The Centre national d'art et de culture Georges Pompidou (Centre Pompidou Paris) was the brainchild of President Georges Pompidou who wanted to create an original cultural institution in the heart of Paris completely focused on modern and contemporary creation where the visual arts could rub shoulders with theatre, music, cinema, literature and the spoken word. Housed in the centre of Paris in the Beaubourg district in a building designed by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers, whose architecture symbolises the spirit of the 20th century, the Centre Pompidou first opened its doors to the public in 1977. The original construction began in 1971. It was closed for renovation work from 1997 to December 1999 and reopened to the public again on 1 January 2000 with expanded museum space and enhanced reception areas. Since then this world famous attraction has once again become one of the most visited in France. About 6 million people pass through the Centre Pompidou's doors each year, a total of over 190 million visitors in its 30 years since it was opened. Because of its location, the Centre Pompidou Paris is known locally as Beaubourg.
In a great and unique location, the Centre Pompidou houses one of the most important museums in the world, featuring the top collection of modern and contemporary art in Europe, a vast public reference library with facilities for over 2,000 readers, general documentation on 20th century art, a cinema and performance halls, a music research institute, educational activity areas, bookshops, a restaurant and a café. Not wavering in its interdisciplinary vocation and its core mission - to spread knowledge about all creative works from the 20th century and those heralding the new millennium - every year the Centre Pompidou holds thirty or so public exhibitions as well as international events - cinema and documentary screenings, conferences and symposiums, concerts, dance and educational activities - many of which go on to other venues in both France and abroad.