Before visiting the Centre Pompidou I had followed the architectural controversy in the French media so that on my visit in the 1980s I expected to find something that looked like my photo.
I'm fond of petrochemical plants and admire chemical engineers who starting from a reaction developed in a small lab apparatus build a chemical plant extending on more than a sq. Km.
Beaubourg was therefore a deception "this is not a chemical plant" Magritte would have said.
Now about the collections: there are about 60.000 works, covering the whole range from painting to architecture, through photography, cinema, new media, sculpture and design.
The works on view, about 1400, are alternated.
Modern art from 1905 to 1960 is on display on level 5. Here I found some good things from Braque, Kandinsky, Matisse, Miro, Picasso ("La Liseuse" and "Arlequin" from the 1920s), Rouault.
On level 4 are the contemporary art creations from 1960 to the present.
The artistic qualities of contemporary art are not clear to me in spite of my willingness to become a member of the club of initiated amateurs.
Over the years I came to think that contemporary art comprises little art and much decoration or eccentricities. The contemporary art is like a religion; one does believe or does not believe.
To say it in another way: "Des goûts et des couleurs on ne discute pas - there is no accounting for taste - De gustibus et coloribus non est disputandum."
There are 3,6 million visitors/year what makes the Centre Pompidou the third most visited destination in France after the Tour Eiffel and the Louvre. Do they come back for a second visit?
Open: every day except Tuesdays and May 1st. from 11 h. (!) to 21 h.
Price (2013): Adult €13 or €11 depending on the period / concessions €10 or €9 depending on the period (this is more expensive than Musée d'Orsay 9 €).
I must admit that I felt at the same time proud and impressed to finding near Centre Pompidou, Brancusi's Studio (L'Atelier Brancusi).
Constantin Brancusi, the best sculptor of the XX century and the pioneer of abstraction, was born in Romania in 1876 and came to Paris in 1904.
Until his death, in 1957, he produced in his studio located in Montparnasse his most important sculptures appreciated for the elegance and the specific use of materials.
In the 1930s Brancusi worked to an ambitious public sculpture projects, the installation in Tirgu Jiu, Romania, of the Gate of the Kiss, Table of Silence and a 100-foot tall cast iron version of Endless Column.
One year before his death, Brancusi left the contents of his studio to the French State on condition that the studio be installed in the museum, as initially was.
What drove me towards the Centre Georges Pompidou was more the outside then the inside of the building. I had heard so much about the architecture of this huge modern and contemporary art museum that I just had to see it for myself. The architects (Richard Roger, Renzo Piano and Gianfranco Franchin) literally turned the building inside out, placing all the framework, pipes, escalators, and structures on the outside. The effect is a mish mash of steel and glass, and a very unusual look to it. Did I like it? I actually don't know. I can't say I hated it, but I can't say I loved it either. Maybe 'interesting' would be the right word. Around the Centre Georges Pompidou you can see quite a few street artists, like these Mongolian Musicians in the second picture.
As modern and contemporary art isn't really my thing, I didn't go inside. But maybe I am the exception, as the museum draws in huge crowds every year. Millions of visitors admire the works of Matisse, Picasso and Miró. On their website you can find everything about opening times, entrance fee, the art works, and even read about the architecture of the building: www.centrepompidou.fr
I must admit that I was not very much impressed of the futuristic building before entering and visiting the Musee national d'Art moderne (National Museum of Modern Art). I had the impression that it didn't fit the scenery at all, that's why I made the mistake of doing my visit late in the afternoon and having too less time left.
Already in, I really felt in love ... with everything.
I could have spent hours and hours looking to the modern works displayed and just trying to find another secret connotation missed at the first sight.
The 1,100 modern contemporary art works (sculptures, photographs, videos, etc) are organized based on the theme on a single floor (Level 5 - Big Bang) and are changed every 18 months.
On the three terraces are displayed sculptures by Calder, Miro and Laurens.
Here is what you can find on each floor:
Level -1: Foyer / Ticket Office / Cinema
Level 0: General Information / Ticket Office / Bookstore
Level 1: Cinema / Library / Cafe
Level 2: Press Room / General Collection / Self-Training Area
Level 3: General Collection / Kandinsky Library and Graphic Arts Cabinet
Level 4: Museum
Level 5: Big Bang / Terrace sculptures
Level 6: Exhibitions
Opening hours: 11:00-22:00
Entrance to Big Bang (Level 5) free of charge with Paris Museum pass. Entrancee fee to Level 6 to be paid separately.
This museum certainly made for some interesting discussions... what constitutes good art and the like conversations abounded. It contains the largest collection of modern art in the world with some 40 000 pieces. Set aside at least half a day wandering through this vast and consuming complex. I feasted my eyes on works by artists such as Matisse and Picasso as well as hundreds of other thought provoking pieces.
