Page last updated at 14:14 GMT, Tuesday, 11 May 2010 15:14 UK

France opens new Pompidou centre in Metz

By Vincent Dowd
BBC News, Metz

French President Nicolas Sarkozy delivers his speech during the inauguration of the new branch of the Pompidou Centre modern art museum in Metz
It is the first time the world-famous centre has ventured beyond Paris

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has opened a big new outpost of the Pompidou arts centre in Metz, north-eastern France.

It is the first time the world-famous centre has ventured beyond Paris.

It was designed by Shigeru Ban and Jean de Gastines, and it shows Ban's Japanese roots.

It bears no physical resemblance to its big brother in Paris, although it will have access to its huge store of art works.

"You know in France, we are a little bit centralised, so for this kind of operation, it's a kind of little French revolution, saying such a simple thing, but the national collections are for everyone," says the museum's director Laurent Le Bon.

"And why Metz? Because there was no big museum of modern art, and so the connection with Europe was very important," he adds.


The French government is sure big arts projects can help economic regeneration away from the capital.

But no-one should fear the opening exhibition in Metz consists of rejects.

There is important work by Georges Braque, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, Joan Miro and others.

Natalie and Sophie, two early visitors, were delighted with their city's new arrival.

"I think it is absolutely fabulous to see all these masterpieces... It is very important for this region to see the first decentralisation for a cultural place. Amazing, outstanding!"

Two years from now, the Louvre Museum will also get an outpost away from Paris - in economically depressed Lens.

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