Centre Pompidou holds the largest modern art museum in Europe — and it is perhaps my favorite museum. The last time I was here was in 2008, and I was excited to make this our first museum stop of this trip.
The building architecture is fascinating. I like that what should be the “infrastructure” — the pipes and ductwork — forms the exterior of the Pompidou; and I also like the fact the pipes are color coded. Supposedly, green is for plumbing, blue is related to temperature control, electrical is yellow, and safety elements are red.
The Pompidou houses more than just the modern art museum. There is a public library inside as well as IRCAM (Institut de Recherce et Coordination Acoustique/Musique). When we arrived, we purchased a six-day Paris museum pass that gave us entry to the exhibits in the Museé national d’art moderne and to more than 60 other museums in the city.
One of my favorite things about the Pompidou is the escalator ride to the exhibits. At the very top, you get an amazing view of the Paris skyline. The Tour Eiffel is straight ahead, the towers of Notre Dame are off to the left, and to the right is Sacre Coeur.
One of the first works we saw in the contemporary art collection was Andy Warhol’s “Ten Lizes.” It’s at the entrance to the second floor gallery, and it’s an amazing piece to be greeted with. It’s always surprising to see the work of my favorite artists up close because it’s never anything like the prints that you’re used to seeing, such as the paintings from Matisse, Picasso, and Miro, as well as the photographs of Brassai and Bresson.
We spent at least three hours in the Pompidou, and we probably could have stayed longer, but we knew we still had so much to explore. There was a special Gerhard Richter exhibit, but it was at an extra cost so we didn’t get a chance to view it. However, we did luck out because there was a temporary Richter exhibit of drawings and his paper work at the Louvre, which we did get to see.