This museum opened in 1979 to much controversy apparently. I assume this was largely due to the unconventional nature of the building which I can best explain by saying it looks like a building inside out. Parts of the building that serve specific functions are painted a distinctive colour which conrasts heavily with the others. For example, tubing for air is blue, green for water, yellow for electricity and red for the elevators. Makes for a very interesting effect.
Views from inside the museum of the Paris skyline are nothing short of fabulous and there are some nice photo opportunities with the sharp lines of some modern art pieces contrasting with the classic Paris skyline.
A ticket will set you back about 10 Euro and is the museum is open every day, except Tuesdays and May 1, 11am-10pm
There's industrial chic ... and then there's just inexplicable oddity ... and I know which side of the line I consider the Pompidou Centre falls!
I suppose that in terms of initial impact on the senses, this building certainly achieves the stated intent in a 'no holds barred', total-assault-on-the-senses kind of way. Where else could you pass off a combination of scaffolding and outsize hamster runs as a serious showcase for the arts?
I first encountered the Pompidou Centre when I was 14 and participated in a school exchange programme to Paris. As a fledgling teenager eager to discover the charms of the world's most romantic city without parental supervision, I was outraged that planning permission could have been granted for a structure so hideous. Nearly quarter of a century later and having done my best to keep my distance from the structure over the intervening period, I have to say that I don't feel a whole lot more positive towards the place. On balance, what I think I find most unpalatable is that in a city that does so well to present a harmonious whole - even between different architectural styles - this overindulgence of dated 60s metal and plastic is so very out of keeping with its surroundings and deserves to be relegated to the status of a set for an Austin Powers movie and then donated to a home for deserving outsize hamsters.
Aesthetics apart, it does seem to be a vibrant facility that hosts art exhbitions, movies and the performing arts, so probably it performs that part of its function well. I was tempted to visit because it was hosting an exhibition of Edvard Munsch, but on balance, I decided that the stiff admission fee (€10) was too steep to justify for the work of someone whose work I primarily recognise as the inspiration for a million Halloween masks, and decided instead to spend it on something that I knew that I would appreciate. This is one of the problems of any major tourist destination, I suppose - the admission fees quickly add up, and for most travellers, €10 is quite a whack to blow on something that you don't know whether you'll really enjoy.
The website below will indicate current and future exhibits, but seems a particularly obtuse piece of Gallic design which seems to frustrate rather than assist. It gives an English language option, but the design is counterintuitive - the important stuff on entrance prices and opening hours appears under 'Planning Your Visit' - and the option to buy tickets online simply didn't want to function in English. This I do find annoying: either you offer foreign language versions of your website or you don't - but don't pretend that you do and then offer a 'tool' that doesn't provide a translation of the detail required.
It is also worth noting that the exhibitions don't open until 11:00 (and the adjacent Atelier Brancusi has even more limited opening hours, between 14:00 and 18:00 Wednesday-Monday) which may impact on your planning if - like me - you're someone who likes to make an early start to avoid crowds.
The public space outside the Centre is a pleasant spot frequented by slightly bohemian types - I enjoyed an unexpectedly excellent impromptu didgeridoo recital!
President Georges Pompidou declared in the year 1969, he wishes for Paris a culture centre, that is museum and place of inventive work at the same time.
The construction should begin in the district "plateau Beaubourg."
For this project, began an international competition.
Winner was the project of Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers.
As the building 1977 was opened in the middle of the decrepit Beaubourg quarter, there was a protest storm that never has lain down completely.
The building covers a surface of 100,000 square meters.
Each pipeline at the outside smoothed with another colour and every colour corresponds to a certain function.
The Centre is accepted as a construction of lovable grotesqueness.
The building is as gallery, far, popular, as anybody could foresee at its opening.
Musée National d’Art Moderne (the national museum for modern time art), is accommodated on the last three floors of the Centre Pompidou.
Gallery of the Atelier Brancusi
Constantin Brancusi, the biggest sculptor of the 20th century, was the father of the modern sculpture.
Born in 1876 in Romania, Constantin Brancusi lived and worked in Paris, from 1904, until his death in 1957.
The largest part of his work, it was made there in Paris but an important part of his wonderful creations is in Romania, in his homeland.
You can sees in his studio, in Paris, a collection singularly to the world, formed from 144 sculptures, 41 drawings furniture, 87 pedestals, two paintings and more of 1600 photographic plates of glass and original jerks.
The Ateler of Brancusi was built in 1956, and late reconstructs, in 1962 and 1977.
Since end of January 1997, it is presented, within a renewed architecture of Renzo piano.
Now, you can visit this studio, in centre George Pompidou, from the deep glass edifice at the side.
Don't miss this opportunity, and you visit the studio Brancusi, if you visit the Centre Pompidou.
