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Beaubourg, modern art in the heart of Paris

June 13, 2012

With its provocative architecture, the Georges Pompidou Modern Art Center, or Beaubourg, as it is usually called, may surprise you as you walk by it.

It cannot let people indifferent: some love it, others still wonder how such a building could have been erected in the center of the city… It took the personal involvement of a French president of the republic, Georges Pompidou, who was a Modern Art lover. Andre Malraux, the very first Minister of Culture, who was famous for his avant-garde taste, assisted him in the decision-making process.

Beaubourg officially opened on January 31st, 1977 in the presence of Pompidou’s successor as head of state, President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing.

The Museum was built on a former parking lot under the watchful eye of opponents to the project who would gather to prevent its completion, unsuccessfully. At the time, the Marais was a district almost left abandoned… The Centre was designed by a group of international architects including Italians (Renzo Piano and Gianfranco Franchini) and Britons (Richard and Su Rogers) who had won an international competition held in 1971.

The concept of the architecture is to reveal what is usually left unseen in a building, like plumbing pipes, electrical wires… This will was emphasized by a choice of vivid colors, making the monument visible to the naked eye from very far.

The largest museum for modern art in Europe is home to impressive collections with pieces of arts from fauvist, cubist and surrealist artists, including masterpieces by Andy Warhol, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, Vassily Kandinsky or Niki de Saint Phalle to name a few… With more than 5 millions visitors every year, the Museum has made it to the Top 5 of Paris’ most popular attractions.

The collections are renewed every two years and the Museum hosts temporary exhibitions on a very regular basis. Themes are extremely diverse and cover all kind of areas from architecture, cinema and theater to sculpture and painting.

Moreover, with a library, a center for music and a trendy restaurant on its roof, le Georges, Beaubourg wants to be more than just a mere museum.

Many street artists perform on the square in front of the museum. The district is a nice purpose for a walk as it is ideally located. The City Hall, the Châtelet-Les Halles shopping Mall or the Stravinsky fountain are just a few meters away.

Centre Georges Pompidou

+33 1 44 78 12 33

Open from 11am to 9pm, close on Tuesday

Entrance ticket at 12€ (free entrance the first Sunday of every month)

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