French National Library (Bibliotheque Nationale de France)

French National Library (Bibliotheque Nationale de France)

French National Library (Bibliotheque Nationale de France)
4
Architectural BuildingsLibraries
9:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Monday
2:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Tuesday
9:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Wednesday
9:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Sunday
1:00 PM - 7:00 PM
About
This modern glass and chrome masterpiece standing on the banks of the Seine River is also one of the largest research libraries in the world.
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4.0
4.0 of 5 bubbles277 reviews
Excellent
119
Very good
109
Average
29
Poor
8
Terrible
12

Kityayma
Sydney, Australia
3.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2018 • Solo
As a lover of libraries, I was keen to visit this modern structure that some call a masterpiece, and others a monstrosity. It is indeed a marvel, of sorts. Occupying a vast space it is composed of four main buildings, designed to resemble open books and positioned symmetrically around a huge sunken garden. Windows on each floor of the building reveal internal partitions placed at regular intervals, giving the impression of books on shelves.

I arrived around 10:30 on a Saturday and though there was a short queue at the top, and another to pass through security, it all only took about ten minutes to get in. I paid the €3.90 to access the reading rooms on the ground level. Entry fee includes a couple of temporary exhibits though others are extra. Basically, you are paying just to walk around the library outskirts with the option to dip into a few rooms, and to observe the way it functions as any library does. The reading rooms are very quiet - there is some serious study going on here - but they are also quite dark, sitting as they do on the lower floor. The internal garden gives some visual respite from the concrete but it is barely visible from most of the rooms.The exhibitions on "Cartooning for Peace" and the display of Louis XIV's globes are worth browsing but be advised that all information is in French only.

Putting aside some serious design flaws,(when first built books were exposed to the elements), the library serves its purpose attracting hundreds of students and academics daily, not to mention the many visitors like myself.

Personally, I prefer libraries that have a bit more light and soul but this does have character and whatever you think of it, it is wonderful to see governments continuing to see the value in investing in such institutions.
Written May 24, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Atef Z
Houston, TX
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2017 • Friends
You can get there by bus, metro or RER very easily. If your interest is in the library as a structure alone, just go there. However, if you are interested in using the resources, you need to apply for a card for a fee.
Reading rooms also require the card, except for limited times in the evening. Even the reference room requires the card. The research library is located on the lower level, and you have to pay attention to opening hours. You may also access the library catalog (as well as a union catalog of French libraries) from the comfort of your home. The website is bnf.fr, and the portal is multilingual.
The four buildings comprising the library, overlook a gorgeous garden, with wide internal walkways connecting them. Plenty of free photography exhibits along the passageways. On the upper level of the library you will find a cafe as well as vending machines in one of the public areas.
Stroll around before or after you visit and enjoy the river and landscape.
A multi screen commercial cineplex is located outside the library.
Written January 27, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Yves G
Paris, France
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2016 • Family
Inaugurated in December 1996, the Bibliothèque Nationale de France - architect D. Perrault - is a resolutely contemporary architecture made of wood, glass and steel. It is arranged around a central garden and consists schematically of a vast rectangular base forming an esplanade and four square towers on the corners. At the top of the garden, the Bibliothèque offers 1,600 reading spaces spread across 5 departments (sciences and technical subjects; art and literature; political, legal and economical sciences; philosophy, history, human sciences and sociology; audiovisual). The collections (300,000 volumes) are accessible for those aged 16 and over. A part of the Library, situated at the garden level, is reserved for research workers. Two exhibition rooms can host temporary exhibitions which highlight heritage collections housed in different sites (Richelieu, Arsenal, François Mitterrand, Bibliothèque-Musée de l'Opéra). A programme of concerts and conferences is offered in two auditoriums.
Written April 8, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

MelDan78
Melbourne, Australia
5.0 of 5 bubbles
a place most travellers neglect, thinking this as just a utilitarian building. but, once you get there... it is a treat to your mind & body. such a great piece of architecture with a vast central court with a "forest" at the centre. you don't have to go in, enjoy the exterior. it will be such an experience.

try to schedule your trip during "heritage day" week end. usually it is the 3rd weekend of September. they open the library for visitors on that week end and there are many presentations (in French) on various subjects. Moreover, the library posses the terrestrial and celestial globes Coronelli made for Louis XIV. Usually it is not on display and library officials open it for public on heritage day. we were fortunate enough to witness that.

If you are a traveller interested in architecture , this is a "must see" in Paris.
Written October 17, 2009
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Mark D
Penang Island, Malaysia
4.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2018 • Couples
This is the 6th largest Library in the World. It contains about 40 million items-- of which 14 million are books! One of the locations has a "newish", modern building whose architecture is astounding!! From a distance the buildings resemble books located along the Seine!! If one has an interest in enhancing their knowledge of France this is an important place to visit!

I hope that this Review has been helpful!
Written May 26, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Murteiras Apartment
Funchal, Portugal
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2015 • Friends
Designed by the Architect Dominique Perrault.
The 4 towers symbolise 4 opened books and simultaneously book shelves facing the lower level forest area protected as a shield box, making it inaccessible and untouchable, as something incomparably valuable, and for that reason can not be touched to not harm.
Written December 5, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Naveed A
Flushing, NY
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2015 • Business
I have been to a library this huge was here on conferrence and have no words to define how awesome it is. Simply remarkable
Written May 30, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ParisRepas
Lebanon, NH
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2015 • Couples
I have no knowledge of how this library functions for research and other scholarly pursuits. Maybe it is brilliant. The architecture, however, is deplorable. Cold, austere, lacking in warmth and intelligent signage. Everything about it fairly shouts that you are unwelcome. One can barely find the entrance. The outdoor space is empty, windy and forlorn. Other reviewers have noted that it is also dangerous in rain and snow as many people have fallen on the wood and steel platforms. It might be worth a look just to see how bad it really is. Bright note: there were a number of food trucks in a nearby courtyard, the only festive grace of the entire enterprise.
Written May 7, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

thekathystar
Paris, France
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2012
This library has an impressive collection of resources from a range of different disciplines, including art, design, science, philosophy, social sciences and humanities, and foreign languages.

You need to pay to access the collection, but the annual subscription fees are not expensive if you plan to use the collection regularly.I paid 20 euros for an annual student subscription - however, I wasn't expecting to pay anything so was surprised when I arrived!

There is also free Internet usage at selected terminals, although this is usually limited to one and a half hours per session.

For me, the collections are impressive but I did not find this a conducive place to work as I didn't have my own laptop at the time. You can't use a USB stick in any of the computers and most of the libraries had dim lighting, which did not maximise the use of the large windows facing the interior garden.

There are multiple vending machines for refreshments throughout the library - surprisingly serving some of the best coffee for 1 euro I've had in Paris! There is also a small cafe selling cheap salad formulas (salad, drink, dessert) between around 3 and 7 euros.
Written September 9, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Alesch2014
Jundiai, SP
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2019 • Family
opened until 8 PM the library is impressive. The building has an amazing architecture, reminding 4 open books with a nice garden in the middle. You can relax, read, experience the place in peace.
Written July 31, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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