The BnF

Arsenal Library

Located in the Bastille district, the Arsenal Library was the former residence of the grand masters of artillery. In 1759, the Marquis de Paulmy starts to build up there a major encyclopaedic library turned into a public library in 1797.
Over one million documents are available: books, magazines, manuscripts, prints, maps and plans, music documents... Since then, the library’s favourite fields of expertise have been literature and history. The library also houses several special collections: the Bastille Archives, the Prosper Enfantin Collection (Saint-Simon movement), the Lambert collection dedicated to Huysmans, the collection of typographer Ladislas Mandel, the archives of Georges Perec or the Oulipo collection.
Tours are organized in the library which received the 'Maison des illustres' label in 2012. Numerous lectures, exhibition or concerts in connection with the collections are proposed to visitors.

Arsenal Library:Practical information


Arsenal Library
1 rue de Sully
75004 Paris
(Entrance of readers on the central reservation)

Opening hours

Salle de lecture de la Bibliothèque de l´Arsenal © Alain Goustard / BnF

Salle de lecture de la Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal

  • Open from Monday to Friday from 10.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. and on Saturday from 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m.

  • Closed on public holidays:

    • 1st of January
    • Easter Sunday and Monday
    • 1 and 8 May
    • Ascension Thursday
    • Pentecost Sunday and Monday
    • 14 July
    • 15 August
    • 1 and 11 November
    • 25 December
  • Annual closing of the BnF sites located in Paris (François-Mitterrand, Richelieu and Louvois, Arsenal and Opéra Libraries): During the annual closing of the BnF, various operations are achieved on the BnF premises and public spaces: repair, maintenance or cleaning work. Each year, the sites mentioned above are closed about ten days from the end of August to the beginning of September. The 2018 closing dates will be announced later.

Consulting documents

You need a reader's card to have access to the Research Library's documents.

The personal belongings must be left in lockers at the entrance of the reading room. When consulting brittle or precious documents from the Rare Book Reserve, readers should only use lead pencils.

Please note that a former request (by phone or on-site) to the librarian in charge of the collection is necessary to consult the manuscripts from the Rare Book Reserve.

Monday, December 3, 2018