The Pompidou Center, better known as Beaubourg, is still one of Paris most touristic places and one of the world's most visited museums.
It was built between 1977 and 1981 by Piano and Rogers. Its architecture is the symbol of rationalism: the structure is completely visible and the decoration is directly made on this structure. For instance, one can see every pipe and know what it contains from its color. The iron structure is outside so as the escalators. This gives a large 5 stories place with no walls inside. This is very convenient to organize the museum around the pieces or for the temporary exhibitions. This is the French National Modern Art Museum. Il contains collections of the XXth century, with master pieces from Picasso, Braque, Matisse, Dalì, Chagall, Miro...
After the modernizaton for the new millenium, realized by architects Renzo Piano, Jean François Bodin, Dominique Jakob and Brendan Mc Farlane, the MNAM (Musée National d'Art Moderne) in Paris has become even larger than New York Modern Art Museum (MoMA), its eternal rival.
But The George Pompidou Center isn't just an art gallery: it also holds a library, a graphic laboratory, a video library, an architectural and design collections, a industrial creation center, an institute specialized in experimenting sounds and music and the reconstruction of the great sculptor Constantin Brancusi's atelier.
The most amazing side of the Pompidou Center, its true secret, is its huge room where everybody can wander about without getting bored, as if it were a colourful amusement park.
What is most important, it gives the opportunity to enjoy modern art to visitors who may not know anything about it, allowing them to have fun and feel full of wonder like a child on a merry-go-round.
The record crowds at the Public Information Library (BPI), with 14,000 people a day, sometimes annoy other visitors. While easily explained (encyclopaedic collections, free access without membership cards or registration, 1,800 reading desks), the shortcomings and inadequacy of university libraries in Paris are also partly to blame. With its 450,000 books, 2,600 magazines and journals, and 2,400 videos (not to mention the use of new technologies), the BPI maintains its remarkable standard through a constant process of "weeding out" to remove as many volumes as are added to keep up with new publications.