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The 9 Most Fascinating Libraries in Paris

July 23, 2022
There's something so soothing about reading in Paris. Picture yourself enjoying a good book in a charming cafe, the smell of your coffee wafts in the air as you turn a page. Doesn't that sound so idyllic? Although there's a lot to look forward to in the French capital, it's also a great place to unwind and read a book. Even more so if you visit the most fascinating libraries in Paris! Any bibliophile will go gaga over the places like Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Bibliothèque Sainte Geneviève, and Bibliothèque Mazarine. Not only do they offer mountains of great reads, but their interesting spots in the city too!

The 9 Most Fascinating Libraries in Paris

Bibliothèque Nationale de France

Bibliothèque Nationale de France, or the National Library of France, is the perfect library to start this list. But technically speaking, this library is so big that it has multiple locations throughout the different neighborhoods of Paris. Even some of the other libraries listed here are under its huge umbrella. So which location should you go to? The stunning Richelieu Library on Rue de Richelieu. Designed by renowned architect Henri Labrouste, this site houses the famous Labrouste room, a grand hall that looks straight out of a movie! To say that it's amazing is a huge understatement!
The 9 Most Fascinating Libraries in Paris
Source: Wikimedia Commons/ Vincent Desjardins

Bibliothèque Sainte Geneviève

Another great location of the National Library of France is Bibliothèque Sainte Geneviève on place du Panthéon. Standing right across the Panthéon, one of the most famous tourist spots in Paris, this library is a great place to visit after you've been to the famous spot. You'll only have to cross the street to get to Bibliothèque Sainte Geneviève and look in awe in its similarly majestic Labouste reading room. Though comparatively smaller than the one in the Richelieu Library, it will take your breath away just the same! It's truly deserving to be called one of the best libraries in Paris.
The 9 Most Fascinating Libraries in Paris
Source: Wikimedia Commons/ © Marie-Lan Nguyen/Wikimedia Commons (CC-BY)

Bibliothèque de la Sorbonne

Located on Rue de la Sorbonne in the 5th arrondissement of Paris, Bibliothèque de la Sorbonne is a paradise for peaceful readers. Despite its fame, this library isn't as grand as the other places on this list. You can easily read in silence here and let the hours fly by. But what makes Bibliothèque de la Sorbonne so popular, however, is its stunning Jacqueline de Romilly reading room. Painted in a sweet pastel mint hue, it's full of Rococo splendor from every corner. If you're not focusing on your reading, you're likely distracted by its extraordinary ceiling!
The 9 Most Fascinating Libraries in Paris
Source: Bibliothèque de la Sorbonne Facebook Page

Bibliothèque Historique de la Ville de Paris

As one of the most famous libraries in Paris, what is it about Bibliothèque Historique de la Ville de Paris that has people coming back? Though it's a great library in its own right, it's certainly not as grand or as majestic as the other libraries mentioned so far. So what makes this particular spot so noteworthy? Well, it's the best place to learn about the city of Paris! Bibliothèque Historique de la Ville de Paris is known for its vast collection of information regarding the French capital. Many of their books even date as far back as the 16th century!
The 9 Most Fascinating Libraries in Paris
Source: Flickr.com/ Doug Haslam

Bibliothèque Mazarine

From medieval manuscripts to ancient texts, it's no wonder Bibliothèque Mazarine is considered a goldmine for scholars and historians. They can practically spend their entire lives in this opulent library in the Saint-Germain-des-Près district and they'll still find new information every single day! That's how massive this place is. And so beautiful too! Housed in a gorgeous French Neoclassical mansion, its imposing exterior perfectly illustrates how prestigious the place is. If not for the fact that it's near the Seine River, Bibliothèque Mazarine could've easily been the most popular spot in this part of the city.
The 9 Most Fascinating Libraries in Paris
Source: Wikimedia Commons/ © Marie-Lan Nguyen/Wikimedia Commons (CC-BY)

Bibliothèque Publique d'Information

Housed inside the Centre Pompidou, one of the finest art museums in Paris, it's no surprise that Bibliothèque Publique d'Information tends to get overlooked by tourists. If you only have a couple of days in Paris, it's only natural that you spend it more on the fascinating artworks than reading in the public museum. But for locals, especially students, this place is a godsend! Among the most modern libraries in Paris, it's a great place to do some research. You'd already achieve a lot in one day here than you would in other places in the city.
The 9 Most Fascinating Libraries in Paris
Source: Bibliothèque Publique d'Information

Bibliothèque Marguerite Durand

Located on Rue Nationale in the 13th arrondissement of Paris, Bibliothèque Marguerite Durand is among the most unique but also the most important libraries in Paris. From when it was first founded in 1932 by its eponymous founder, journalist & suffragette Marguerite Durand, to today, it has remained one of the most important sites for women. Many of what you can find here are historical items and literary texts that relate to the first wave of feminism during the late 19th century and the early 20th century. There are brochures, pamphlets, photographs, and more that showcase women's resilience at that time.
The 9 Most Fascinating Libraries in Paris
Source: Wikimedia Commons/ Celette

Bibliothèque François Truffaut

Are you a cinephile? Then you'll likely want to visit Bibliothèque François Truffaut in the Forum des Halles. Named after a famous French director, this library is all about the world of cinema. It has books about the art of filmmaking, biographies of significant figures in the industries, and of course, mountains of DVDs of movies and documentaries. It's the best place for any film student in Paris to learn more about the movie industry and, more specifically, French cinema. There are incredible references here that you won't find anywhere else!
The 9 Most Fascinating Libraries in Paris
Source: Flickr.com/ Bibliothèques Ville de Paris

Médiathèque de la Canopée Fontaine

Médiathèque de la Canopée Fontaine may not be as grand as Bibliothèque Mazarine or as historic as Bibliothèque Marguerite Durand, but in truth, it's probably the best place to read and relax. Despite its limited collection of books (at least, compared to the other libraries in Paris), what makes Médiathèque de la Canopée Fontaine so great is that it's all about letting you relax while you read. Instead of a standard reading room with tables and chairs, you get cushions, hammocks, couches, and more. Comfort is the name of the game here!
The 9 Most Fascinating Libraries in Paris
Source: Wikimedia Commons/ Lalalillou

Forget the museums, landmarks, restaurants, and the like! Discover a whole new side of the City of Lights by visiting the most fascinating libraries in Paris. Not only do they feature several books, but they're also incredible places in their own right!




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