In Paris’ Beaubourg district, Centre Pompidou is a multidisciplinary cultural venue that’s home to the National Museum of Contemporary Art. Visitors come to see famous paintings by legendary artists, such as Henri Matisse and Wassily Kandinsky, and to marvel at the building’s design.
Designed by architects Richard Rogers, Renzo Piano, and Gianfranco Franchini, Centre Pompidou is a triumph of postmodern architecture. All of the building’s functional systems—from air conditioning to water supply—are routed across its exterior in multicolored pipes; some compare the structure to an oil refinery. It’s named after former French President Georges Pompidou, who commissioned the building in 1969.
Aside from the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Centre Pompidou is also home to a huge public reading library, a concert hall, and other cultural organizations. Along with an excellent permanent collection of contemporary European art from 1905 to the present day, including a complete reconstruction of sculptor Constantin Brancusi’s studio, the center also hosts a regular program of cinema showings and live music, theater, and dance performances. The building is a popular spot on walking tours of the city.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Entry to Centre Pompidou is by paid ticket.
- Skip the line with a Paris multi-attraction pass.
- Arrange a private tour for more in-depth information about the Pompidou and its collection.
- Entry is free every first Sunday of the month.
- Wheelchairs are available for loan from the visitor’s cloakroom.
- Two of the movie screens are fitted with audio induction loops for those using hearing aids.
How to Get There
Centre Pompidou is in the Beaubourg, in the 4th arrondissement, near Les Halles shopping mall. The closest metro stops are Hotel de Ville (Lines 1 and 11) and Chatelet (Lines 1, 4, 7, 11, and 14). It is walkable from other attractions in the city center, including Notre Dame Cathedral. There is underground parking on-site.
When to Get There
The center is open Wednesday–Monday from 11am–9pm. On Thursday evenings, it stays open until 11pm. Ticket offices shut one hour before closing time. The Atelier Brancusi is open from 2pm–6pm, while the reading library opens from 12pm–10pm on weekdays and 11am–10pm on weekends. All sites are closed Tuesdays. The center is usually busiest from midmorning through midafternoon.
Designed by Jean Tinguely and Niki de Saint Phalle, the Stravinsky Fountain, outside Centre Pompidou’s south side, was meant to represent composer Igor Stravinsky’s works. Its bright colors and whimsical shapes will draw a smile from children and adults alike.