War II by providing refuge to Jews fleeing Nazi persecution. Under the leadership of its rector at the time, Si Kaddour Benghabrit, the mosque issued fake certificates of Muslim identity to Jewish individuals, saving an estimated 1,732 lives.
The mosque’s underground tunnels and facilities, even Paris catacombs, were used to hide and protect those seeking shelter. This courageous act of solidarity remains a profound testament to the power of compassion and humanity even in the darkest of times.
Si Kaddour Benghabrit went above and beyond to ensure the safety of the Jewish people he was assisting. A remarkable example of this is the story of Salim Halali, a renowned singer with a Jewish heritage.
To protect Halali, Si Kaddour Benghabrit took extraordinary measures. He provided Halali with a counterfeit Muslim birth certificate, allowing him to pass as a Muslim. Additionally, Ben Ghabrit went as far as engraving Halali’s late father’s name on an unmarked grave in a Muslim cemetery located in Bobigny.
Our Experience Visiting The Grand Mosque of Paris
We wanted to see lesser-known spots in Paris, so we decided to visit the Grand Mosque. And let me tell you, we’re really glad we did. Walking into the Grand Mosque of Paris was such a serene and calming experience.
After a morning wandering around the busy streets of Paris, the mosque offered a serene sanctuary. We visited in the late morning, the mosque’s staff welcomed us warmly, and we were struck by the peacefulness within.
The stunning architecture, reminiscent of Moorish and Hispano-Moresque styles, evoked a feeling of being transported to Morocco. The abundant greenery within the mosque’s complex was refreshing, and we couldn’t help but appreciate the attention to detail in every corner.
We thought we would just see the place for a few minutes but we actually decided to stay for hours! We took our time checking each room and sat in the garden just in awe of how quiet and peaceful this place is! We even thought of staying for the scheduled prayer times!
Where is the Grand Mosque of Paris located?
Address: 2bis Pl. du Puits de l’Ermite, 75005 Paris, France
Mosquée de Paris is located in the 5th arrondissement (Latin Quarter) just across the Jardin des Plantes.
How to Get to the Grand Mosque?
Located in the heart of Paris, the Grand Mosque of Paris is easily accessible. Depending on where you’re coming from, you can take a walk or take the metro.
We chose to take a leisurely walk from Rue Crémieux, where we were staying. It was a bit of a trek, but we enjoyed the sights along the way. Glimpsing the Seine River, and strolling through Jardin des Plantes made the journey worthwhile.
If you prefer using the metro, take Line 7 and get off at the Place Monge station, from there take a 4-minute walk to the mosque. Alternatively, bus lines 67 and 89 have also stops nearby.
When is the Best Time to Visit?
The Grand Mosque of Paris is a peaceful retreat throughout the year, but I recommend visiting during the morning hours for a tranquil experience. The mosque is less crowded, allowing for a quiet walk in its serene surroundings.
Spring and early summer provide pleasant weather, making it ideal for exploring the mosque’s beautiful gardens. If you’re in late April to mid-May, check out the full bloom of wisteria flowers.
Dress Code for The Grand Mosque of Paris
Dress modestly. For both men and women, make sure that your knees, shoulders, and cleavage are covered. If you’re visiting during the summer and it’s just too warm to wear long clothes, consider bringing your own scarf to cover up upon entering the mosque.
If you are not dressed appropriately, the staff at the entrance will give you clothes to cover your legs or shoulders. Don’t forget to return it at the end of your visit.
What to Do in The Grand Mosque of Paris
The Grand Mosque of Paris offers a range of activities for visitors but let’s not forget that this is a place of faith. Enjoying its peaceful atmosphere is one of the best things to do here. Make sure as well to respect the place and its worshippers.
Witness Regular Prayer and Religious Services
Visiting the Grand Mosque of Paris offers a unique opportunity to witness regular Islamic prayer and religious services. As you step into the mosque, you’ll likely encounter worshippers engaged in their daily rituals. Witness the peaceful ambiance within the prayer hall and remember to observe these spiritual activities respectfully.
Take a Pause Yourself
Amidst the vibrant energy of Paris, the Grand Mosque of Paris offers a serene oasis where you can take a pause. Whether you’re tired from your jam-packed itinerary or simply seeking a moment of calm, the mosque provides the perfect setting for reflection.
Sit by the fountain, close your eyes, and let the tranquility wash over you. It’s a precious opportunity to disconnect from the outside world and embrace a sense of inner peace, making your visit to the Grand Mosque of Paris an even more fulfilling experience.
Admire the Architecture of the Grand Mosque of Paris
Stroll around the Mosque and be in awe of how beautiful its architecture is. From the tunning prayer hall with its remarkable wooden ceiling to the walls adorned with intricate tilework and inscriptions, to the towering minaret and of course the lush central garden, you’ll be amazed at how gorgeous every room is.
