What to see in Centre Pompidou

The Centre Pompidou in Paris is one of the city’s most iconic attractions and is renowned for its modern art and architecture. 

With its unique and innovative design, the Centre Pompidou is a must-see for anyone visiting the City of Lights. 

From the permanent collection of modern artworks to the center’s many galleries and interactive exhibits, there is plenty to explore and discover at the Centre Pompidou. 

This article guides you to the highlights and what to see at Centre Pompidou.

Centre Pompidou highlights

The Centre Pompidou has an extensive selection of modern and contemporary art that ignites the interest of any art lover. 

With six levels of extensive exhibits, the museum has a lot to see.

Here is the list of Centre Pompidou must see exhibits you shouldn’t miss out on. 

The Modern Collection

The museum’s fifth floor houses the modern art collection – a collection of more than 7,000 works of art created between the early twentieth century and the 1960s. 

This vast collection includes pieces by over 1,500 artists, with an awe-inspiring selection of works by some of the greatest names in modern art. 

Among the figures represented in the collection are 

  • Henri Matisse
  • Pablo Picasso
  • Constantin Brancusi
  • Robert Delaunay
  • Sonia Delaunay 
  • Jean Arp
  • Wassily Kandinsky

The best way to experience the living history of modern art in Centre Pompidou is by taking a semi private guided tour.

The Contemporary Collection

The contemporary collection is a unique dedication to artists born after 1920, with nearly 2,000 works by 750 artists. 

Viewers of the collection can explore a wide range of art pieces, from paintings and sculptures to drawings, new media, photographs and more. 

Among the works of art are pieces from some of the most renowned modern artists, such as Andy Warhol, Francis Bacon, Mark Rothko, Yves Klein and many others. 

The collection offers a unique opportunity to view and appreciate the works of these influential contemporary artists.

The Collection of Photographs

The National Museum of Modern Art is home to Europe’s most extensive photographic collection. 

It comprised 40,000 prints and 60,000 negatives and the array of photographs documents the entire history of photography. 

Not only does the museum feature unique pieces from renowned photographers, it also offers a variety of styles, including New Vision and Surrealism. 

With such an expansive photographic collection, art lovers can explore all the different aspects of photography in one place.

The Design Collection

This vast collection of design pieces provides a unique opportunity for exploration and reflection on the history of design. 

It brings together over 5,000 pieces from around the world, including prototypes, iconic elements from the dawn of modernity, and more forward-thinking pieces.

Together, these diverse pieces provide a constantly evolving perspective on the history of design from the early days of modernity to the present day.

The New Media Collection

The world-renowned collection of new media artworks, consisting of 160 multimedia installations, has been open to the public since 1963. 

It allows viewers to explore various new media, including videotapes, CD-Roms and soundtracks. 

Notable works featured in the collection include Doug Aitken’s ‘New Skin’, Stan Douglas’ ‘Hors-Champs’ and Mona Hatoum’s ‘Foreign Body’. 

This collection is a significant resource for those interested in the evolution of new media art.

The Cinema Collection

The cinema collection is a comprehensive archive of unique and thought-provoking films and installations created by visual artists. 

With more than 1,300 visual artworks from all over the world, the collection includes films from the early days of cinema, such as 

  • Georges Méliès
  • Trip to the Moon (1902)
  • Untitled’ by Trisha Donnelly (2015)

The cinema and visual art collection highlights the diverse and influential range of experimental and artistic films over the past century.

Spaces at the Centre Pompidou

The Centre Pompidou is a modern art mecca where visitors spend hours exploring its wide variety of spaces. 

For all visitors wondering what to see in Centre Pompidou here are some spaces in the museum you should visit. 

National Museum of Modern Art

The Musée National d’Art Moderne in Paris’ Centre Pompidou is one of the world’s top 10 visited museums. 

It lies on the 4th and 5th level of Centre Pompidou and showcases a collection of over 50,000 works of art from 6,400 artists from more than 90 countries. 

Level 5 features modern art from 1905 to 1960, including works by Matisse, Modigliani, Duchamp and Picasso. 

As visitors descend to level 4 they can witness the dedication to contemporary art from the ’60s on, including video installations by Warhol, Hamilton, Graham and Kapoor.

Public information library

The public information library is one of the world’s leading public libraries. 

It is packed with students and researchers during the day and contains 430,000 documents accessible to the public, audio-visual collections and music sections. 

The library also hosts cultural exhibitions and specialized journals, making it an ideal source of knowledge for the press, tourists, students, lecturers and researchers.

Children’s Gallery

Children’s Gallery
Image: Moma.org

The Children’s Gallery is an interactive and fun area tailored for kids up to 16 years. 

It provides two workshops-cum-exhibitions every year to give children the opportunity to explore the fields of visual art, dance, music, design and more. 

This gallery has a studio for 13 to16 year-olds that allows them to engage in hands-on activities and collaborate with the creators. 

In addition, there is ‘La Fabrique,’ a fabrication laboratory that enables children to take a digital model and turn it into a physical object.

Brancusi Workshop

A perfect replica of Constantin Brancusi’s workshop lies right next to the Center Pompidou. 

It is a must-see spot for all visitors wondering what to see at Centre Pompidou.

