You might recognize this mosque from the film Paris Je t’aime. A Parisian teenager, François, develops a crush on a girl and waits for her outside a mosque. She sees him across the road when she opens the large entrance doors at the intersection of two streets. In reality, the area she emerges from is used as a café. The formal entrance is on the eastern side of the building where Rue de Quatrefages turns into Rue Georges Desplas. Franà§ois stands at the eastern entrance of the Jardin des Plantes, along Rue Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire.
The mosque, the largest in France, was built in 1926 in honor of the Muslims that fought in World War I. It is modeled in the mudéjar style in homage to the Mosque of Fez in Morocco. The café has multiple indoor and outdoor courtyards, with birds flying freely between. The café décor is of sumptuous textiles, intricate engravings, tiled walls and painted ceilings. The mosque also contains a religious library, a hammam (Turkish bath) and Muslim Institute.
Today’s post is more about subjectivity in photography and the different moods the building can have, depending on when you visit. The first five photographs were taken at the end of March by Columbia University GSAPP student Celia Hollander. The light has the warm glow of a rain shower clearing and the building is not overrun by tourists, as it normally is. The rest of the photographs are mine, taken on a sunny Saturday mid-April just as a prayer was concluding, and on a hot, weekday afternoon in June. I think the contrast between the two sets of photographs capture the two sides of this building. Enjoy!
The hammam is open Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday for women, and Tuesday and Sunday for men.
How to Get There:
39 Rue Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, Paris
Metro: 7 to Jussieu, Place Monge or Censier-Daubenton
Get in touch with the author @untappedmich.