Photo Essay: The Centre Pompidou

It was during my last years in high school during my art class when I realized that I’m biased when it comes to architecture. I quickly fell in love with medieval cathedrals and I admired ancient Greek and Roman architecture. I learned to read Renaissance footprints and I was charmed by ornament-rich 19th century historicism. But at in the beginning of the 20th century architecture somehow lost me…

View from Centre Pompidou, Paris, France

When I saw a photo of Paris’ huge museum for modern art for the first time, my reaction simply was “ugh, that’s ugly”. And it’s true, the Centre Pompidou cannot be considered to be beautiful in any sense. This building does its stylistic definition “brutalism” justice, because it truly is kind of brutal to look at — especially if you expect a museum to be in a more classically pretty building. Hence, neither the Centre Pompidou nor its modern exhibitions were on my previous Paris itineraries. I saw no point to prioritizing this museum. Until three weeks ago. 

View from Centre Pompidou, Paris, France

I decided that on this visit to Paris I finally had to visit the Centre Pompidou for two reasons: First, I just wanted to finally see this famous museum which had been haunting my French books for so long. Plus — admitted, that was my major reason to go — the views from the museum were supposed to be amazing.

Centre Pompidou, Paris, France

I kept my expectations low since I’m usually not the biggest fan of modern art. The art at Centre Pompidou begins with Henri Matisse and goes on until the 21st century. From Ives Klein to Pablo Picasso, all the famous names in modern art are present there. Obviously, modern and temporary art is sometimes slightly confusing — if not disturbing. But although I certainly didn’t understand everything, I realized what I really like about seeing modern art: Photographing it!

Warhol at Centre Pompidou, Paris, France Unmistakably, Warhol. 

Centre Pompidou, Paris, France A further developed fluffy version of a Mondrian 

Centre Pompidou, Paris, France

Delaunay at Centre Pompidou, Paris, France Tilting Delaunay’s famous Eiffel Tower 

Kandinsky at Centre Pompidou, Paris, France Kandinsky up close.

Centre Pompidou, Paris, France Finding catastrophe (oh and a reflection of me!)

But still, what I was looking forward to the most were the views from the top of the building — and I was not disappointed! Since the museum is located in the Marais, it is surrounded by every recognizable building defining the Paris skyline: The iconic Parisian rooftops with their many little chimneys as well as Notre-Dame and Sacré-Cœur and the Eiffel Tower in the distance.

Eiffel Tower seen from Centre Pompidou, Paris, France A sea of Parisian rooftops and a certain famous tower

View from Centre Pompidou, Paris, France A glimpse of Montmartre and Sacré-Cœur in the distance

View from Centre Pompidou, Paris, France

From the many places to see Paris from above the Centre Pompidou has quickly become my new favorite — what could be better than seeing this amazing city from above surrounded by art?!

Is the Centre Pompidou one of the highlights you wouldn’t want to miss in Paris?


Practical information: The Centre Pompidou is open every day from 11 to 21 pm and costs 13 Euros admission. However, if you are a European resident under 26, you can get in for free.

  • Ashley of Ashley Abroad

    I love Pompidou. It’s definitely my favorite museum in Paris! Great photos from the top by the way 🙂

    • JulikaSarah

      Thanks Ashley! It’s a great museum!

  • Melanie Fontaine

    Ich habe genauso reagiert als ich das Centre Pompidou zum ersten Mal gesehen habe! 🙂 Von außen finde ich es bis heute nicht besonders hübsch, aber es ist trotzdem wahrscheinlich mein Lieblingsmuseum – ich bin aber auch ein großer Fan von moderner und zeitgenössischer Kunst (nicht, dass ich besonders viel Ahnung davon hätte…), deswegen ist das Pompidou für mich auf jeder Parisreise ein Muss! 🙂

    • JulikaSarah

      Für einen Liebhaber von moderner Kunst ist Pompidou definitiv ein Traum — aber selbst ich als Mittelalter-Fan bin absolut auf meine Kosten gekommen! Tolles Museum, vor allem die Ausblicke!

  • I visited the Centre Pompidou years ago, as a teenager. I remember a canvas which was painted with a single color, blue I guess. I also remember a moving sculture moved by a motor that visitors could start. Modern art is not my favorite, but it was an experience.

    • JulikaSarah

      Your last sentence sums up my experience perfectly — I’m very glad I went to see Pompidou though!

  • Mariella

    I wish I was still under 26… I actually love modern art. In fact I’m not a big fan of paintings that are older than 150 years. Poland has WONDERFUL art to offer in the early 20th century. I wish I could go with you to some of the galleries they have there, in Krakow or Poznan. We would have a total geek-out!

    • JulikaSarah

      That sounds amazing! To be honest, I like “my art” to be at least 600 years old, but modern art is definitely fun every once in a while — especially when displayed in a museum like Pompidou!