Arab World Institute

At the very heart of Paris, in the 5th arrondissement between Jussieu University and Quai Saint-Bernard, the Arab World Institute is a "cultural bridge" between the Arab world and France. 

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l'institut du monde arabe

The Parc Saint-Séverin Hotel invites you to discover the Arab World Institute, from the external architecture with Mashrabiyas to its collections of Arab-Islamic art.


The site

The idea of building an Arab world institute dates from the 1970s, and took concrete form after an agreement between France and the member countries of the Arab League. The objective of this institution is to raise awareness of the contemporary Arab world and the Arab-Islamic civilisation by promoting cultural exchanges through music, dance, photography and the plastic arts. It is no coincidence that the Institute publishes its own magazine entitled La Qantara ("The Bridge") each quarter. The Institute houses an Arab-Islamic art museum including exhibits of archaeology, ethnography, art and crafts, as well as contemporary creation. Twice a year, temporary exhibitions supplement the permanent collections. At the centre of the building is a patio, inspired by the Hanging Gardens of BabylonOn the museum roof, Le Zyriab restaurant provides an unforgettable perspective over Notre-Dame and the île de la Cité


The architecture of the building

Inaugurated in 1987 during the presidency of François Mitterrand, the Institute, not far from the Parc Saint-Séverin Hotel, belongs to the universal heritage of architectural modernity. It was created by a team of architects including Jean Nouvel, Gilbert Lezenes, Pierre Soria and Architecture Studio. The monument is a real synthesis of Eastern and Western architecture, and an emblematic sight with its 240 outside MashrabiyasThese apertures follow the course of the day from sunrise to sunset,  creating an interesting play of light inside the building and taking inspiration from photographic technique.

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