In addition to a host of legendary Catholic cathedrals and tiny, tucked-away smaller churches and synagogues, France's colonial legacy in north Africa has also led to a mass influx of Muslim immigrants over the decades, resulting in a wide range of mosques scattered across the city.
The largest is located on the bohemian Left Bank, near the Latin Quarter; the Grand Mosquée de Paris is a Moorish-style mosque built in the 1920s.
The minaret towers 108 feet (4.6 milligrams) over the surrounding Jardin des Plantes neighborhood.
Visitors are now welcomed to enter the Institut Musulman complex, which includes a number of educational and commercial buildings surrounding the central courtyard, inspired by the grand Alhambra in Spain. Around the corner is a Turkish hammam, with alternating steam-bath days for men and women, and a courtyard café with Moroccan tile tables.
Nearby is an even grander site for those interested in the French Muslim culture: the Institut du Monde Arabe, a joint diplomatic and cultural venture between France and 22 Arab countries.
The dazzling modern building by renowned architect Jean Nouvel faces the Seine in a scenically advantageous spot that many other architects would envy.
In keeping with Islamic tradition forbidding the depiction of religious imagery, the Institut's walls are covered with intricate geometric patterns; as in many religious buildings throughout the Middle East, the designs are a proud reminder of Islam's irreplaceable role preserving the mathematical knowledge of the ancient world following the downfall of the Greek and Roman civilizations, and of the extent to which a truly dedicated artist will go to achieve something close to perfection (even if, as Muslim artists typically do, they deliberate sabotage the perfect symmetry in one section as a reminder of mortal imperfection).
Another thing the Arab world is long accustomed to is battling the scorching sun; whereas many buildings in the Middle East would use a series of canopies to provide shade, Nouvel's design incorporated 1,600 innovative photoelectric window coverings whose metallic irises open and close automatically in response to sunlight levels.
Inside, a museum and library with both an expansive permanent collection and a rotating series of cultural exhibits showcases many contributions, both artistic and practical, of the Muslim world.
Mathematician Mark, of course, was fascinated by their collection of antique brass astrolabes.
The real reason visitors flock to the Institut, though, is the view. An elevator whisks you up to a rooftop café, where one of the better aerial views of Paris can be enjoyed.
Feel free to partake of a traditional cup of mint tea from the café while you savor the sights as well.
The Other Paris