Today one of the world’s most famous pieces of modern architecture, the Pompidou Centre opened in 1977, when architects Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano startled everyone by turning the building “inside out”, with brightly coloured pipes displayed on the façade. Designed as a cross-cultural arts complex, it houses the excellent Musée National d’Art Moderne (Modern Art Museum) as well as a cinema, library, shops and performance space. The outside forecourt is a popular gathering-spot for tourists and locals alike.

  • Place Georges Pompidou 75004


  • 01 44 78 12 33

  • Open 11am–10pm Wed–Mon (11pm Thu); closed 1 May

  • Adm (museum) €8–12; Brancusi’s Studio free (open 2–6pm Wed–Mon). Free 1st Sun of the month, under 18s free, under 26s free (EU only).

Centre Guide

The Centre is home to various institutions. The Museum of Modern Art (MNAM) is on levels 4 and 5, the cinema on level 1. Check at the information desk or on the website for details about the temporary shows, rehangs of works on level 5 and the contemporary art “happenings”. Displays at the MNAM often change and some works may move to the sister institution in Metz.

Centre Georges Pompidou façade

The centre’s café is pleasant and has free WiFi access. For something grander, head to Georges, the roof-top brasserie.

Buy tickets online to avoid the queues.

Top 10 Features
  1. Escalator

    One of the building’s most striking and popular features is the external escalator, which climbs, snake-like, up the front of the centre in its plexi-glass tube. The view gets better and better as you rise high above the activity in the Centre’s forecourt, before arriving at the top for the best view of all.

  2. Top-Floor View

    The view from the top of the Pompidou Centre is spectacular. The Eiffel Tower is visible, as is Montmartre in the north and the Tour Montparnasse to the south. On clear days views can stretch as far as La Défense.

  3. The Forum

    Visitors and locals gather in the open space in front of the Centre to enjoy the variety of street performers and changing installations of monumental sculptures, which are often related to shows at the Centre.

  4. Stravinsky Fountain

    This colourful fountain in Place Igor Stravinsky was designed by Niki de Saint-Phalle and Jean Tinguely as part of the Pompidou Centre development. Inspired by composer Stravinsky’s ballet The Firebird (1910), the bird spins and sprays water!

  5. Pipes

    Part of the shock factor of the Pompidou Centre is that the utility pipes are outside the building. Not only that, they are vividly coloured: bright green for water, yellow for electricity and blue for air-conditioning.

  6. Bookshop

    The ground-floor bookshop sells a range of postcards, posters of major works in the Modern Art Museum and books on artists associated with Paris.

  7. Brancusi’s Studio

    The studio of revolutionary Romanian sculptor Constantin Brancusi (1876–1957) is to the north of the centre, displaying his abstract works.

  8. Man with a Guitar

    Within the Modern Art Museum, this 1914 work by artist Georges Braque (1882–1963) is one of the most striking of the Cubist Movement.

  9. Violinist at the Window

    French artist Henri Matisse (1869–1964) was one of the proponents of the short-lived Fauvist Movement, which advocated the use of bold, strong colours. Violinist at the Window was painted in 1917–18 and can be interpreted as a self-portrait.

  10. La Baigneuse

    Joan Miró (1893–1983) was born in Barcelona but moved to Paris in 1920. His simplistic yet evocative La Baigneuse (The Swimmer) (1924) depicts a woman lost in serpentine waves.La Sieste (The Siesta) (1925) comes from his “dream pictures” period and is an example of his contribution to Surrealism.

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