Institut du Monde Arabe
The geometric motifs covering the south facade of Jean Nouvel’s Seine-side cultural centre double as high-tech automated apertures that control the amount of sunlight entering the building – a method of filtering light into the interior that was inspired by Moorish ingenuity. Within is a museum, illuminating the history and archaeology of the Arab/Islamic world, with displays of calligraphy, decorative arts, miniatures and photography. Other draws are the superlative Middle East bookshop, sweeping city views from the roof terrace (admission is free to both of these), and regular blockbuster exhibitions. There are guided tours at 3pm during the week, and 4.30pm Saturdays and Sundays.