The Centre Georges Pompidou, AKA the Beaubourg, is one of the famous modern buildings of Paris. People tend to either love it or hate it but few are ambivalent. It is a bit jarring to see the stark modern building with its innards on the outside taking up 5 acres in the historic center of Paris, but it is also a very fun visit.
The Center is named after Georges Pompidou, who was President of France from 1969 to 1974. It was opened on January 31, 1977 and was designed by Renzo Piano, Richard Rogers and Gianfranco Franchini. It houses the Bibliothèque Publique d'Information, a public library, and the National Museum of Modern Art. There is a restaurant at the top with great views and the escalator goes up on the piazza side with great views of Sacre Coeur and the Place Georges Pompidou below. You do have to pay to use the escalator.
The Center is big and rectangular and very colorful. The colors are a code. Air conditioning ducts are blue, water pipes are green, electricity lines are yellow and escalators are red. The large white ducts that look like they should be on an ocean liner are ventilation shafts for the underground areas.
The nearby Stravinsky Fountain (also called the Fontaine des Automates) on Place Stravinsky features sixteen kinetic water-spraying sculptures by Jean Tinguely and Niki de Saint-Phalle that represent themes and works by the composer Igor Stravinsky. The black-painted mechanical sculptures are by Tinguely, the colored works, my personal favorites, are by Niki de Saint-Phalle. The fountain opened in 1983.
Closed on Tuesdays
Main entrance on the piazza, place Georges Pompidou in the Beaubourg area of Paris.
Library entrace through Rue du Renard, at the opposite side of the main entrance.
Accessible entrance for disabled visitors rue du Renard, corner Saint-Merri.
The Pompidou Center Web Site
It is curious because if you ask someone whre you can find the "Le Defenseur du Temps" clock, be prepared to people get suspicious and make a surprise expression :)
Worst was, that when got there (by ourselves map orientation), the clock was disable so it wasn't possible to watch the battle between the men and the dragoon, the crab and the cock. Wich simbolises the battle with air, sea and earth ...
Address - Rue Bernard de Clairvaux (IVe)
This time I was really disapointed when visited again the Stravinsky fountain (near Pompidou). There was no water in the "lake" and the fountains were also dry. It simple lost the enchantment and Parisiens should ask what that "commune mayor" has been doing there.
One of the things that I liked the most in Paris is the fact that you can admire wonderful views of the town from different high points (Tour Eiffel, Tour Montparnasse, Notre-Dame's towers or Sacre-Coeur).
Here is one from the 5th floor of Centre Georges Pompidou, from the entrance to the exhibition.
In front of the Georges Pompidou library, you can look the performances that different people make. We saw three or four, with several quality degrees, but almost always friendly.
Al davant de la llibreria Georges Pompidou, podeu mirar les diferents actuacions que els artistes fan. Nosaltres en vam veure tres o quatre, amb iferents graus de qualitat, però gairebé sempre simpàtiques.
Well, this is not a true 'off the beaten path' tip, because the Stravinsky Fountain is found just beside one of the more famous sights in Paris...Centre Pompidou. But this fountain is worth a look and wirth a few photos! It's a nice place to sit down and relax after having walked around in the crowded streets, and a nice place to enjoy the view of the controverisal Pompidou-building.
Georges Pompidou Center. This extravagant-looking center is an interesting sight for itself, since it has all the pipes & installations & infrastructure mounted on the outside of the building, painted in different colors for the ease of maintnance and of course to catch your eye. Besides being fun to watch, Pompidou Center is also a major cultural center in Paris and is usually ful of artists, who give it Montmartre-like atmosphere. When we were there, the center was closed down for renovation, however, so nothing much was happening. What a pitty.