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The Pompidou Center, AKA Beaubourg, is still one of Paris most touristic places and one of the world most visited museums.
It was built between 1977 and 1981 by Piano and Rogers. Its architecture is the aim of rationalism: the structure is entirely 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. Collections of the XXth century, with master pieces from Picasso, Braque, Matisse, Dalì, Chagall, Miro...
After the recent modernizaton for the new millenium, the Musee National d'Art Moderne de Paris has become even larger than New York Modern Art Museum, its eternal rival.
But 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 record crowds at the Public Information Library (BPI), with 14,500 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 450000 books, 2600 magazines and journals, and 2400 videos, 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.
From Etoile Trocadero take RER A at Charles de Gaulle to les Halles in 30 minutes.