Even though I am Christian, I have an interest as well as a deep respect for Islam. I find the religion and the culture fascinating. So when I was in Paris, I had to go to the La Grande Mosquee.
La Grand Mosquee de Paris. June 2007.
The mosque was built in 1922 to honor the North African countries that aided France during the First World War and renovated in 1992. One hundred thousand North African tirailleurs died fighting Germany. During the Second World War, the mosque was a secret refuge for the persecuted and provided shelter, safe passage and fake Muslim birth certificates for Jewish children.
The mosque closely resembles the mosques of Marrakesh. The mosque was built following the mudejar style, based on Iberian architecture. It was constructed of reinforced concrete and decorated with Moroccan mosaics, wood carvings and wrought iron. It is still an active place of worship. Located in the Fifth Arrondissement, it is the largest mosque in France and the third largest in Europe.
The Moroccan style minaret, which is 33 meters high.
Me with the minaret in the background. I tried to be respectful of the religion and wore a scarf over my head.
Some of the elaborate mosaics and wood carvings.
In the courtyard in front of the ablutions fountain.
Outside the entrance, to the left of the minaret.
I adored the mosque and would probably visit again. Maybe next time I can take one of the guided tours.
While we're on my Islam obsession, I also visited the Institut du Monde Arabe (Museum of the Arab World). The museum exhibits calligraphy, decorative arts, architecture, and photography of the Arab world. The building was designed in 1987 by architect Jean Nouvel and includes a gift shop and Moroccan restaurant.