Eons ago when I first came to Paris, the Centre Pompidou was a brand new structure that contained the newest technology and cultural exhibitions. They remodeled the entire space in 2000 and about 16,000 people visit it daily, so it’s considered successful in fulfilling its mandate of exposing people to culture in the middle of Paris. The adjacent Les Halles is being remodeled into a multi-story atrium work/shopping space called Canopée which is due to be completed in the next few years (as anyone in construction knows, every estimated completion date is a guess at best).

If you are coming to this area, you should be aware that although it has been “cleaned up” from all the drug dealing days of years past, it is still rife with street people both performing and begging for spare change. Keep your valuables at home and just be as conscious of where your wallet and camera are as you are of the antics around you, especially around Rue St. Denis.

My favorite part of this area is the space next to l’église Saint-Merri where there are several outdoor cafés and the Stavinksky Fountain with colorful whimsical pieces by Niki de Saint Phalle and her second husband Jean Tinguey.

Her pieces make me smile as much today as they did over 30 years ago when I first saw them, and I think that is the best indicator of art appreciation 🙂