Today Richard and I walked over to the Pompidou Center, which is located a few blocks in from the right bank of the Seine.
The Pompidou Center is famous as the “inside-out” building, where all of the piping and wiring for the building is on the outside and is color-coded, with separate, bright colors for the pipes that deliver water, electricity, and so forth. The effect is quite striking, and makes the exterior of the Pompidou Center one of the most interesting buildings in Paris. The Pompidou Center also is home to an extensive collection of modern art, as well as a library, cinemas, and other areas dedicated to the visual arts.
Whether you appreciate the modern art or not — and I’m going to have to go with Russell one of these days, so that he can explain the ideas behind some of the pieces — you have to love the view from the top of the escalator on the outside of the building. It may be the best panoramic vantage point in Paris.
The escalator, like the piping and wiring, also is inside out. It runs up one side of the building overlooking a square. And when you reach the top, you get a commanding view of three of Paris’ most famous landmarks: Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower, and the Sacre Coeur. The view alone is worth the price of admission.
The view also makes you realize that the older part of Paris really is like Washington, D.C. — lots of buildings of pretty much uniform height, and then some special landmarks that really dominate the skyline. It is probably one of the few famous cities in the world where church steeples and spires remain some of the highest points in the urban landscape.