Centre Georges Pompidou Under Dusky Paris Skies
Located smack in the center of Paris, the Centre Georges Pompidou is the heart of Paris cultural life. The center is located in a neighborhood known to Parisians as "Beaubourg". With its many charming streets, quirky shops and restaurants, ample cafe terraces, and original fountains, Beaubourg represents contemporary Paris at its best.
The Centre Georges Pompidou is at the very heart of Paris, in the neighborhood known to locals as Beaubourg, and hosts some of the city's most exciting exhibitions and cultural events. Parisians come here to learn, unwind, eat, and peruse the center's temporary and permanent exhibits. Initially snubbed for its offbeat design, the Pompidou has been embraced as a symbol of modern Paris by locals, who throng on the large plaza outside the endearingly odd structure, and use up all the available space inside, too-- bookstore, cinemas, library, design shop, and more.
Read More: Complete Guide to the Centre Pompidou
An Inside View of the Centre Pompidou
Inside the Centre Pompidou, light and spaciousness abound. No wonder Parisians love coming here for an afternoon of relaxed ambling and learning. One feels instantly at home, despite the decidedly quirky setting.
BHV Department Store
BHV (Bazaar de l'Hotel de Ville) is one of Paris' historic department stores. Continuing to attract customers in droves, especially on weekends, BHV is especially coveted for its comprehensive home furnishings and improvement departments. Men's and women's fashion, jewelry, books and gifts, and several other departments can also be browsed for hours on end at BHV, which is in central Paris.
Read More: Guide to BHV Department Store in Paris
Playing Chic at Cafe Beaubourg
Cafe Beaubourg is one of the jetset's favorite places to see and be seen near the Centre Pompidou. More "BCBG" (bon chic bon genre) than truly hip, Cafe Beaubourg is definitely a prime location if you wish to enjoy the lively stream of people and happenings around Beaubourg. It's also on the expensive side.
Cafe Mezzanine at the Centre Pompidou
The mezzanine cafe at the Centre Georges Pompidou is a great place to enjoy an espresso or a light meal between exhibits. This is also a preferred spot among students and writers, who can occupy the round tables and plush marroon seats for hours on end without being ushered out of the cafe.
The Centre Pompidou's Sloping Plaza
When the weather allows, locals and visitors sprawl out on the Centre Georges Pompidou's plaza to sun or relax. Street performers and caricature artists also set up shop here.
A shot showing the Centre George Pompidou's characteristic use of tubing in its quirky design. Inside, an escalator shuttles visitors to the center's higher levels. At the top, breathtaking panoramic views of Paris and dining at the ultrahip Georges Restaurant await.
Sunny Cafe Terrace Near the Centre Pompidou
Beaubourg has charming cafe terraces everywhere you look. That doesn't mean you'll get a seat, though-- especially in the spring and summer, when terraces are swarmed with tourists.
A Seat With a View
A view of the "Beaubourg Plaza" from inside the Centre Pompidou. Cozy seating is available just outside the entrance to temporary exhibits on the center's 2nd floor.
Clowning Around Outside the Centre Pompidou
A clown performs outside of the Centre Georges Pompidou, regaling a group of young onlookers.
Perusing an Art Prints Shop Across From the Centre Pompidou
If you're looking for a replication of your favorite paintings, try perusing some of the art prints shops around the Centre Pompidou.
Le Defenseur du Temps Clock
Le Defenseur du Temps is an elaborate clock found in the passageway known as the Quartier de l'Horloge in Paris, nearby the Centre Georges Pompidou. The clock shows a soldier battling a dragon and other mythical animals. To see the legacy of late-1970's Paris architecture, take a stroll through the uninspired, concrete-heavy Quartier de l'Horloge-- if only to see the odd clock.
Quirky Rue Quincampoix
Rue Quincampoix is a charming, narrow street a block west of the Centre Pompidou. One of the city's hipper and quirkier streets, Rue Quincampoix houses lots of innovative restaurants, cozy cafes, and up-and-coming art galleries. Make sure to check out this street if you want to get a glimpse of Paris' contemporary art scene, or have a meal or drink in an original and whimsical setting.
Stravinsky Fountain 1
In 1982, Niki de Saint Phalle and Tinguely created the Stravinsky fountain in Paris, located next to the Centre Georges Pompidou's IRCAM Music Center. 16 mechanical sculptures inspired after Igor Stravinsky's music gyrate and blow water in a distinctly modern piece.
Stravinsky Fountain 2
Another view of the Stravinksy Fountain, which features kinetic sculptures and is located on the Place Igor Stravinsky.
Stravinsky Fountain 3
The Stravinsky Fountain has the striking Eglise Saint-Merri, a Renaissance-era church built in the gothic style, as a surprisingly complementary background. Much of Beaubourg's charm rests on the juxtaposition of dashing, contemporary design with centuries-old buildings.