Brancusi a renowned artist, spent over half a century in Paris and was highly treasured by the city. 

In the 1920s, Brancusi’s studio was a display area for his artwork and now serves as an exhibition museum. 

The inner space of the museum is designed to provide a secluded and immersive experience for visitors. 

Brancusi believed the relationship between sculptures and space was significant.

The museum reflects this through its arrangement of the artworks in much the same way as the artist would have done nearly 50 years ago. 

Brancusi’s studio now consists of 137 sculptures, 87 bases, 41 drawings, two paintings and more than 1600 glass photographic plates and original prints.


At Centre Pompidou, you experience much more than just the newest movie releases. 

Visitors can explore different exhibitions, attend screenings and engage with artists to gain a deeper understanding of the works of renowned masters. 

In addition, you can enjoy a night of cinema with various options, including experimental films, new media, dance films and documentaries.

Dining and Stores

Centre Pompidou offers good dining options inside the museum to relax and soak amidst the world of art. 

Restaurant Georges, renowned for its luxurious design, specialty cocktails and gourmet meals, serves on the Centre Pompidou terrace. 

It is open from 12 pm to 2 pm, Wednesday to Monday – reservations are required. 

Guests can also visit Cafe Le Central on Level 1, open from Wednesday to Monday from 11 am to 9 pm. 

No reservations are necessary for the cafe

Furthermore, there are bookshops on various floors selling books related to 

  • Art
  • Design
  • Architecture 
  • Photography

The Centre Pompidou store on the ground floor offers designer items, souvenirs and stationery.

Centre Pompidou must-see exhibitions

The Centre Pompidou offers a wide variety of exhibitions that are must-sees for any art enthusiast. 

All visitors who like to explore the exhibitions must purchase the temporary exhibition and permanent collection access ticket. 

The Violinist at the Window by Henri Matisse, 1918

The Violinist at the Window, created in Matisse’s iconic style, is often considered a self-portrait. 

This oil painting consists of various musical symbols and portrays Matisse’s love for music and art. 

Its palette is lighter than previous works, and Matisse retained the window’s theme to continue his prior art.

Fountain by Marcel Duchamp, 1917

Many art historians and critics view Fountain as the iconic urinal and an essential milestone in 20th-century art. 

The fountain, famously photographed by Alfred Stieglitz, has become a symbol of the peculiarities of the modern art world.

Hotel by Sophie Calle, 1981-1983

Sophie Calle’s artwork, The Hotel, conveys more meaning than a thousand words. 

She explored the concept of a mysterious tenancy as a housekeeping lady, spending three weeks in a hotel room. 

This artwork portrays her observation of occupants’ sleep and private moments during that time to create a unique narrative.

Self-Portrait in Drag by Andy Warhol, 1986

Andy Warhol is seen as an initiator of modern art forms, with his ‘Self Portrait in Drag’ series being a prime example. 

By referencing the celebrity culture of the 1980s, this collection of polaroids seeks to emphasize the artificiality of identity.

Outgrown by Thomas Hirschhorn, 2005

The latest exhibit addition, Outgrown, is crafted from recycled materials and has a do-it-yourself aesthetic. 

This artwork is intended to stimulate dialogues about social and political matters.


What to see at Centre Pompidou?

Centre Pompidou has 100,000 artworks collected from 1905 to the present day. 

Spanning over 6 levels, there are various collections to see in Centre Pompidou like 
Modern collection
Contemporary collection 
Design collection 
New media 
Cinema collection 
National Museum of modern art
Public information library
Children’s Gallery
Brancusi workshop 

What are some Centre Pompidou must-see art pieces?

What is Centre Pompidou famous for?

Centre Pompidou is known for its inside-out architecture and enormous colored tubing design. 

It houses the National Museum of Modern Art and a large collection of 20th and 21st-century artworks. 

Initially famous for its controversial architecture, the museum is renowned for its uniqueness and character.

Is Picasso in the Centre Pompidou masterpieces?

Centre Pompidou has a fine collection of Picasso’s artworks. 

Some of the most notable additions are: 
Femme se reposant 
Nature morte a la tete antique
M.Georges Salles

What kind of art is there in Centre Pompidou?

Centre Pompidou has the best collection of modern and contemporary art. 

It houses the National Museum of Modern Art and over 100,000 art exhibits. 

Centre Pompidou also hosts exhibitions, workshops for children and theatre screenings.

Do I need separate tickets to visit the temporary exhibitions in Centre Pompidou?

Yes, visitors need an exhibition and permanent collection access ticket to visit the temporary exhibitions. 

Guests who want to visit only the permanent collection have to purchase the Permanent collection access ticket. 

What are some of the upcoming exhibitions in Centre Pompidou?

Here is a list of current and upcoming exhibitions in Centre Pompidou: 
Germaine Richier (March 1 to June 12, 2023) 
Sayed Haider Raza (February 15 to May 15, 2023) 
Serge Gainsbourg (January 25 to May 8, 2023) 
Norman Foster (May 10 to August 7, 2023)
Moi Ver (April 12 to August 28, 2023) 
Lynne Cohen/ Marina Gadonneix Laboratories/Observatories  (April 12 to August 28, 2023) 

Featured Image: Tiqets.com

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