National Library

National Library (77)

As its name indicates, the National Library of France is the most important in the country. You would not be able to read even the smallest part of all the books it contains. It is estimated that the library’s archive contains more than 30 million volumes. Not only that, but it also has a digital library of documents and images called “Gallica”.

It is an impressive building that, if you get the chance, we recommend you visit the inside, for example the printed books room.

The "Richelieu site" has been the historic centre of the library since 1720. This building is in the 2nd District, between the streets of des Petits-Champs, Vivienne, Louvois and Richelieu. Its most attractive aspect is the oval room. This room was designed by the architect Pascal and was completed in 1916. In the “Richelieu site” you can find, above all, reading rooms, shops and offices. You can also lose yourself in one of its three exhibition rooms: the Mazarine gallery, the photography gallery, the Mansart gallery and the crypt.

Since its foundation, the patrimony of the National Library has just grown and grown. Its function has also changed over time. Firstly, it was a royal library and then it was at the service of the State. It finally took on the character of an independent public institution. As well as donations, its funds have increased thanks to the purchases of examples and exchanges with other libraries. And without doubt, the period of major growth was that of the Revolution, when the archives of the religious establishments, colleges and universities were confiscated.

But not all the activities of the National Library are undertaken here. Other buildings in Paris and in other French cities form part of the network of the National Library. Since 1996 many of the books stored in the Richelieu place have been kept in the spectacular François Mitterrand Library. 

As well as the Mitterrand site we can find National Library centres in Paris in the l’Arsenal site, in the Opera Garnier we find the library-museum of the Opera, which provides the visitor with all kinds of documents related to music. There you can see musical scores, costumes, models and photographs. 

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website