Fodor's Expert Review Bibliothèque Nationale François Mitterrand

Eastern Paris Library/Archive

The National Library of France, across the sleek Simone de Beauvoir footbridge from Bercy Park, is a stark complex comprising four 22-story L-shape buildings representing open books. Commissioned by President Mitterrand, the €1-billion library was said to be the world's most modern when it opened in 1998—a reputation quickly sullied when it was discovered that miles of books and rare documents were baking in the glass towers, unprotected from the sun (movable shutters were eventually installed). Some of the most important printed treasures of France are stored here, though the majority of them are available only to researchers. Visitors can see the impressive 17th-century Globes of Coronelli, a pair of 2-ton orbs made for Louis XIV. There's a sunken center garden with tall trees (open to the public the first weekend in June) ringed by low-ceilinged reading rooms, which are nothing special. A first-floor gallery hosts popular temporary exhibitions on subjects such as the life of Casanova.... READ MORE

The National Library of France, across the sleek Simone de Beauvoir footbridge from Bercy Park, is a stark complex comprising four 22-story L-shape buildings representing open books. Commissioned by President Mitterrand, the €1-billion library was said to be the world's most modern when it opened in 1998—a reputation quickly sullied when it was discovered that miles of books and rare documents were baking in the glass towers, unprotected from the sun (movable shutters were eventually installed). Some of the most important printed treasures of France are stored here, though the majority of them are available only to researchers. Visitors can see the impressive 17th-century Globes of Coronelli, a pair of 2-ton orbs made for Louis XIV. There's a sunken center garden with tall trees (open to the public the first weekend in June) ringed by low-ceilinged reading rooms, which are nothing special. A first-floor gallery hosts popular temporary exhibitions on subjects such as the life of Casanova. Enter through the easternmost tower.

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Library/Archive

Quick Facts

Quai François Mauriac
Paris, Île-de-France  75013, France

-01–53–79–59–59

www.bnf.fr

Sight Details:
Globes gallery free; reading rooms €3.50; exhibitions €9 (€11 for two) Rate Includes: Globes gallery free; all other entries from €4, Closed Mon.

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