A short walk west of the Marais brings you to the Centre Beaubourg, where the forceful impact of ultramodern architecture vies with the romance of the Middle Ages. Here, the Centre Pompidou stands next-door to the graceful Saint-Merri Church in the Flamboyant Gothic Style. Although the design of the Centre Pompidou is still quite controversial even today, no one would deny the success of the Centre in terms of tourists attraction. It is one of the most visited site in France.
The vast parvis with its musicians, acrobats and strolling vendors brings to life the jugglers and street performers of the Middle Ages, while the Centre Pompidou itself is devoted to ultramodern cultural activities. The building houses the National Museum of Modern Art, the IRCAM, Institute of Acoustic Coordination and Research, a large Public Library and the CCI, Industrial Creation Center. Concerts, ballets, cinemas, seminars and modern art exhibitions are also held in the Centre Pompidou. The transparent-dome escalators suspended dizzily on the outside of the building offer incomparable views over the panorama of Paris. The architects of the Centre Pompidou are Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers assisted by Gianfranco Franchini. The construction lasted from 1971 to 1977. There are seven levels with 7,500 square meters each.
Beyond Beaubourg and the Boulevard Sébastopol on the west, you will reach another formidable monument of the 21th century Paris: the Forum des Halles. Grouped on several storeys around a central courtyard, the concentration of cinemas and restaurants, coupled with the junction of major Métro and RER subway lines, forms a key crossroad of communication and commerce in the modern Paris. The gardens are interesting and offer aspectacular views on the Bourse du Commerce, a typical round building of the 17th century and the Saint-Eustache Church with its elegant Classical façade.
The Centre Georges Pompidou as seen from the Tour Montparnasse, Paris.
The Centre Georges Pompidou from the top of the famous department store La Samaritaine, Paris.
Transparent-dome escalators at the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris.
View from the top of the Centre Georges Pompidou to the South and Saint-Merri Church, Paris.
Street artist in front of Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris.
Details of the structure of the Centre Georges Pompidou, in Paris.
The Saint-Merri Church (erected between 1515 and 1612), as seen from the Centre George Pompidou, with contrasting modern sculptures.
The Forum des Halles, in Paris.
Place Carrée, inside the Forum des Halles, Paris.
The Gardens of the Halles and the Bourse du Commerce in the background, Paris.
The Gardens of the Halles and the Saint-Eustache Church (13th to 18th centuries), Paris.