There are A LOT of museums in Paris, and it is impossible to see them all on your first, second, or even third visit to the city.
In fact, I didn't make it to the Centre Pompidou until my third time to the city — and was that ever a mistake! Not only is the exterior of the building a must-see, the museum is home to over 100,000 works created in the 20th and 21st centuries, and an INCREDIBLE view.
A brief history of the museum
In 1969, the French president, Georges Pompidou, decided that there needed to be a new building to host the national modern art museum, a public reading library, and new music concerts.
The site for the new museum was chosen, and a worldwide architectural competition was announced attracting 681 competitors from 49 different countries!
Architects Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers won the competition for their “evolving spatial diagram” design allowing the whole of each 7,500 m2 floor to be used to display art and be organized however the curators see fit. According to the museum website, “[i]ts innovative, even revolutionary character has made the Centre Pompidou one of the most emblematic buildings of the 20th century.”
The museum opened on February 2, 1977, and since then has been one of the most visited monuments in France.
What you are going to see
Considered to be Europe’s leading collection of modern and contemporary art (from 1905 until the present day), there are some seriously big names housed in this museum — Henri Matisse, Pierre Bonnard, Georges Braque, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, Joseph Beuys, Andy Warhol, and Yves Klein to name just a few.
You’ll see all forms of media: paintings, drawing, photography, new media, experimental film, architecture, design, industrial work, and more! (Check out the photos below for some seriously cool pieces.)