Pompidou Centre and Museum of Modern Art

The Pompidou Centre or Centre Georges Pompidou, which is its official name, is often also known as the Beaubourg due to the area where it is located, but it also often gets the nickname of the inside out building, due to the construction techniques utilised to allow as much floor space within as possible.

About the Pompidou Centre

When you look at the history of the Pompidou Centre, it was built on the initiative of the French President Georges Pompidou, who realised that there was a need for a free public information library, but he wanted a multi-cultural centre that would also be home to the Musee d’Art Moderne and much more.

And even though this building is classed as hideous to some and a major monument in Paris to others, the Pompidou Centre has grown in popularity over the years.  And today millions of visitors from all over the world have traveled to Paris just to visit the Modern Art Museum and see the building itself.
Pompidou Centre front facade

Which has meant that the centre has now become one of the top tourist attractions in Paris that is suitable for all ages and is also disabled friendly as well.

Now within the Centre Georges Pompidou, which is a multi-cultural centre, you will find the Biblioteque Publique d’Information, also known as BPI for short and this is the information library that is free to all to use and contains a wide range of materials, documents, digital, audio and visual documents that are up to date and easily accessible.  You can find the Biblioteque Publique d’Information ( BPI ) on level 1 and it is here that you will also find the mezzanine cafe.

The centre is also home to the Musee d’Art Moderne, which is the museum of modern art that was originally located at the Palais de Tokyo museum in Paris.  Over the years, the modern and contemporary art collections have grown extensively and now contains over 60,000 different works of art, which means this Paris museum today has the largest collection of modern and contemporary art in Europe that covers the 20th and 21st centuries.

However, as you can no doubt imagine, even though this museum is housed in a large building, there is still not enough room to display all the different works of art at the same time, so there are different displays and temporary exhibitions organised throughout the year.  And the part of the museum on contemporary art is exhibited on level 4 and the modern art section is on level 5.
There are also two cinemas located within the Pompidou Centre, one on the 1st floor and the other is situated in the basement level and if you want to visit one of these tickets can be purchased on the day.

Plus there is an area specifically designed for young children up to the age of 12 known as the Galerie des Enfents where workshops are conducted, along with the 13/16 Studio, which is designed specifically for teenagers with interactive works and workshops, and access to these is free of charge without the need for booking.

As well as these areas in this multi-cultural centre, you will be able to discover other sections such as a graphic design studio, galleries relating to graphic arts, another that relates to media and film, a bookshop, an additional cafeteria plus much more.

The Centre Georges Pompidou also has a visitors lounge and information areas for the Musee d’Art Moderne along with terraces on the 5th floor and a restaurant called Le Georges on the 6th floor, which also has fabulous panoramic views over the rooftops of Paris, however, for this Paris restaurant Le Georges, you do have to book a table in advance.
Air venting pipes at Pompidou Centre

Outside escalator at the Pompidou Centre

Visiting the Pompidou Centre and Musee d’Art Moderne

The Centre Georges Pompidou is open every day of the year except for Tuesdays and on the 1st May.  You will find it open from 11am through to 10pm, yet the exhibition areas close at 9pm, however, there is a late opening on a Thursday until 11pm for exhibitions held on the 6th floor.

When it comes to the Musee d’Art Moderne Museum in Paris, this is open from 11am through to 9pm except on a Tuesday and again on the 1st May, and the BPI is open from midday through to 10pm on a weekday and then from 11am through to 10pm at weekends.

The main entrance to the Pompidou Centre, the Musee d’Art Moderne Museum and the panoramic views on the sixth floor is via the piazza on Place Georges Pompidou.  However if you are thinking of visiting the library, then the entrance is on Rue du Renard and any one with disabilities would also need to use the entrance on Rue du Renard, on the corner with Rue Saint-Merri.

Throughout the year, the Pomidou Centre organises different themed visits and events that are related to the temporary exhibitions and works on display, plus there are different workshops organised.  In addition to these, you can also access documentary films about the artists and their works along with catalogues and documentation on the exhibits, which can be found in the visitors lounge of the Museum of Modern Art on the fourth floor.

An audio guide is also available in French, English, Spanish, German and Italian that can be obtained at the stand in the Pompidou Centre by the bookshop.
Modern art at Pompidou Centre

Access to the Pompidou Centre and Musee d’Art Moderne

You can purchase a ticket for the museum and exhibitions, which is a cost of €14 as of 2018 and this is valid for the whole day and includes being able to access the panoramic viewing point on the sixth floor.  However the permanent collections and exhibitions of the museum are free to those under the age of 18, in addition to being free for every person on the first Sunday of each month.

There is also a Panorama Ticket that you can purchase if you are more interested in seeing the views over Paris than you are in museums, and as of 2018 this is a cost of €5 for adults.  However, any person under the age of 18 gets free admission, plus those under the age of 26 who are residents of the EU are also able to access this area free of charge, which is in addition to this being free of charge for any person on the first Sunday of every month.

Cinema tickets cost €6 as of 2018 and when there is a show being held, a ticket for one of these shows or concerts in Paris is a cost of between €10 and €18, but please do bear in mind that none of these or the Panorama Ticket will provide entry to the Musee d’Art Moderne Museum.

There are family workshops and childrens workshops for children aged 6 to 10 including one adult accompanying them, and these are a cost of €10, but this does also provide access to the Childrens Gallery and the Modern Art Museum right after the workshop has finished.  These are normally help at a weekend or during the school holidays and to find out more about these you can telephone the Pompidou Centre or go to their website.
Pipe work on the outside of Pompidou Centre

Art exhibition at Pompidou Centre
Now when it comes to getting to the Pompidou Centre, you will find that the nearest Metro stations are the Rambuteau stop on line 11, the Hotel de Ville stop on lines 1 and 11 or the Chatelet stop on lines 1, 4, 7, 11 and 14.

If you are travelling on the RER trains then you would need the Chatelet - Les Halles stop that serves the RER A, B and D Lines.  Other public transport in Paris include the buses, and the Bus Lines 29, 38, 47, 58, 67, 69, 70, 72, 75, 76, 81  and 96, along with the Noctilien Night Bus Service via Lines N11, N12, N13, N14, N16, N21, N22 and N23 that will all get you within walking distance.

However, if you are driving in Paris, then you will be pleased to know that there is a paying car park with the exit being via lifts on the Rue Saint-Martin at the top of the Piazza and dedicated disabled parking is available on levels 2 and 3.  The entrances to the car park are from the Rue Beaubourg and the Les Halles underpass and the maximum height limit is 3.5 metres.

Yet there is also a drop off and pick up point for visitors to the Pompidou Centre in the Rue de Renard.  Alternatively, the Velib, which is the self service bike hire scheme in Paris has stations located on the Rue Beaubourg and the Rue Grenier Saint-Lazare.