Bibliothèque Nationale de France

Bibliothèque Nationale de France information

Paris , France
Address
Street 11 quai François Mauriac, 13e
Telephone
+33 1 53 79 59 59
Getting there
metro Bibliothèque
More information
www.bnf.fr
Prices
temporary exhibitions adult/child from €9/free
Opening hours
exhibitions 10am-7pm Tue-Sat, 1-7pm Sun, closed early-late Sep
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Lonely Planet review

With four glass towers shaped like half-open books, the 1995-opened National Library of France was one of President Mitterand’s most ambitious and costliest grands projets . Some 12 million tomes are stored on 420km of shelves and the library can accommodate 2000 readers and 2000 researchers. Excellent temporary exhibitions (entrance E) revolve around ‘the word’ – from storytelling to bookbinding and French heroes. Exhibition admission includes free same-day access to the reference library.

No expense was spared to carry out the library’s grand design, which many claimed defied logic. Books and historical documents are shelved in the sunny, 23-storey and 79m-high towers, while patrons sit in artificially lit basement halls built around a ‘forest courtyard’ of 140 50-year-old pines, trucked in from the countryside. The towers have since been fitted with a complex (and expensive) shutter system but the basement is prone to flooding from the Seine.