15 Photos That Will Make You Want To Visit The Centre Pompidou in Paris

by Lindsay Shapka in , , , ,


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.)

Getting there and getting in

Location: The museum is located in the 4th arrondissement of Paris, in the Beaubourg area. It is within walking distance to the river, Les Halles, rue Montorgueil, and the Marais. 
You can get there easily by metro, RER, bus, car, bicycle, foot, and however else you like to move!

Opening Hours: The museum is open every day (except Tuesdays when it is closed all day) from 11 am to 10 pm, but the exhibitions close at 9 pm.

Admission: A single ticket for admission to all galleries and the "View of Paris" is €14; a ticket just to see the "View of Paris" (no access to the galleries) is €5.
Admission is FREE to all areas of the museum on the first Sunday of every month. 

It's impossible to miss the building that houses the Centre Pompidou. Covered in colorful pipes on one side (in blue, red, green, and yellow), and the zig-zag of elevators on the other there is no mistaking it. 

This is the view (above) of the building from Rue Beaubourg, where you can enter the public reading library. The public entrance to the museum is located on the other side of the building. 

You don't have to actually buy a ticket to enter the main floor of the building, which gives you access to the cafe, fantastic museum shops, public washrooms (for those of you who just need a bathroom break), and some fun art installations, like the sculpture pictured above. 

There is always at least one visiting exhibition at the gallery, like the works of André Derain, who was a French artist, painter, sculptor and co-founder of the Fauvism movement with Henri Matisse. 

The work pictured above by Derain seemed to glow from inside the canvas (and no, it wasn't just because of the light shining on it). 

Called the Tete blanche et rose, this work by Henri Matisse looks deceptively like a Picasso. 

And then there is the Femmes deviant la mer, a gorgeous piece by Picasso.

The Centre Pompidou actually has an incredible collection of works by Picasso, even more impressive than the Picasso Museum located only a few blocks away! 

This piece by Frantisek Kupka, Plans par couleurs, was located in one of my favourite sub-rooms in the gallery that was filled with portraits of women from the most abstract to the most detailed. 

I am so in love with any black and white piece that looks like the artist moved his hand back and forth in one big flourish and then called it a day.

I'm not kidding.

This is seriously one of my favorites. 

There is just something about this work.

It is like a mix between Girl With A Pearl Earring and Grand Odalisque, which is probably why artist Martial Raysse called it Made In Japan - la grande odalisque.  

No contemporary art collection would be complete without a work by Andy Warhol. This black and white version of Elizabeth Taylor is so long that it covered an entire wall! 

The floor filled with sculptural art installations like the one above is an Instagram dream! 

See-through cubes against a black and white wall — yup.

I love modern art. 

So, from this side, this sculpture looks like an emotional, heartfelt embrace. On the other side, however, the woman is making out with another man. 

Yup. 

Modern art. 

I had to stop myself from taking too many photos on this floor, as ever piece had a huge impact, including this work of colorful subway-tile-style squares. 

The one thing that I did not expect to see at this world-renowned museum was the incredible view!

As a visitor, you travel from floor-to-floor through a series of exterior escalators and corridors that are surrounded by clear plastic tubes — kind of like hamster tubes but human-sized. 

The higher you go, the more incredible the view — the Notre Dame towers, the Eiffel Tower, and the Sacre Coeur all come into your line of sight, not to mention the beautiful Parisian buildings that surround the museum. 

If you are hoping to get some really amazing photos, wait until you get to the very top and you can check out the view unobstructed by the plastic tube.

No photo that I took does it justice, but the one above comes close! 

NOTE: I learned after the fact that you can buy a ticket just to access the view for 5 Euros if you like! 

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photos that will make you want to visit the Centre Pompidou museum in Paris
photos that will make you want to visit the Centre Pompidou museum in Paris



7 Must-Visit Art Galleries Around The World

by Lindsay Shapka in , ,


I was recently disappointed on a visit to an art gallery while travelling in Vancouver, BC. The admission was way more than the poorly lit, unimpressive exhibits and sparse displays were worth in my opinion. The gift shop was more interesting! 

When visiting big cities, it is easy to fall into the assumption that their art galleries are going to be impressive and well-worth spending an afternoon in, but as I have often discovered, this is not always the case.

But how do you know if a gallery is going to be good or not? This post is a good place to start!  

Here is my list of galleries that are well-worth your time, and money:

1. Art Gallery of Alberta (AGA)

The structure that houses the AGA — designed by the late architect Randall Stout — is as much a work of art as the art that it houses! It is a beautiful swirl of glass, steel and zinc that is inspired by both the Northern Lights and the curve of the North Saskatchewan River that runs through the heart of the city that it is located in (Edmonton, Canada).

The exhibits are always revolving and showcase art created in Alberta, Canada, and around the world, including visiting exhibits of works from top museums and galleries in Europe! It also contains an award-winning restaurant, and a cafe with an incredible view. 

2. The Tate Modern

This blocky, industrial looking building is located on the south side of the River Thames in London, England. It houses an incredible collection of works in it's permanent galleries that are FREE to visit, and don't disappoint!

There are always a few galleries that contain paid exhibits, and these are full of works by working artists, or travelling collections of famous ones. It has a lovely cafe overlooking the river, and a rooftop restaurant. 

3. The Hamburger Banhof

After a reconstruction by architect Josef Paul Kleihues, the Hamburger Bahnhof reopened in 1996 as the Hamburger Bahnhof: Museum für Gegenwart (Museum for Contemporary Art) — one of the first state museums in Berlin devoted to "living art." 

This beautiful gallery — my absolute favourite in Berlin, Germany — is now all skylights, white walls and polished wooden floors and is the home of an outstanding collection that focuses on art created since 1960. 

The central collection is from Berlin entrepreneur Dr Erich Marx, that includes work by Beuys, Rauschenberg, Lichtenstein and Warhol (whose iconic Mao has a permanent home here).

4. The Louvre

Located in the heart of Paris, France, the Louvre will not disappoint. BUT, you must step off the beaten path a little bit, and actually absorb what you are seeing rather than try to just cross the "must-see" items off your list.

First of all, take a moment to really absorb where you are! The gallery is housed in the former royal palace and the ceilings, views, and architecture are breathtaking! There are priceless treasures in the galleries (yes, more than just the Mona), so many that you could spend days and still not see them all!

There are restaurants and cafes located on site, but they are a bit pricy. (Check out my post: Tips For Visiting The Louvre).

5. The Musee d'Orsay

I could have stayed at the Musee d'Orsay in Paris, France for days. The Impressionist works in the collection are stunning, priceless and have a home in this former train station that is now full of natural light, high ceilings, and whitewashed walls.

Like most of my favourite galleries, the building is as interesting as the art, which says a lot because the art is stunning. You will find a vast collection of works by Monet, Pissarro, Degas, and other masters. 

6. Uffizi Gallery

Located near the river in the centre of Florence, Italy, this stunning gallery showcases the best of the Renaissance with sculpture, large-scale artworks, and fascinating sketches housed in a beautiful colonnaded building.

This is the home of Botticelli's famous, breathtaking pieces "The Birth of Venus" and "Primavera" (pictured). There are incredibly long lines to get into this gallery in the summer months, but it is well worth it. 

7. Picasso Museum

This museum/gallery was a total surprise to me, as I had no idea that Picasso had done anything more than the abstract works that we know him best for.

This museum showcases his early, figurative works that are full of colour and incredibly interesting. The building is historic with gorgeous courtyards and sets the tone for the fantastic art that is displayed within. You will find it in Barcelona, Spain. 

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