Our one-bedroom apartment in St. Germain des Pres was a short bus ride to the Institut du Monde Arabe, overlooking the Ile St-Louis, in the Jardin des Plantes Quarter; Doug and I wanted to see the Ocean Explorers From Sinbad to Marco Polo exhibit and have lunch at the rooftop restaurant, Le Zyriab by Noura, serving Lebanese cuisine.
The boat replica outside the unique building was a wonderful promotion for the exhibit, which traced the Mediterranean peoples' desire for spices, fabrics and precious metals. Merchants established trade routes from the Muslim empires to the Italian trading republics and the Swahili city-states to consolidate their power through trade - at least until the organization of the Dutch East India Trading Company in 1602.
The building was designed by the same architect (Jean Nouvel) responsible for the Musee du Quai Branly which opened its doors in 2006 with exhibits dedicated to the civilizations and arts of Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas.
The south elevation is made up of 1,600 high-tech metal screens that filter the light entering the building.
The peripheral irises are linked to one another and to the central iris. They open and close in unison, forming a delicate pattern of light and shade inside the building.
Visitors can have lunch at a first floor cafe or in the seventh floor rooftop restaurant.
Floors are accessible by either stairs or elevator.
The rooftop outdoor patio (closed when we visited) overlooks both Notre Dame and the Pompidou Center.
Restaurant seating is on either side of a back bar.
(view from the back bar looking out to the outdoor patio)
Doug and I enjoyed a delicious 3-course fixed-price meal.
The starter/entree selections were delicious.
The desserts were tempting.
The Lebanese food was delicious, the view spectacular and the service friendly and prompt.
(blog entries by Heidi Hutson)