Centre Pompidou Tour: A Guided Crash Course with Skip-the-Line Tickets

Visit the impressive modern art collection of the Pompidou Center with an art expert
From US$457 privately
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Tour Details
2 hours
Product Type
Centre Pompidou
Photos & Highlights
  • Highlights the permanent collection of modern works by Picasso, Braque, Matisse, and more
  • Led by an art historian or artist
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Tour Description
Home to Europe's largest collection of 20th-century art, Centre Pompidou is one of the most-visited museums in the world. On our 2-hour Pompidou Center tour, our docent will peel back the layers of this contemporary pilgrimage site. Illuminating the message behind its unique architectural design, the Parisian avant-garde, and the countless 20th-century masterpieces that make up the museum's permanent collection, we will clarify the dialogue between the art and the cultural events that contributed to its evolution. Perfect for both the art history aficionado and the novice alike, our walk will bring the Centre Pompidou and its stunning highlights to life.

An Innovative Design

We will start at the Place Georges Pompidou, with a brief discussion of the notorious building. Architects Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers turned the typical design of a museum structure on its head. The museum's guts—the elevators, water ducts, air pipes—are made visible, as if the structure had been turned inside-out. These functional aspects can be seen clearly from the exterior of the building and identified by their bold, color-coded paint: blue for air, green for water, red for elevators, yellow for electricity, gray for corridors, and white for the building itself. This immense complex houses not only Paris' impressive collection of 20th-century art, but also a free public library, bookstore, cinema, and a modern, gourmet restaurant with a panoramic view from the building's 6th floor.

Introducing the Avant-Garde

Entering the museum, we will ride one of the exterior escalators to the permanent collection, housed in the building's top two floors. Here, we will begin by exploring the cubist canvases of Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. Their distinct style ignited curiosity, and subsequently launched the wave of avant-garde movements of the 20th century. We will also consider the oeuvres by Fernand Léger, Henri Matisse, and Piet Mondrian, all of whom reacted to and developed from the Cubist movement. 

Dada & the Surreal

Moving on from Cubism, we will look at Francis Picabia. As the primary example of the Parisian strain of the international Dada movement, we'll see how this work transitioned into Surrealism, which is amply represented throughout Centre Pompidou's collection. Finally, we will return to Picasso, who was a fellow follower of the Surrealists in the 1930s, to see how his point of view evolved over time.

"Our docent expertly wove together the historical influences of the various movements in a memorable manner. She didn’t just explain the art, but made it come to life!"

Take Aways

We will conclude with a brief examination of some postwar trends and a look at some of the more recent works. Offering us the opportunity to question the avant-garde's contemporary legacy, these contemporary pieces will highlight the importance of Modernism—examined from a different perspective on our Modernist Paris Architecture Tour—in context. Together, we'll come away with an understanding of the evolution of 20th-century art and some of the factors contributing to these movements' intrinsic artistic value.

This walk is a great compliment for those who have already taken our Louvre Tour and Musée d'Orsay Tour, which cover art up to the early 20th-century.


Is it possible to view the temporary expositions as well? 
Our walk focuses on the museum's permanent collection, but we encourage you to continue your exploration of all of the Centre Pompidou's cultural offerings independently.

Is the Centre Pompidou wheelchair accessible?
The museum is wheelchair accessible and we can request a temporary wheelchair loan from the information desk.

There are 6 in my family but your website won't allow me to include more than 5 participants. Can't you make an exception?
Unfortunately not. The group size restriction is imposed by the museum. If you are interested, we can run several groups simultaneously.

What are skip-the-line tickets?
For this tour, your tickets are pre-purchased which allows you to directly enter the security line at Pompidou without waiting to purchase tickets, rather than taking a detour to the onsite ticketing office. You will still have to wait in a security line, which can often move slowly when major exhibits are present at the museum. 

Where You'll Start
(4.72) 29 Reviews

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Marie Theres was delightful.
Fabulous tour with Stephanie of Le Centre Pompidou. Worth every penny to have a private tour with skip the line tickets. Stephanie was fantastic in her knowledge and passion for modern art.
Emmanuelle is a gifted guide with an extensive knowledge of modern art. We loved her tour. She was personable, answered our questions thoroughly and shared interesting anecdotes and stories about modern art. Would love her to be our guide in the future. 5 stars+.