L'Institut Du Monde Arab
The Institut du Monde Arab, aka Arab World Institute, is a beautiful, modern building that sits near the river in the 5th arrondisement. Built in 1980 when 18 Arab countries made an agreement with France to establish somewhere to provide information about the Arab world - its cultural and spiritual values, and also to promote cooperation and cultural exchanges between France and Arab world.
After deciding that lunch should be the first thing on our, whoops, her, birthday agenda, we headed up in the trés modern, and way to fast for my friend, open glass elevator. You can see all around as you fly up to the 9th floor to the restaurant, Naoura.
The view from this restaurant is really incredible, but unfortunately I will have to say that that was the best part of the dining venture. I had called and reserved, which I thought was the way to get a bit better treatment, but instead we were given a table in the full sun with no umbrella. OK, that’s not the worse thing in the world when the sun has been hiding, but it was the only real "warmth" we received while we were there. The servers were not warm at all ... but instead, cool, aloof, and rather selfish with their time and food, and not even a small cookie or chocolate with the after meal café! But, that was only part of our plan for the day; and we are not easily dissuaded from enjoying ourselves, so we continued on ... Dejeuner being over, we decided to wander around the museum to see what was there to see in our remaining hours of our visit ...
The museum usually has several different exhibitions for visiting. We chose the “le Mobile Art,” an architectural adventure, by Zaha Hadid, which was sponsored in part by Chanel. This 600 m2 exhibition, already presented in Hong-Kong, Tokyo, and New York, reflects her modern approach with curving, elongated, completely mobile, structures, in and out. To me, this building represents the future approach to always feeling at home as we become more and more mobile in our lives, yet we still want to have our own belongings with us wherever we go. Inside this large, airy mobile building, I felt like I was exploring the inside of some large insect with its webbed walls directing my steps, following the light bathing the curved walls and shiny floors.
Zaha Hadid was the first woman to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize. She was born in Iraq in 1950, a time when Modernism connoted glamor and progressive thinking in the Middle East, and was raised in one of Baghdad's first Bauhaus-inspired houses. She is certainly a visionary with all of her creations, along with using touches of biomimicry in her decorative creations.
The exhibition will run through September, so you still have time to visit this interesting piece of architecture, even more interesting at dusk ....
Take some time to check out the permanent exhibition, the library, cafe, boutique, restaurants, concerts, language lessons, and don’t forget to sign up for the Calligraphy lessons you can take there!
L’Institut Du Monde Arab
1, rue des Fossés-Saint Bernard
Place Mohammed V
01 40 51 338 38
metro Jussieu, Cardinal-Lemoine, Sully-Morland