Centre Pompidou and the National Museum of Modern Art

The Georges-Pompidou National Center for Art and Culture (CNAC) – commonly known as the “Pompidou Center”, or more familiarly “Beaubourg” – is a multidisciplinary establishment born from the will of President Georges Pompidou, a great lover of modern art, to create in the heart of Paris an original cultural institution entirely dedicated to modern and contemporary creation where the visual arts would coexist with books, drawing, music, live performances, activities for young audiences, as well as cinema.

It is located in the Saint-Merri district, in the 4th arrondissement of Paris (France), between the Halles district, to the west, and the Marais, to the east.

It employs a thousand people and has a revenue budget of 119.7 € million, mainly made up of €78.5 million in state subsidies and €41.2 million in own revenue.

Inaugurated on January 31, 1977, the Pompidou center welcomed, in 2019, 3,273,867 visitors, an average of 10,595 visits per day.

National Museum of Modern Art / Center for Industrial Creation (Mnam / Cci) has the second largest collection of modern and contemporary art in the world, after the Museum of Modern Art in New York, with more than 100,000 works of art by 6,400 artists from 90 countries since Fauvism in 1905. These works include painting, sculpture, drawing, print, photography, cinema, new media, architecture, and design. A part of the collection is exhibited every two years alternately in an 18,500-square-metre (199,000 sq ft) space divided between two floors, one for modern art (from 1905 to 1960, on the 5th floor), the other for contemporary art (from 1960, on the 4th floor), and 5 exhibition halls, on a total of 28,000 m2 (300,000 sq ft) within the Centre Pompidou. The Atelier Brancusi is located in its own building adjacent to the museum.

The works displayed in the museum often change in order to show to the public the variety and depth of the collection. Many major temporary exhibitions of modern and contemporary art have taken place on a separate floor (the 6th) over the years, among them many one-person exhibitions. Since 2010, the museum has also displayed unique, temporary exhibitions in its provincial branch, the Centre Pompidou-Metz, in a 10,000-square-metre (110,000 sq ft) space divided between 3 galleries and since 2015, in Málaga, Spain, and 2018, in Brussels, Belgium.

It also houses important temporary exhibition galleries, performance and cinema halls, and the Public Information Library (Bpi), the first public reading library in Europe. On either side of the Piazza, two annex buildings house the Institute for Acoustic/Music Research and Coordination (Ircam) and the Brancusi workshop.

It was the first major example of an ‘inside-out’ building with its structural system, mechanical systems, and circulation exposed on the exterior of the building. Initially, all of the functional structural elements of the building were colour-coded: green pipes are plumbing, blue ducts are for climate control, electrical wires are encased in yellow, and circulation elements and devices for safety (e.g., fire extinguishers) are red. According to its main architect Renzo Piano, the design was meant to be “not a building but a town where you find everything – lunch, great art, a library, great music”.

The nearby Stravinsky Fountain (also called the Fontaine des automates), on Place Stravinsky, features 16 whimsical moving and water-spraying sculptures by Jean Tinguely and Niki de Saint-Phalle, which represent themes and works by composer Igor Stravinsky. The black-painted mechanical sculptures are by Tinguely, the coloured works by de Saint-Phalle. The fountain opened in 1983.

The Place Georges Pompidou in front of the museum is noted for the presence of street performers, such as mimes and jugglers. In the spring, miniature carnivals are installed temporarily into the place in front with a wide variety of attractions: bands, caricature and sketch artists, tables set up for evening dining, and even skateboarding competitions. Sculpture “Renzo Piano & Richard Rogers” devoted to the architects of Centre Pompidou is installed in the center of the square.

Working hours (Georges-Pompidou): 

Tuesday Closed
Wednesday 11 AM–9 PM
Thursday 11 AM–11 PM
Friday 11 AM–9 PM
Saturday 11 AM–9 PM
Sunday 11 AM–9 PM
Monday 11 AM–9 PM

Working hours (National Museum of Modern Art)

Tuesday 11 AM–9 PM
Wednesday 11 AM–9 PM
Thursday 11 AM–11 PM
Friday 11 AM–9 PM
Saturday 11 AM–9 PM
Sunday 11 AM–9 PM
Monday 11 AM–9 PM

Address: Place Georges-Pompidou, 75004 Paris, France.

Phone: +33 1 44 78 12 33
Architects: Renzo Piano, Richard Rogers, Peter Rice, Mike Davies, Su Rogers, Gianfranco Franchini
Construction started: 1971
Architectural styles: High-tech architecture, Brutalist architecture, Postmodern Architecture
Opened: 1977
Architecture firm: Piano & Rogers
Height: 42 m

See more:

20 arrondissements of Paris

Architecture of Paris

Museums of Paris

Entertainment in Paris

Bridges in Paris

Parks in Paris

Streets and squares in Paris

Shopping in Paris

Transport in Paris

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