Centre Pompidou – France's Museum of Modern Art

It's Europe's largest museum of modern art. In 1977 Centre Pompidou Paris opened its doors. Since then it has become one of the top attractions in Paris, with more than seven million visitors a year, about as many as the Eiffel Tower! It's one of the busiest museums in Europe.

Centre Pompidou is the place to see the works of David Hockney, Picasso, Klee, Philippe Starck, Andy Warhol and other great modern artists and designers. You'll also see hundreds of intriguing works by artists you've probably never even heard of. In busy Place Georges Pompidou just outside the museum you'll find street artists, mimes, jugglers, budding artists and musicians. Don't miss the famous Stravinsky Fountain, a whimsical water-spraying sculpture inspired by the musical works of Igor Stravinksy, next to all the outdoor cafés.


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George Pompidou & His Centre

Centre Pompidou

The kings, emperors, and presidents of France have always had a penchant for creating grandiose monuments in Paris as memorials to their period of rule. That's where Paris got all those grand plazas, gardens, palaces, and arches. The man who was both prime minister and president of France from 1962 to 1974 was no exception to this royal way of thinking.

The Pompidou Center was the brainchild of French President George Pompidou who envisioned a modern arts and cultural museum in the heart of Paris. Its unusual design with the radical "plumbing on the outside" was controversial when it first opened in 1977. Also controversial was the decision to raze blocks of buildings in the historic heart of the Marais to make room for the museum.

The museum's construction and design controversies didn't end with its opening. After only thirty years the building was suffering from mechanical and design flaws. So, in the late 1990s, it was closed for major renovation work that cost at least as much as the original construction. Don't worry, it's now healthy and open!

Today Centre Pompidou holds over 60,000 works by surrealists, cubists, pop artists and other artists of the 20th and 21st centuries. The museum is noted for leading-edge exhibits featuring some of the masters of modern art and for its presentation of the works of lesser-known artists of the 20th and 21st centuries.


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Visiting Centre Pompidou

Visiting Centre Pompidou

The museum is located in the middle of the medieval neighbourhood of the Marais, and it still somehow feels like an alien in the quartier. Metro Rambuteau on Line 11 gets you to a corner of the Pompidou, but it's very easy to walk to from Metro Hotel de Ville (Lines 1 and 11). The admission price is around €18, but it's free if you have the Paris Insiders Pass. Be sure to check the museum's website for info on current exhibitions. Georges restaurant on the top floor provides amazing views of this part of Paris.

Centre Pompidou Information

  • Over 1,100,000 square feet in size
  • Cost almost one billion French francs to build (and about that much to renovate 20 years later!)
  • Open from 11 AM to 9 PM
  • Late Night: Thursday until 9:45 PM
  • Closed Tuesdays, December 25, January 1 and May 1
  • Free admission with the Paris Museum Pass

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