The BnF

Prints and Photographs Department

The big horse. Albrecht Dürer's print. 1505
The Prints and Photographs Department holds the world’s biggest picture collection, unique for its wealth of material on past centuries, and a living museum of contemporary art. It houses more than 15 million graphic materials of a wide variety of types: drawings – in particular of architecture -, prints, photographs, posters, labels, postcards, fabric samples, playing cards, etc.
The Department also holds an important collection of documentary sources in the field: books, periodicals, sale catalogues...
Numerous exhibitions are organized to highlight the collections. A wide range of news about old and contemporary engravings is collected and disseminated in the Nouvelles de l’Estampe magazine published by the Department.

Prints and Photographs department:Practical information

Durant la seconde partie du chantier de rénovation du site Richelieu, le département accueille ses lecteurs dans la salle Labrouste (salle de lecture de la bibliothèque de l’INHA).


Richelieu Library
58, rue de Richelieu
75002 Paris
Phone: 33 (0)1 53 79 83 80

To be noted

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

Opening hours

Reading room of the Prints and Photographs department © Jean-Christophe Ballot / BnF

Reading room of the Prints and Photographs department

Reading room opening hours
From Monday to Saturday Sunday
10.00am-6.00pm closed

Area for consultation of the 'Réserve' documents: on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Readers are highly recommended to prepare their visit sending an email to:

Large size documents are communicated on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoon from 14 p.m. to 17 p.m., only on prior appointment by email.

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.

Communication of documents and consultation procedures

These specific opening hours concern the documents housed at the Richelieu Library.

Communication of documents
Monday to Saturday (General collections) On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday morning (Réserve)
Gathering of communication bulletins 10.30 a.m., 11.15 a.m., noon, 12.45 p.m., 1.15 p.m., 2.00 p.m., 2.45 p.m., 3.30 p.m., 4.15 p.m., 5 p.m. 10 a.m, 10.15 a.m. 10.45 a.m., 11.15 a.m., 11.50 a.m.
Communication of documents 10.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. 10.15 a.m. to 12.30 p.m.

Large size documents are communicated on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoon from 14 p.m. to 17 p.m., only on prior appointment by email.

From September the 11th, 2017, it will be possible to request documents for the current day clicking on « Réserver ». The request can be made only via the computers available in the reading room.

Considering that these documents belong to heritage collections, special precautions should be taken to ensure their good condition. The readers are invited to handle the documents carefully. It is forbidden to use some ink. Personal belongings must be left in cloakrooms.

During renovation work at Richelieu Library, some collections were moved to other sites of the BnF. These documents remain available.

Friday, November 10, 2017


Sylvie Aubenas
Phone :
Fax :
Email :

For a bibliographic search, use our "Ask a librarian" service, SINDBAD :
Ask a librarian (SINDBAD)