Not far from Les Halles, the Centre Beaubourg or better known as the Pompidou Center, created a lot of mixed feelings with its radical architectural design.
The Pompidou Center is divided into five floors : temporary exhibitions in the Grande Galerie on the fifth floor; museum of Modern Art from 1905 to present time on third and fourth floors.
The huge public library covers three floors with books, video-discs, microfilms, videos… A movie-theater celebrating the 7th art with festivals according to special themes on 1st floor.
Don’t leave before taking a ride on the escalators. As you go up, you will discover Paris as a horizontal skyline appears: the Sacré-Coeur, St-Eustache, the Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame, the Panthéon, the Tour St-Jacques, and La Défense. From the platform at the top you can look down on the château-style chimneys of the Hôtel de Ville, with their flowerpot offspring sprouting over the lower rooftops.
Designed for 6000 visitors a day, it has had more like 25,000 – proof of its outstanding success as an enduringly popular building.
Outside the Center
In front of the Center, there are always the street performers, jugglers, musicians, fire-eaters and the like, capturing the attention of the crowds milling along the pavement. There is also the clanking gold Défenseur du Temps clock in the Quartier de l’Horloge; a trompe-l’oeil, as you look along rue Aubry-le-Boucher from Beaubourg; and colourful sculptures and fountains by Tinguely and Nicky de St-Phalle in the pool in front of Église St-Merri. This waterwork pays homage to Stravinsky and shows scant respect for passers-by; it is the ceiling for IRCAM, the centre for contemporary music founded and directed by the composer and conductor Pierre Boulez. A new, overground extension to IRCAM has appeared, squeezed beside the old public baths on rue St-Merri.
The centre is open, free (with admission charges for the exhibitions and art museum), every weekday except Tuesday from noon to 10pm, and at weekends from 10am to 10pm.
19 Rue Beaubourg
How to get there
Metro line 1 or 11 : Rambuteau, Hotel de Ville, Chatelet
RER A, B or D : Châtelet-les Halles
Bus : 38, 47, 72, 76, 85, 21, 29, 58, 69, 70, 74, 75, 81, 96.
Centre Pompidou: from 11am to 12pm except on tuesdays and on May 1st.
Library: from 11am to 10pm everyday except on the week-ends: from 11am to 10pm
Museum and special exhibitions: from 11am to 9pm
The tickets Exposures and Museum the very same day give access to the Gallery of the children and the panoramic Point of view on Paris (level 6)