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The IMA, or Institut du Monde Arabe Cultural Centre in Paris France

The Institut du Monde Arabe is known as the IMA for short and is a cultural centre in Paris home to a museum, exhibition centre, library, auditorium for shows such as music and dance, along with a Lebanese restaurant.

About the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris

The concept of building a relationship between Arab Nations and France where an exchange of science and technology could occur and establish an institute within the capital city, was first thought of at the start of the 1980s.

And when you look back at the history and the building of the Institut du Monde Arabe, this was set in motion in 1981 with an innovative design that has moving elements to adjust light and climate.  And being a centre for research, information, cultural and spiritual values, it was inaugurated by the French President in 1987, and opened to the public a few days later in the December of the same year.
Often known as the IMA for short, or in English the Arab World Institute, the aims of promoting co-operation and development between the countries along with creating a greater understanding for the general public, in addition to offering services such as Arabic lessons, this cultural centre in Paris has gone from strength to strength.

The Institute of the Arab World is also another way this cultural centre in Paris is referred to, and here you will be able to find a museum with some very fascinating artefacts, a library, educational resources, a dedicated exhibition area, the auditorium and a Lebanese restaurant called Le Zyriab, which is run by the Noura group of restaurants.

Exhibitions at the IMA in Paris

So as well as the Musee de l’Ima Museum of the Institut du Monde Arabe, there is also a complete exhibition centre that is dedicated to temporary exhibitions on specific themes for example ethnology, however, these are of course always changing every few months.

Yet there are also interactive exhibitions you can visit and again these change frequently, but some in the past have been on subjects such as Pharaohs, Arabian horses, the heritage of Algeria, and another dedicated to specific painters.

The Auditorium

The auditorium has a capacity of 350 seats and plays host to numerous different cultural events throughout the year, whether it be lectures and discussions, through to performances or films.

There are well over 30 different musical events organised throughout the year based on specific themes from Arabian classical music through to contemporary artists that bring a completely new twist to this art form and sacred music through to those with dialogue whether it be in the form of poetry, soul, Egyptian songs, etc.

You can also discover shows related to dance that are held throughout the year where different groups are invited to perform, and again these have different themes and vary from traditional to the more contemporary, and many integrate the different cultural ideals.

There are also Maghreb movies screened at the Institut du Monde Arabe throughout the year and others that are screened at other specific places around Places in association and collaboration with the Arab World Institute.

And there is an exceedingly varied selection of films from documentaries to those that have produced by specific film makers and some being dedicated to specific people or events, yet you can discover films produced back in the 1980s right through to the present day.

But we would like to point out that there is a charge for any of these and booking of tickets is required, which is best done in advance online at their website.  As although they can be purchased on site, availability is limited and therefore this will not always be possible, especially if you are thinking about attending a specific show, event, concert, etc.

The Bibliotheque or Library of the IMA

The Institut du Monde Arabe also has a library with free access and on-site consultation that is open on a Tuesday to Saturday from 1pm through to 8pm, however, it is closed at all other times and also closes two hours earlier during the summer from the start of July to the end of August.

And within the library you can copy documents or browse at will, ask a librarian specific questions, etc, however you can also access their online library completely free if you have access to WiFi.

You will also find that the library also known as the BIMA has different exhibitions from time to time such as the one during the summer holidays of 2013 that related to Arabic calligraphy, its script and how it developed.

In addition to this, there is also a dedicated youth media area that focuses on different areas and subjects, yet there are also story sessions that take place weekly and during school holidays, which have free admission, although these do have to be booked in advance for groups of children.

IMA Guided Tours

Guided tours of the Musee de l’Ima Museum are available at set times and set days for individuals with an additional charge of €4 on top of the museum entry.

However guided tours of the collections and also the building and its architecture are organised for groups of up to 25 people at any one time, with the tours lasting approximately one and a half hours.  Yet for these, we would like to point out that these guided tours have to be arranged at least two weeks in advance and there is a set charge per group on top of the individual entrance fee per person.

There is also another type of guided tour available, which is called the Historic Arab Paris and consists of a two and half hour tour that starts off between the College de France and the Sorbonne, then continues to one of the oldest churches in Paris called the Eglise Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre.  The third part is where you find out about the first Arab newspaper in France and the libraries then you continue on this walking tour, which then takes you to the Mosquee de Paris Mosque and the walk ends at the Institut du Monde Arabe.

This particular walking tour of discovery is available between May and September for individuals, and all year round for groups, however, this does have to be booked in advance by telephoning +33 (0) 1 40 51 38 14 for individuals and +33 (0) 1 40 51 39 50 for groups, and these are conducted on a Saturday, with a cost of approximately €15 per person as of 2013.

Visiting the Institut du Monde Arabe Cultural Centre

The Arab World Institute is located in the 5th Arrondissement, which is often referred to as the Latin Quarter of the city, and is situated right by the River Seine opposite the Ile Saint-Louis.

However you can also get a fabulous view of the Notre Dame Cathedral on the Ile de la Cite island from the Zyriab restaurant located on the top floor of the innovative IMA building, and it is also within walking distance of other tourist attractions such as the Jardin des Plantes.

You may be pleased to know that the Musee de l’Institut du Monde Arabe museum and the cultural centre are accessible to the disabled, yet we would like to point out that everything here is closed on a Monday and on certain National holidays such as 1st May.

When it comes to getting to the Institute du Monde Arabe, the nearest Metro stations are called the Jussieu, the Cardinal Lemoine or the Sully - Morland stop on the opposite bank of the River Seine.

But if you are travelling via the RER you would need the Gare d’Austerlitz train station in Paris, or the bus numbers 24, 63, 86 and 89.

Address and Contact Details:

Institut du Monde Arabe
Place Mohamed-V
1 Rue des Fosses Saint-Bernard
Ile de France

Tel: +33 (0) 1 40 51 38 38
Fax: +33 (0) 1 40 51 38 99

Related Information

  -  Musee de l’Ima
  -  History and Building of the Institut du Monde Arabe
  -  Le Zyriab Restaurant
  -  Chanel mobile Art Pavilon at the IMA

Tourist attractions close by

  -  Pont de l'Archeveche
  -  Square Jean XXIII
  -  Notre Dame Cathedral
  -  Square de l'Ile de Frence

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