Centre d’Art et de Culture Georges Pompidou is the official name of this very extraordinaire building in the centre of Paris. It´s situated at less then 1 km from the Louvre and the Notre Dame, at the edge of a medieval quarter. In the sixties, this quarter was going down. Poverty and criminality became a problem here. To solve this problem an cultural and commercial impulse was given by the city of Paris.
First the Forum les Halles was improved to take care of the commercial impulse. Later the plan of the Centre Pompidou was made.
The building was designed by the Italian architects Gian Franco Franchini and Renzo Piano, and Richard Rogers from Engeland. The building is completely made of steel and galss, because the architects thought the beauty of construction was nothing to be ashamed of. Together with the colours (for every item in the construction a different colour) it´s a big difference with the rest a the quarter.
The Centre Pompidou immediately was a point of discussion among the people of Paris. President Georges Pompidou liked modern architecture, but a lot of others liked it absolutely not. Today the building is accepted and is an important tourist attraction.
At the 4th floor there is an exhibition area for modern art, like Matisse, Picasso, Mondriaan, Dali, Arman Christo and Warhol. The 3th floor has a collection of art from the period 1965 - 1985. At the topfloor the is a restaurant that provides you a magnificent view of Paris.
Niki de Saint Phalle and Jean Tinguely created these wonderful sculptures in the 1980's. One must seriously wonder quite how much weapons-grade narcotics they must have ingested to achieve this.
Located next to the Centre Georges Pompidou the fountain consists of sixteen separate sculptures inspired by Stravinsky's music. They are wonderfully playful, and attract children like Jelly and Ice-cream - which must be a good thing.
My particular favourite is the 'firebird' thing.
I visited the Cente Pompidou, or with its full name 'The Centre National d' Art et de Culture Georges Pompidou' several times.
My favourite part is the 'Musée National d'Art Moderne', where you can find the French national art collection of the 20th century like pop art, cubists, surrealists, Fauvists. So you can find famous artworks of Braque, Matisse and Miro.
There are also three galleries, where I saw several exhibitions of contemporary art with some impressive installations. In summer 2005 I visited the interesting exhibition Africa Remix with contemporary African art.
For opening hours, entrance fees and actual exhibitions have a look at the website.
Besides the exhibitions I spent also hours in the library, the 'Bibliothéque Publique d' Information', just curious about the huge amount of manuscripts and books, but also for some historical and genealogical research.
At the groundfloor is a bookshop and at the rooftop is a restaurant. From the roof you have stunning panoramic views at Paris.
The Pompidou Arts Centre
Do you remember at school, that there was always one child who seemed to wear his (it was always a he) his clothes inside out, and odd socks ? No ?, Just me then.
Anyway, the architectural equilvalent of this 'odd child' is this 1970's creation of Rogers and Piano. All the 'gubbins' of the building are on the outside. It created a storm when it opened, but is now almost considered ordinary.
Sourbugger doesn't care much for the modern arty-farty stuff that fill the place, but at least if you like esculators you can ascend to the top floor for a good (and FREE) view of Paris.
The George Pompidou National Center for Art and Culture is located in the Beaubourg district of Paris and frequently called by that name. It was designed by Renzo Piano (Italy) and Richard Rodgers (UK) based on a concept of bringing art and culture to "the man in the street" fostered by President Pompidou after whom it is named. Critics damned the new building as an 'oil refinery' and 'an affront' to the community. Its construction is inside out with all the support systems outside the main columns. Designed as a huge transparent box through which steel columns are visible, the external mechanical systems included elevators - red, escalators - clear plastic tunnels, and tubes for air = blue, water - green, and electricity - yellow. The upper floor contain the national art museum, with the national library on the lower floors. The top 6th floor houses a restaurant. Theatres, movie houses, and a musical research center also occupy this building. It has become a most popular destination for its art museum averaging 26000 daily visitors and over 160 million total. The fixed collection includes works by Picasso, Magritte, Chagall, Matisse and others. There are also featured guest exhibitions from all over the world. This is one museum where the cover is as interesting at the contents. In front is a plaza where the best humorists, mimes, and jugglers come from all over Europe to perform - this central plaza dates from the Middle Ages.
After trekking through the Pompidou Center, take a break. Along one side, this water park is filled with whimsical statues (by the artists Tinguely and Saint-Phalle) spouting water and cooling the immediate surroundings, with a spray on windy days. The outer margin is a bench allowing one to join both tourists and Parisiens for a snack or just for a little R&R. A very friendly setting indeed.