The harmonious blend of Moorish and Andalusian architectural influences makes this mosque a true masterpiece. So, take your time to appreciate the intricate details and serene beauty of the Grand Mosque of Paris, a remarkable symbol of cultural and architectural harmony.
Try the Mint Tea at Restaurant La Mosquée de Paris
Located at the back side of the Grand Mosque of Paris, Restaurant La Mosquée de Paris is a delightful culinary gem. This restaurant offers a taste of authentic Moroccan cuisine in a traditional Moorish setting. As you enter the restaurant, you’re immediately enveloped by the aroma of fragrant spices and the warm ambiance that transports you to Morocco itself.
Savor dishes like fragrant couscous, flavorful tagines, succulent kebabs, and a variety of delectable pastries. Don’t forget to try their famous mint tea, which is both refreshing and a perfect end to your meal.
Experience Turkish Bath at Hammam de la Mosquée de Paris
If you’re looking for a unique rejuvenating experience, visit the Hammam de la Mosquée de Paris and experience a Turkish bath. Indulge in a series of cleansing rituals, including steam baths, exfoliation with black soap, and a vigorous body scrub. The skilled attendants are dedicated to ensuring your comfort and relaxation throughout the process.
After your hammam session, you can unwind in the relaxation room with some traditional mint tea – it’s the perfect way to rejuvenate both your body and mind. Remember to bring your swimsuit and flip-flops, as they’re essential for your hammam experience.
The Hammam de la Mosquée de Paris offers sessions throughout the day, so you can easily fit it into your schedule. Note as well that it is open to men only on Tuesday and Sunday, and women only on other days.
What Other Things to Do near The Grand Mosque of Paris
The vicinity of the Grand Mosque of Paris offers several additional attractions worth exploring.
Jardin des Plantes
Located just a short 3-minute walk away, the Jardin des Plantes is a delightful botanical garden that offers another tranquil retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city. Take a leisurely stroll through its exquisitely designed gardens, where you can explore a wide variety of plant species and marvel at their beauty.
After the Grand Mosque of Paris, take a leisurely walk to Rue Crémieux, another charming hidden gem in Paris. This colorful, cobblestone street is a photographer’s dream, with its pastel-hued houses that transport you to an English village.
Strolling down this tranquil lane is like stepping into another world, and you’ll find that it’s often far less crowded than some of the more famous Parisian streets. Enjoy capturing the vibrant facades, potted plants, and unique atmosphere. It’s just around a 23-minute walk from the mosque, making it a convenient stop for some post-mosque exploration.
Read: A Complete Guide and My Experience Visiting Rue Crémieux
Rue Cler is a delightful, market-lined street known for its authentic Parisian charm. After your mosque visit, head here to immerse yourself in local life. You can wander through the colorful stalls, and pick up some fresh produce, artisan cheese, and pastries. This is an excellent spot for foodies to savor some French delicacies or simply enjoy the best ice cream we tasted in our lives! (Literally, no exaggeration!)
Rue Cler is about a 1-hour walk (33-minute train ride) from the Grand Mosque, making it an easy and enjoyable continuation of your authentic Parisian adventure.
Picnic at Champs de Mars
For an off-the-beaten-path outdoor experience, make your way to the nearby Champs de Mars, which is a 10-minute walk after Rue Cler. This lush park is an ideal spot for a relaxed picnic. Purchase some French baguettes, cheese, and wine at Rue Cler, and find a quiet spot on the lawn to soak in the iconic view of the Eiffel Tower.
These off-the-beaten-path experiences provide a unique perspective of Paris beyond the typical tourist destinations.
Tips for Visiting The Grand Mosque of Paris
When visiting the Grand Mosque, here are the additional reminders to make your visit pleasant for you and for the worshippers:
Dress modestly and respectfully. If you need a cover-up, get one at the entrance. Respect the place and the people who do their spiritual activities here.
Be quiet. This a place of worship. Be mindful of prayer times, as certain areas may be restricted during these periods.
Take your time to appreciate the Mosque’s beauty. Appreciate the mosque’s beautiful architecture, rich history, and peaceful ambiance.
Is The Grand Mosque of Paris Worth Visiting?
Absolutely! Among all the iconic places in Paris, this hidden gem is one of the places I’ve enjoyed most. It’s a real escape from Paris’ busy streets and tourist spots. It’s where you can witness stunning architecture, relax in a beautiful garden, and even observe Islamic prayer. It’s experiencing Paris in a different light.
The Grand Mosque of Paris is more than just a place of worship — it’s a symbol of cultural richness, historical bravery, and a serene oasis in the heart of Paris. Have you visited this hidden oasis or plan to do so in the future? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.