Museums in Paris: Georges Pompidou Centre

Sladjana Perkovic | Live the World

November 23, 2022

The Georges Pompidou Centre is probably the most interesting building in the heart of Paris. Opened in 1977, it is a real architectural marvel, easily recognizable by its futuristic exterior escalators and huge brightly colored tubes that clothe the structure. Designed as an “evolving spatial diagram” by architects Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers, the Georges Pompidou Centre houses the National Museum of Modern Arts, a large public library and IRCAM, a center for music and acoustic research. This is an incredible place, that you need to visit in the French capital.

Beaubourg vs Georges Pompidou

Parisians are often referring to the Georges Pompidou Center as Beaubourg. Don’t be confused. It is the same place. The Center was named after Georges Pompidou, the French president (from 1969 to 1974) who commissioned the building, and Beaubourg is actually the name of the square where the building is constructed. So, if you want to sound like a real local, then you should definitely use the term “Beaubourg”. And, did you know, that at first Parisians did not like the Georges Pompidou Centre? They thought the building was just hideous. Luckily, they changed their mind since then.

Art, Stravinsky and street performers

The National Museum of Modern Arts in the Georges Pompidou Centre is the most interesting place to visit. This is the only museum in the world that offers an overall view of the 20th and the 21st century. Here, you can see works of iconic artists like Matisse, Picasso, Dali, but also the latest contemporary artists like Andy Warhol, Niki de Saint Phalle, etc. And from the museum's top floor, you can enjoy a breathtaking view of Paris and its rooftops. Even the place around the George Pompidou Centre is worth visiting. At the foot of the Centre, you can find the Atelier Brancusi, a unique collection of works by this artist who played a major role in the history of modern sculpture. Near the entrance, you can see and admire the sculpture Horizontal by American sculptor Alexander Calder. Don't forget to visit also the nearby Stravinsky Fountain. Opened in 1983, this fountain features 16 whimsical moving and water-spraying sculptures made by artists Jean Tinguely and Niki de Saint Phalalle. All sculptures represent themes and works of the composer Igor Stravinsky. The square in front of the Georges Pompidou Centre is also a place where you can see numerous street performers, such as mimes, jugglers, and sketch and caricature artists.

Practical information

The Georges Pompidou Centre is open every day, except on Tuesdays, from 11 am to 9 pm. There is a great book & gift shop selling catalogues, posters, postcards, etc. After the exhibition, you can take a break and have a lunch or dinner on the vast roof of the most impressive Parisian restaurant – “Le Georges”. This restaurant situated on the 6th floor of the Georges Pompidou Centre offers futuristic, industrial and chic decor and a spectacular view over Paris's most famous monuments from the Eiffel tower to the Sacré Coeur.

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