Place Igor Stravinsky
Marais - near Centre Pompidou
The Place Igor Stravinsky is a fantastic place to bring kids (of all ages) to enjoy the quirky Jean Tinguely & Nikki de St-Phalle sculptures in its fountain.
In the background of the photo you can see Eglise St-Merri which has a wonderful classical music concert series. I just love the purple of the sky in this photo, don't you? Where I was facing in this photo, to the left is the famous wine bar Dame Tartine and behind me is the great center for Modern Art, Centre Pompidou, which is great for expansive views of Paris as you ride up the escalator.
This photo is for my friend, madaboutparis, who is mad about Nikki de St-Phalle; why, you can even see a photo she took of one of his sculptures in the Cimetiere Montparnasse!
Photo: February 2006
There is an original, colourful and amusing fountain "Tingelly" near the Pompidou's Center. Such fountain, unlike habitual to us of static fountains, has moving figures - sources of water jets. Therefore the dynamic picture of sprayed jets turns out interesting enough.
I visited the Centrre Pompidou for the first time in 1978 during an architectural excursion to Paris. It was one year after it opens its doors. I was shocked and thrilled at the same time by its striking architecture and the contrast with the surrounding classical buildings.
During this first visit of half a day at this multifunctional Cultural Centre I didn't know where to look first. All was very overwhelming, the colourful tubes, the red exterior escalator, the radical architecture having turned the 'insides' to the outside. And during all my following visits to Paris I had to come back to this appealing phenomena. Don't ask me why.
On the first sunday of the month the Louvre can be visited freely. Be sure to come EARLY, otherwise you have to stand in an endless queue.
However there are very nice shops (nature et decouverte, occitane etc.) that are even open on sundays, so you can one be one take a look in the shops while the other one will wait in the queue.
The Louvre is enormous and you can hardly see everything. It is a wise thing to select the things you are most keen to see in advance.
Ann and I selected the following:
- Napoleons rooms (amazing)
- Crown jewels ( wow)
- Mona Lisa (didn't like that, long queue)
- Venus of Milo (beautiful)
- Egyption art (sarcofagues and things)
At the end of the day we found out that we had seen everything, quite an accomplishment. Art overload!
The food in the restaurant in the Louvre is good and not too expensive. We both took a large plate with salad for 8 euros that you could compose yourself: prawns, feta cheese, cold turkey etc: mmmm!
Pompidou's Center. You are amazed with boldness of Frenchmen to build such, silly at a first sight, buildings-constructions. But once the same absurdity seem to all Tour d'Eiffel in the end of the nineteenth century!
Pompidou's center was constructed in 1977 as the big cultural center for every possible exhibitions. The building is often called as "city machine". It seems not to be finished construction with woods and the pipelines framing a building. The national museum of the modern art occupies three top floors.
You can watch my 2 min 48 sec Video Paris Centre Pompidou out of my Youtube channel.
After ascending to the top floor it is tempting to head straight for the art museum or perhaps into the restaurant "the Georges". Take a minute and check out the views of the rooftops of Paris and the great monuments and churches beyond. On a clear day you can see forever.
There always seems to be a festive atmosphere on the "piazza" in front of the modern art museum Centre Pompidou or Beaubourg.
Groups of street performers take turns putting on shows and funny sketches here.
Second photo: The Centre Pompidou was one of the first huge new projects of the 1970s. It was intended as an "original cultural institution in the heart of Paris completely focused on modern and contemporary creation," and was first opened in 1977. Twenty years later it was closed for extensive renovation work, and then re-opened in January 2000. They say that some six million people visit the Centre Pompidou each year, for a total of over 190 million visitors in its 30 years of existence.
When I explain to people where I used to live in the Marais district, I sometimes say it was halfway between the Centre Pompidou and the Opéra Bastille, even though neither of these even existed at the time.
The Centrre Pompidou or Centre Beaubourg is situated along the Rue Beaubourg. At this side the building shows its most colourful and radical architecture with its striking tubes. Here you can see ver clearly how the 'insides' of the building are turned to the outside. The green tubes are for water, yellow is for electrecity and blue for airconditioning.
At the Rue Beaubourg the enormous contrast with the classical buildings at the other side of the street is the most striking. The building has a very technical outlook, more ressembling a factory or refinery than looking like a building, that houses cultural functions like a library and a museum.
At the westside of Centre Pompidou, the side of the eyecatching red escalator, is the Place Georges Pompidou. At the edge of the Place you see some giant grey tubes.
Especially at sunny days it's always busy at the Place Georges Pompidou and surrounding pedestrian streets. A lot of people, inhabitants of Paris and tourists, look at the many performances of street artists like stand-up comedians, mime artists, musicians and jugglers.