This museum is definitely as modern as its collections! Inaugurated in 1977, it is said to have revolutionarized the architectural world, although the colorful collection of pipes that adorns the building has also had its fair share of detractors. To be honest, in my opinion, the pipes are so ugly they become beautiful, does that make any sense?
The Pompidou Center houses different institutions, including a vast public library and a centre for music and acoustic research, but the majority of visitors are mostly interested in the National Modern Art Museum, which is located on the fourth and fifth floors of the Center. Over a thousand works of art by artists such as Picasso, Miro, Matisse, Kandinsky, Dali and Pollock are on display. There is also a nice rooftop cafe that offers an enjoyable view of the city in a strikingly different setting.
Admission to the museum costs 8 Euros (but you can use your Museum Pass to see the permanent collection). The museum is closed on Tuesdays, but it is open from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm everyday, which makes it the only museum open at night on a daily basis.
Right next to the Centre Pompidou you´ll see a very nice, colourful, and vivid fountain, consisting of sixteen separate sculptures. This fountain was made in 1982 and 1983 by the famous artist Niki de Saint-Phalle and her husband Jean Tinguely. The fountain is dedicated to the Russian composer Igor Stravinsky. Every sculpture points at one of his plays.
De Saint-Phalle made the colourful, polyester ones and Tinguely took care of the iron ones. Together they make a nice unity that perfectly fits with the Centre Pompidou that is right behind it.
I always enjoy visiting this fountain on the south side of the Centre Pompidou. It is in the Place Igor Stravinsky, and many people do not realise that the figures are based on his works. It is dominated by a huge Firebird, but the other figures are also inspired by him.
The fountain is the work of Niki de St Phalle and her husband Jean Tinguely. Niki created the colourful polystyrene figures and Jean the works in metal.
Sadly her creations in polystyrene were eventually the cause of her death; she died of emphysema in 2002.
Warning : if you want to get close to take photos, check the direction of the wind first! Any gust will see passers by drenched by the spray!
Place Igor Stravinsky is located righ alongside the Pompidou centre and definitely should not be missed if you are in the area. (Please enlarge the photo for this one!!!)
I don't know too much about the fountain here other than that it was created by Niki de Saint Phalle and Jean Tinguely. I had assumed it had been created by a madman, but a genius all the same.
The fountain is weird and wonderful brightly coloured shapes that spin round and squirt water, and is one of the most interesting fountains I have ever seen. It's certainly not pompous or grandiose and is one of those refreshly different things that only Paris seems to have.
Centre Georges Pompidou, popularly called le Beaubourg by the Parisians, is THE center for modern art in Paris. A ride up the escalator famously reveals fantastic panoramas of Paris while the Place Beaubourg out front is always packed and is a great place for people-watching.
It's equally famous for its inside-out architecture, with its exposed innards painted in the different colors for the electrical, venting and other systems. I just loved that they placed all of this on the outside of the building which allows more space for the expositions on the inside!
Nearby is the Seuss-like Place Igor Stravinsky with its wonderfully eclectic Tinguely & de St-Phalle sculptures sitting in the central fountain, which is a great place to bring kids.
If you're hungry, stop by Dame Tartine for one of their Croque Monsieurs or tartines (open-faced sandwiches) and a glass of wine, for which they're justly famous.
I love the ad for the Martin Scorsese perspective!
Photo: February 2006
As I understand it, in the 1970s this place was labled "the most avant-garde building in the world". The building was down to the ideas of former president Georges Pompidou hence his name being attached. It opened in 1977 and became the focus of a bit of controversy. You can see why with its brightly painted pipes and ducts crisscrossing its transparent facade (green for water, red for heat, blue for air, yellow for electricity).
Problem was the building quickly deteriorated and a major restoration was needed. The work apparently added 450 sq. m of exhibit space plus a rooftop restaurant and some other stuff including rooms for film screenings and performances.
The Centre Pompidou encompasses five attractions. Musée National d'Art Moderne, Bibliothèque Information Publique, Centre de Création Industriel, Institut de Recherche et de Coordination Acoustique-Musique and the Atelier Brancusi.
It is very big and really worth the time if you have it. Visit the website below for more comprehensive info.
The Centre Pompidou, built in 1977, in the heart of Le Marais, provoked fierce controversy but after a while it was rapidly adopted by Parisians. It holds the National Museum of Modern Art, and it's the biggest one in Europe. It holds modern art (obviously), a huge library and an incredible restaurent: George. This restaurant was designed by Philip Stark and it holds and amazing view of Paris, as it is in the 6th floor of the building.
If you don't want to eat, or you're not interested in modern art, maybe the building will catch your eye. The different colors of the pipes show the different utilities they have: red for everything that involves motion, blue for air, red for heating, and green... mmm... I don't remember. But the building itself is worth a visit. So try it.