Place Georges Pompidou, 75004. Métro: Rambuteau (line 11). Entrance: €12 for adults, concessions available.
Epitomising contemporary thrust and visual innovation both inside and out, the Centre Pompidou is a modern art gallery that showcases groundbreaking exhibitions alongside modern masters including Duchamps, Picasso, Kandinsky, Braques, Warhol and Bacon, amongst others. The sprawling exterior of coloured pipes and glass has been something of a contentious point amid Parisians, with some critics regarding it as a pretentious eyesore and others as an exhilarating work of genius, and this dichotomy could certainly be applied to the changing exhibitions within. Art buffs will definitely want to make a beeline for the Centre Pompidou upon their arrival in Paris, as its daring shows are not only fascinating of their own accord but also make a refreshing change to the unending corridors of traditional art in the Louvre.
The gallery is spread across several floors, with the ground level being taken up by ticket offices, gift shops and cafés and the upper levels dedicated to the artworks. Exhibitions change seasonally but there is always a diverse mix of painting, sculpture, film and installations that challenge and delight in equal measure. To traverse all the levels in depth would probably take the best part of a day but simply by walking around the stark white spaces and taking in the work on offer you can absorb a veritable who’s-who of contemporary art. There is also a reference library within the exhibition levels and a fantastic restaurant on the top floor, where you can enjoy delicious modern fare with an awesome view over the Paris skyline. Each level also has an outdoor area where you can go to watch the sun set, with views of Montmartre and the Eiffel Tower depending on where you stand. Whether you go to study the works on display or simply to explore an intellectually stimulating set of ideas, the Centre Pompidou is a stylish and enjoyable destination that encapsulates the Parisian artistic spirit.