Absurdity, Surrealism & Pop: Wander For A Day Through Pompidou, Paris

Absurdity, Surrealism & Pop: Wander For A Day Through Pompidou, Paris
Contributing Writer
| 3 min read

Your first interaction with Centre Pompidou might be just out of sheer curiosity. A hunk of metal, constructed like a frame, or exoskeleton juts out in stark fashion from the surrounding buildings. Located in Beaubourg, in the fourth arrondissement of Paris, this Pritzker prize winning structure houses the art of the moment and the art of modernity.

The Obamas visited, the museum’s website proudly boasts. But this is not all it boasts. Centre Pompidou also has an extensive collection of modern masterpieces; it houses rotating exhibits, has a beautiful bookstore, the city’s largest library resource, and a refreshing vista of the city that can fill a day with exploring—especially for those who are enamored with the arts.

Centre Pompidou

absurdity, surrealism & pop: wander for a day through pompidou, paris | centre pompidou

In 1969, with Georges Pompidou’s direction, the Centre was built. Its purpose being, an epicenter of all modern visual arts. As an enthusiast, he wanted to give them a home: a home to accompany the operas, theaters, and cinemas across the city. Thus, the center was built and millions of travelers, and countrymen have visited since, making it one of the irreplaceable stops in Paris.

The Galleries

absurdity, surrealism & pop: wander for a day through pompidou, paris | the galleries

Illuminated signs dangling above the ticket counter display the current exhibits. Admission is 14 EUR, or around 16 USD, but one ticket admits you into every single gallery, so plan your day accordingly. (Opening hours are from 11am - 9pm everyday.)

There are options; the ESPACE 315 houses the winner of the prix Duchamp, an award for an outstanding contemporary French artist, and at the top floor, the legendary Modern Art Gallery resides.

The paradigm shift of modern art

absurdity, surrealism & pop: wander for a day through pompidou, paris | the paradigm shift of modern art

Paul Cezanne slips into Matisse, and Matisse to Picasso, and as you slide all the way down the hallway of history, you’ll reach Warhol, his contemporaries, and the era of pop art. The collection that this museum holds, feels truly complete, and is contextualized with summations delineating one art movement from the next, and the next within the same decade.

If you love art, history and culture, this is a must see. The collection is one of the greatest in the world.

Art for art's sake

absurdity, surrealism & pop: wander for a day through pompidou, paris | art for art's sake

An electric sign buzzes in the corner of the room. The cement floor has been replaced with grass, and the further you walk away from the sign, the more the calls of exotic birds drown the feedback, but when you step closer—the buzz engulfs everything. It is an eery space. A space using corrupted sound and contrasts to convey a meaning. And not only that but it is one of thirty different atmospheres, projecting the artist’s influences and angst, mapped out as the current gallery in Pompidou.

Every half a year or so, a new artist’s work comes to fruition, always with a different interpretation of what art is. These galleries are fascinating and you can often lose track of time.

Paris Tour Guide

Patricia Aveline

Patricia Aveline

My name is Patricia Bollinger and my family is French. I have always had a passion for art and history and I chose to study them when I went to university. I have been a licensed tour guide for the last 30 years and I work in French, English and Italian. My passion and also as part of my work I travel a lot. For this reason, I have a good idea of visitors expectations. Naturally I want to share... Read more

Tours by Patricia

Rise above the historic housing

rise above the historic housing

As you make your way up the escalators, you may notice that the horizon becomes more clear. And in fact, at the top you have a stellar view of Paris! From the balcony you can see the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, La Defense, and many other iconic landmarks of Paris. If you only want to see the view, the price is 3 EUR or 4 USD.

A coffee, a croissant, and a conversation

a coffee, a croissant, and a conversation

After one or two exhibits, you may feel stuffed to capacity with new information, but don’t fret, they have a bistro and cafe! Relax and chat about the exhibits, or browse mindless YouTube videos on the free Wi-Fi to recharge your own battery. Coffee and sandwiches are museum prices, but are worth it to take a break and divert your focus.

Also another option is the elegant Georges Restaurant on the top floor, dine here for an unforgettable view of the city.

Centre Pompidou really is the center of it all

Pompidou is near the middle of Paris, so it’s very accessible from the Subway. The nearest stops are Hotel De Ville, and Rambuteau, and they are on line 11, but you can walk easily from Chatelet stop, which hosts nearly half of the Subway lines (1,4,7,11,14).

Tour guides, audio guides and a vast amount of resources are at your disposal for your visit (attached below). Reserve a day for this magnificent building, and see what the hoopla is about.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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Currently I’m sitting at my cozy breakfast nook in Seattle, Washington. Before me is a self-prepared Americano and a heap of Cinnamon Raisin Pain Perdu, Lost Bread, or as it’s colloquially known...Read more

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