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The Grande Mosquée de Paris | © Guilhem Vellut / WikiCommons
The Grande Mosquée de Paris | © Guilhem Vellut / WikiCommons
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How to Celebrate Eid al-Fitr in Paris

Picture of Jade Cuttle
Updated: 25 April 2018
Eid al-Fitr is a religious holiday celebrated by Muslims around the world to mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan. In France, which is home to the largest Muslim community in Europe, the capital is the best place to celebrate with a wealth of festivities and fun on offer.

Pray at the Grande Mosquée de Paris

The Grande Mosquée de Paris is the largest mosque in France and it’s located in the 5th arrondissement of the capital. It’s the second-largest in Europe and figures as the most beautiful of them all. One of the main reasons why people flock to visit this mosque during Eid is because it is entwined with a fascinating historical legacy.

The Grande Mosquée de Paris
The Grande Mosquée de Paris | © Guilhem Vellut / WikiCommons

The building was founded in 1926 after World War I as a sign of France’s gratitude to Muslim soldiers, as 100,000 from the colonies died fighting against Germany. The mosque was later assigned to Algeria in 1957 and is currently led by mufti Dalil Boubakeur.

Fountains in Grande Mosquée de Paris
Fountains in the Grande Mosquée de Paris | © Marc Cooper / WikiCommons

It’s a must-visit, complete with a stunning garden, a serene trickling fountain and gorgeous mosaics. It’s the most beautiful Islamic building in Western Europe, whisking you away to medieval Al Andalus or the 9th-century Al Quaraouiyine Mosque in Fez with its architectural design.

Grand Mosque of Paris mosaics | © Jebulon / WikiCommons

An integral part of French history, most people are not aware that the Great Mosque of Paris sheltered Jews during the Holocaust and supplied them with Muslim identity certificates. Estimates suggest that 500 to 1,600 North African and European Jews were saved from Nazi persecution in this mosque.

Drink mint tea at the Mosque Cafe

After all the excitement of visiting France’s very own Alhambra, you’ll need a little break. Luckily, you won’t have far to go as you can sit down and delight in the re-energising powers of mint tea at the mosque’s southwestern corner.

There’s no better way to mark the occasion than by lounging beneath the shade of young olive and fig trees, drinking delicious tea from beautiful mosaic tables. But if the patio is too hot, there’s the option of drinking your tea in the cool courtyard replete with its very own fountain.

The Omar Ibn Al Khattab Mosque in Paris

If you prefer somewhere calmer to pray than in the often busy Grande Mosquée de Paris, since it is, after all, Paris’ most popular Eid prayer venue, then the mosque of Omar Ibn Al Khattab is a much quieter but still beautiful alternative.

The Omar Ibn Al Khattab Mosque in Paris
The Omar Ibn Al Khattab Mosque in Paris | © Mosquée Omar Ibn Al Khattab

Tucked away in an unsuspecting corner of the 11th arrondissement of Paris, it was built in the early 1980s with a cosier feel. The interior design is typical of Islamic culture too, with gorgeous carpets and proud columns brandishing more books than you could possibly have the time to read.

The Omar Ibn Al Khattab Mosque in Paris | © Mosquée Omar Ibn Al Khattab

Fill up on food on Rue Marx Dormoy

After Ramadan, you’re going to need to refill your empty belly and Rue Marx Dormoy in eastern Paris is the best place to be for local halal cuisine. As soon as you step out from Gare de l’Est (Paris East Station), you’ll be spoiled for choice with all of the Moroccan cafes, excellent Indian, Bangladeshi or Pakistani cuisine and other halal eateries thanks to a strong South Asian presence. During Eid, the atmosphere becomes increasingly festive along this road.

Rue Marx Dormoy | © Zantastik / WikiCommons

Visit the Arab World Institute

If you find yourself celebrating Eid in Paris, then a trip to the Arab World Institute (Institut du Monde Arabe) should definitely be on your list. The museum is dedicated exclusively to exploring the Arab world and its cultural and spiritual values through art exhibitions.

Le musée de l’Institut du monde arabe | © Jean-Pierre Dalbéra / Flickr

They put on fascinating exhibitions like Osiris, Egypt’s Sunken Mysteries, Voices of Animals: the Fables of Kalila and Dimna and Nomadic Sculpture by Rodolphe Hammadi along with a show dedicated to Arab hip-hop.

Regardless of which temporary exhibitions are currently on display, there will be a range of treasured objects on show from the Arab world, ranging from before Islam through into the 20th century.

Le musée de l’Institut du monde arabe | © Jean-Pierre Dalbéra / WikiCommons