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“Love at second sight.”

One of the most widely accessible pleasures of Paris is that of simply walking its streets. I very much consider it a city where people walk not merely to get around but by choice and for pleasure. Every time I step out on to its varied pavements and cobbles, I find myself discovering new buildings hidden down little side streets, whether it is simply a beautiful block of apartments or a previously unknown museum, there is certainly something wonderful about the architecture and designs that Paris has to offer. I live in the third arrondissement of Paris which makes it part of the historic district “Le Marais”, boasting a wealth of small boutiques and vintage shops. But the building I am going to describe is by no means small and is actually quite incongruous with its surroundings.

When I first saw the Centre Georges Pompidou, I didn’t quite know what to make of it as it just seems to appear out of nowhere and seems quite poorly placed as you walk out of Le Marais. But after reading into the history of the building I started to see it through rather different eyes. Opened in 1977, it houses the Public Information Library, a centre for music and acoustic research as well as one of the largest modern art museums in Europe, bringing together in one place a variety of art and literature. It is, of course, named after the President of France from 1969 to 1974, Georges Pompidou who commissioned the building. I read that National Geographic described the building as “love at second sight” which is understandable due to its ‘inside out, upside down’ kind of nature. All the functional structural elements of the building are on the outside of the building and are all colour coded; green pipes are plumping, electrical wires are yellow, blue ducts for climate control and all the safety elements and devices are red. The theme continues inside with all pipes and wires visible in the roof of the building, making it a very unique space inside. After visiting the Musée National d’Art Moderne, I really started to appreciate the building as only a building such as the Centre Georges Pompidou would be appropriate to house such incredible pieces of modern art.

There are so many beautiful buildings in Paris that it is hard to pick just one. Of course I could have chosen the Louvre or the Palace of Versailles but I think it is just as appropriate to celebrate the beauty of new buildings as well as old. Paris is a city which is constantly developing and changing with the times and I think the Centre Georges Pompidou is a perfect example of this.

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