Paris

A Lesson in Modesty

First things first: welcome to the new and improved The Glittering Unknown! Thoughts on the new layout? Let me know in the comments!

Last weekend was one of my good friend’s birthday, so a group of us got together for lunch at the Salon de Thé (tea room) at the Grande Mosquée of Paris. The food is sublime and the tea and pastries even better, so though we’d (almost) all been here before, coming back was a no-brainer.

First time in the actual restaurant- the decorations are luxuriously beautiful.

First time in the actual restaurant- the decorations are luxuriously beautiful.

Pouring tea Salon du The Grand Mosquee Paris

The tea is a green tea base with added mint, sugar and possibly something else. Basically impossible to replicate outside of places that sell it, but really really delicious.

After lunch, a couple friends and I stayed to walk through the Grande Mosquée, as two of us had our cameras. The last time I was here I only managed to capture images on my phone (which you may have seen on Instagram) so I was glad to have a chance for some better images.

Of course, upon arriving it was made clear that my skirt (which ended just above the knee, nothing scandalous) was too short to be considered appropriate to enter the mosque. Thankfully, the security staff keeps a set of sarong skirts for tourists women who are in the same boat as me, so I gamely tied one around my waist. I actually rather liked it- I wonder if they sell them?

Wearing a sarong Grand Mosquee Paris

Probably not the most modest of poses

Entrance to the mosque costs a simple two euros, so we paid our entry fee and wandered around, chatting quietly and trying our best to remain respectful even as our cameras clicked away.

Gardens at the Grand Mosquee Paris

Beautiful gardens

Prayer room Grand Mosquee Paris

Entrance to the prayer room. Non-Muslims aren’t allowed in and all shoes must be removed before entering. I tried to be as discreet as possible with this picture…

Sumptuous details Grand Mosquee Paris

The best word I can think of to describe some of the textures and fabrics is sumptuous.

Doorway at the Grand Mosquee

Whereas other parts of the mosque are very minimalistic.

When we were done touring the mosque, we headed back to the main part of the tea room to indulge in the best part- tea and dessert! Tea is two euros a glass and uniformed waiters walk around with glasses and pots on trays, much like the guy pictured above. A man with a tray of pastries came by as well, to the delight of my friends, but my tastes can be more particular so I grabbed my wallet and slipped away to the pastry case where I could make my own selections (read: everything pistachio).

Pastries at Salon du The Grand Mosquee Paris

We all got something different so we could each try 8 different pastries instead of just our own!

Main room Salon du The Grand Mosquee Paris

The main room is covered, but bright and airy, and always less crowded than the terraces by the front entrance to the tea room

Case of pastries Salon du The Grand Mosquee Paris

Yummm.

If you’re looking for a Middle Eastern experience in the heart of the city, the Grande Mosquée of Paris is the way to go! It’s also heartening to see that there seems to be little residual backlash against the Muslim community here after the Charlie Hebdo attacks, despite the French reputation for being very discriminatory against people of this faith.

Grande Mosquée de Paris: 2bis Place du Puits de l’Ermite, 75005 Paris

Salon de Thé: 39 rue Geoffroy Saint-Hilare, 75005 Paris

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