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Visiting Centre Pompidou in Paris: info, guide, tickets + photos from the inside

Modern art lovers should be in Paris where they can find the world-famous Centre Pompidou. Even if you're not too big of a fan of modern art, I can really recommend this museum. You can find almost 50,000 works of art from primitivism, fauvism, cubism, dadaism, surrealism, ... and so on.

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centre pompidou paris

A brief history of the Centre Pompidou in Paris

In 1969 President Georges Pompidou (hence the name) decided that the vacant site of the Plateau Beaubourg should be used for the construction of a new kind of cultural center that could be used for all kinds of purposes. For the first time in France, an architectural competition was organized in which participants from all over the world were allowed to participate. Eventually there were 681 participants from 49 different countries who tried out their luck. Eventually, it was decided that the design of the Brit Richard Rogers and the Italians Renzo Piano and Gianfranco Franchini would win the competition. With their design, they also won the Pritzker Prize, the highest honor in the world of architecture.
The Centre Pompidou wasn’t loved by everyone right away. A number of Parisians thought it looked more like an oil refinery than an imposing museum. Nowadays it has become yet another icon in the city of love. Since the solemn inauguration on January 31, 1977, it has been visited by more than 150 million people.

things to do in paris centre pompidou

The Centre Pompidou is truly one of the most beautiful sights in Paris!

The highlights of the Centre Pompidou

You can just spend your time watching the beautiful and special exterior of the museum, but that would be a shame. Especially because a ticket for the Center Pompidou only costs €14 per person! The inside of the Centre Pompidou is certainly worth a visit. It’s perhaps the best museum for modern art in Paris. To facilitate your visit, I would therefore like to give you an overview of exactly what you can see here.

First of all you should know that as in almost every museum, the collection consists of permanent and temporary exhibitions. For more information about the latter you should check the official website so that you know exactly what you can see during your visit.
The permanent exhibition consists of six parts:

The Modern Collection (from 1905 to the 1960s)

This collection consists of more than 7000 works of the visual arts (paintings, sculptures and objects) of 1535 artists born before 1920. This collection is supplemented by 800 anonymous works from the realm of primitive arts. Here you’ll find artworks of big names such as Pablo Picasso, Marcel Duchamp and Henri Matisse. Only coming here is already worth the cost of admission!

inside centre pompidou

On the inside of the Centre Pompidou you’ll find a lot of modern art. And I liked that!

The Contemporary Collection (from the 60s to 90s)

Art evolves and you notice that in the paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs and installations that you find here, because in the latter new media become more and more integrated. You’ll find the works of 750 artists such as Francis Bacon, Yves Klein and the famous Andy Warhol.

centre pompidou piet mondriaan

And Piet Mondriaan can’t be missed in the Center Pompidou, of course!

The Photography Collection

The Center Pompidou in Paris contains Europe’s largest collection of photos, with more than 40,000 prints and 60,000 negatives. It’s one of the few collections in the world that covers the entire history of modern and contemporary photography in all its diversity. You can also visit this collection for free in the Galerie de Photographies.

photography centre pompidou paris

There is no shortage of photography if you visit the Center Pompidou!

The Design Collection

Design is particularly interesting because it is a combination of visual art and architecture. In the collection in the Pompidou you can admire more than 5000 pieces from almost 400 designers, of which a quarter is French. There are also a lot of interesting prototypes that never made it into the living rooms, which makes these creations even more fun. Sometimes it seems like you ended up in an episode of The Jetsons.

centre pompidou paris design

One of my favorite spots in the Centre Pompidou. I don’t know why, but I really liked this installation.

The New Media Collection

If you know that the Pompidou contains 160 multimedia installations and nearly 2000 so-called multiples (video cassettes, soundtracks, CD-ROMs and websites), it’s not surprising that here too the museum is a forerunner. This part of the museum is Pompidou’s at its strangest, but also at its most interesting. My personal favorite is to listen to the (wannabe) art hipsters and hear in what genius way they interpret an abstract work of art.

museum modern art paris centre pompidou

Who says that modern art must be uncomfortable hasn’t yet seen these seats!

The Cinema collection

Finally, you also have this collection where you can find a lot of experimental films and installations of visual artists. I would advice to definitely not miss the iconic Voyage dans la lune by Georges Méliès. For six euros you have access to only this section.

modern art paris centre pompidou

Strange and experimental films at the Centre Pompidou.

Opening hours Center Pompidou Paris

If you want to visit this beacon of modern art in Paris, you can do so every day (except Tuesdays) from 11 am to 9 am. The museum is closed on Tuesdays and the first of May. You can enter up until one hour before closing time.

Tickets at Center Pompidou Paris

A ticket costs fourteen euros, which gives you access to the museum and all of its exhibitions.
If you’re planning to visit several museums in Paris, you should consider buying a Paris Museum Pass which gives you access to 60 museums and monuments in Paris, including the Centre Pompidou.
On every first Sunday of the month everyone can enter this museum for free! This in fact applies to several museums or other things to do in Paris, so plan accordingly. However, on these free days there are usually a lot of other tourists.

centre pompidou tickets

Yes! With this ticket for the Centre Pompidou you can enter right away!

Tips for visiting the Centre Pompidou in Paris

    • If you prefer to walk around in peace, it’s best to arrive after 6 pm. It goes without saying that there are more visitors on rainy days.
    • You can also enjoy a beautiful panoramic view of the city on the Seine. If the museum doesn’t look that interesting to you, you can just pay five euros for a View of Paris ticket.
    • You need at least two to three hours to visit this hub of modern art in Paris.
    • Selfiesticks and taking pictures with flash are forbidden.
visit centre pompidou

The interior but also the exterior is fantastic!

Four fun facts about the Center Pompidou

  1. This quirky museum is located exactly the same distance from both the Notre Dame as the Louvre.
  2. The reason why the building looks so unique on the outside is because all pipes (plumbing, electricity, air circulation and even elevators) are on the outside. This is unique for Paris. There is a color code for each pipe. Electricity is for example coloured yellow and blue represents the air circulation.
  3. Although the collection of the Center Pompidou contains more than 50,000 works of art, only about 600 are exhibited at a time. The collection is therefore always rotated, although the masterpieces naturally remain hanging.
  4. There is also a Centre Pompidou in the Spanish city of Malaga!

The City of Light has a lot to offer if it comes to many museums, but in terms of modern art Paris the Centre Pompidou is definitely one of the highlights.

centre pompidou paris things to do

The colorful art installations are really worth some of your time!

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