Rabu, 25 Maret 2009

Centre Pompidou

Centre Pompidou in Paris is the perfect attraction for those interested in modern art and architecture. What most people don't realize is Centre Pompidou is not simply a modern art museum, but is devoted to all forms of modern and contemporary creations, including literature, theater, film and music.

Centre Pompidou, in fact, is the third most visited Paris attraction with about 5.5 million visitors a year.

History of Centre Pompidou

This popular Paris museum was the idea of President Georges Pompidou, who envisioned a cultural center focused entirely on all modern creations. The building was designed by architects Renzo Piano, and is probably one of the more distinct architectural designs in the world. Centre Pompidou first opened in 1977.

Visiting the Centre Pompidou

While there is certainly a lot to do in Paris, you could make a day of visiting the Centre Pompidou and neighborhood. Certainly allow a half day to truly soak it in.

Besides the changing exhibits and the museum's collections, it's also worthwhile to visit the gift shops.

There are, in fact, three bookshops in Centre Pompidou. You can access the book store on level zero, as well as the design boutique on the mezzanine, without paying for tickets to the center.

The bookshop is a wonderland for those interested on a wide variety of arts, and is worth a visit to Centre Pompidou alone. The design boutique is much smaller, but it's a wonderful place to shop for unique, funky and artsy souvenirs and gifts.

This is also a great place to eat, believe it or not. There are two quick and casual shops with food of a caliber one might expect from a museum, but a better choice is the level 6 Restaurant Georges with panoramic views of Paris.

Planning a Visit to Centre Pompidou

Making sense of which tickets to buy at Centre Pompidou can be pretty intimidating, as there are various ticket options depending on what you want to see and when you want to visit. While there are variations, for a basic ticket to the museum and exhibitions, expect to pay €12 during the busy tourist season and €10 in the off-season. Those under 18 can enter the museum and exhibits for free, and those ages 18-25 can enter on Wednesday evenings through June 2008. The first Sunday of each month, entry is also free (but expect large crowds).

You can buy tickets online that you print before visiting Centre Pompidou from home. You can also purchase a Paris Pass, which includes line skipping, free entry to Centre Pompidou and 59 other attractions (like Le Louvre), and free Metro rides.

Outside Centre Pompidou

Once you leave the center, your visit isn't truly complete. Just outside the center, you can find sculptures and street art. In particular, look for the colorful and pop-art-esque Stravinsky Fountain. You can't miss its bright lips, heart and elephant figures. This is a wonderful place to people-watch or find a cafe overlooking the fountain.

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