Good for: culture, Arty, Art lovers
Not good for: cheap merchandise
Lonely Planet review for Centre Pompidou
Former French President Georges Pompidou wanted an ultracontemporary artistic hub, and he got it: competition-winning architects Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers effectively designed the building inside out, with utilitarian features such as plumbing, pipes, air vents and electrical cables forming part of the external façade, freeing up the interior space for exhibitions and events. Paris’ premier cultural centre has amazed visitors since it was inaugurated in 1977.
On the ground floor, the Forum du Centre Pompidou has temporary exhibitions and information desks, while the 4th and 5th floors house the Musée National d’Art Moderne, France’s national collection of art dating from 1905 onward. A fraction of the 65,000-plus works by 5700 artists – including the work of the surrealists and cubists, as well as pop art and contemporary works – are on display.
The huge Bibliothèque Publique d’Information, entered from rue du Renard, takes up part of the 1st and the entire 2nd and 3rd floors. The 6th floor has two galleries for temporary exhibitions and a chic, hyperindustrial restaurant, Georges, with panoramic views of Paris, which is accessed by a free lift/elevator (look for the red door to the left of the main entrance).
Rooftop admission is included in museum and exhibition admission – or buy a panorama ticket for just the roof.
Admission to the museum is free on the first Sunday of each month.
There are cinemas and other entertainment venues on the 1st floor and in the basement.
West of the centre, Place Georges Pompidou and the nearby pedestrian streets attract buskers, musicians, jugglers and mime artists. South of the centre on place Igor Stravinsky are fanciful mechanical fountains of skeletons, hearts, treble clefs and a big pair of ruby-red lips, created by Jean Tinguely and Niki de Saint Phalle.