Hidden Gem: Grand Mosque of Paris (Grande Mosquée de Paris)
This was my first time visiting Paris during spring and let me tell you...spring in Paris does not disappoint! The best part about spring in Paris is seeing the various pink flower covered trees all over the city in full bloom. The downside - seemingly millions of other people who feel the same crowded together in gardens and parks.
If you dare to get away from the typical Parisian tourist attractions and find yourself wanting to check out some hidden gems, visit the Grand Mosque of Paris.
Exploring the Grand Mosque of Paris
The outside of the building is rather plain. Tall stark white walls enclose and conceal the mosque and there are no windows or doorways allowing you to take a quick peek inside. From the outside, you would never expect how breathtakingly beautiful the inside of this mosque is. The entrance is not clearly marked so you may find yourself circling around the building trying to find it. If you’re facing the restaurant/ tea room (more on that later!), go left around the corner for the entrance.
As soon as I walked through the main entryway, I felt instantly transported back to my Morocco trip two summers ago. The bright mosaic tiled walls of the hallway surround a lush courtyard filled with greenery and lavender flowers, and the teal floor tiles makes it feel like you are walking on pools of water beneath your feet.
You are allowed to explore this beautiful space on your own, but please keep in mind that this is a religious center and to be respectful of those in prayer.
I discovered the fascinating history of this mosque during my research. It was constructed in the 1920s as a sign of gratitude to the Muslim tirailleurs, of which 100,000 died fighting in WWI against Germany. During WWII, it was used as a secret refuge by Jews, providing them with shelter, safe passage and fake Muslin birth certificates to protect them from German persecution.
Visitation information wasn’t readily available (or consistent) online, but here are some tips that will hopefully make planning your visit a little easier:
Every day but Friday, the mosque is open to the public
From Saturdays to Thursday, the mosque is open to the public from 9 am to 12 pm and from 2 pm to 6 pm. From 12 pm to 2 pm, the mosque is closed for prayer.
Entry fee is 3 euros
And some more to explore
After exploring the Mosque, take some time to enjoy the tea room around the corner. You'll find many people here hanging out, drinking mint tea and indulging in deliciously sweet treats. Grab a couple of treats inside, take a seat and someone will be by shortly to bring you a glass! The tea and treats here are all 2 euros.
If you are feeling hungry, try an authentic moroccan tangine in the restaurant (connected to the tea room). If you are feeling in need of a little cleansing, experience a traditional hammam (consists of a washing, body scrub and massage).
Thanks for stopping by and reading about my experiences! I hope this post inspired you to take some time and explore more hidden gems in Paris. For my complete guide to Paris, visit my post on Wanderlist and for more travel inspiration, check out my Instagram.
Wishing you all the safest of travels.