Back to the roots of our alphabet in Paris Institut du Monde Arabe

Located near the Seine, in front of Sully bridge, Paris Institut du Monde Arabe is celebrating its twentieth birthday. The glass building designed by architect Jean Nouvel always looks as bright and attractive as in 1988.


It’s walls are made of glass squares adorned with a geometric Arabian looking design. Each center circle works like a lens opening or closing at outside light changes.


Presently running up to April 20, a thrilling exhibition about Phoenicians, who over three thousands years ago used a linear alphabet, traded all over Mediterranean sea and built Carthago.


As I was there on Friday, which was the museum’s birthday party eve, I took a glimpse at the library which was being cleaned, and loved the idea of reading a book leaning on a red carpet and cushions in the middle of this high tech all glass and metal setting.


On the top of the building, the terrace overlooks a beautiful panorama on Notre-Dame and the Seine. Unfortunately, it was closed for renovation, as well as the panoramic restaurant, and should reopen on December 15.


Also just opening, and up to March 9, an exhibition showing about a hundred and twenty works of modern art from fifteen Arabic countries, which sounds really interesting to see.

Institut du Monde Arabe, 1 rue des Fossés Saint-Bernard, 75005 Paris, métro Jussieu, tel : 33(0)1 40 51 38 38. Closed on Monday, opened 10 to 18, up to 19 Saturdays and Sundays, up to 21 on Thursdays. Entrance 10 euros. Top (very good) restaurant “le Ziryab ” reopening December 15, lunch 12.30 to 14.30, dinner 19.30 to midnight, reservations on 33(0)1 40 51 38 38.

All information on the Institute activities on :


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