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Paris from the top... of Centre Pompidou

The Centre George Pompidou, also known by the locals as Beaubourg, is a complex and colourful building between Le Marais area and Les Halles. Besides housing the largest modern art museum in Europe, a vast public library, a center for music and acoustic research IRCAM, this 7 level high-tech structure also offers great views over the central part of the city of Paris. 


For a 3€ fee (get your tickets in vending machines inside the building to avoid waiting in line), visitors can get access to the top of the building by the escalator running through a glass tube on the outside of the building. So get your camera ready on the ground floor, face the square down below while on the escalator and watch the city slowly unfold in front of your eyes and your camera as you rise all the way to level 6.


At the top, walk to both sides of the glass tube: on the Northern side, see the Montmartre hill and the Sacré Coeur Basilica at the top, or the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower on the West side. Facing South, see the 16th century Gothic church Saint-Merry, Stravinsky fountain full of colourful sculptures and Notre Dame Cathedral in the distance. Don't forget to look down onto the main square below you and take photograph people from a bird's eye view. Finally, the glass tube itself provides a great subject with interesting perspective. 


Photo Tip: Bring your trusty zoom lens and a polarizing filter to avoid reflections when taking photos from inside the glass tube.


Timing: Since the Centre Pompidou faces West, it is best to come in the morning to avoid crowds and to enjoy the view with the sun behind you or in the afternoon to enjoy the sunset against Parisian rooftops.


Bonus: Enjoy a cup of coffee at the restaurant’s terrace on the top floor and more views, this time unobstructed by the glass tube!

Getting there: Place Georges Pompidou, Paris, France

By metro: stations Rambuteau on line 11, Hôtel de Ville (lines 1 and 11), Châtelet–Les Halles (lines 1, 4, 7, 11 and 14). By RER: Châtelet–Les Halles (lines A, B, D).

Opening hours: 11 am - 9 pm every day except for Tuesdays and May 1st. On Thursdays: 11 am - 11 pm.

Note that a 3€ entrance fee only gives access to the top floor and its views, while tickets to exhibitions have to be bought separately.

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  • Paris from the top... of Centre Pompidou

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About the Author

Nadia Gric

Nadia Gric

Nadia is passionate about the visual aspect of life and the personalities she meets along the way. Living in the heart of Paris, Nadia never stops exploring the City of Light through her camera and readily shares her knowledge and love for photography.

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