The BnF

Manuscripts Department

The Manuscripts department has its origins in the Royal Library. It houses the greatest collection worldwide of medieval, modern and contemporary manuscripts. It also includes numerous old copies, unica, scientific texts, ornamented and painted manuscripts. These encyclopaedic collections - chansons de geste, Eastern and Western religions, modern and contemporary history, literary manuscripts... - were enriched thanks to donations from authors, politicians or academics, sponsorship or acquisitions.
The collections of original manuscripts are complemented by books and magazines in foreign languages, microforms and fac-similes. The reading room is open to the readers of the Research Library. Certain manuscripts are available on special authorization.

Manuscripts Department:Practical information


Richelieu Library
58, rue de Richelieu
75002 Paris

Opening hours

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

Closed on public holidays:

  • 31 december and 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
  • 24 and 25 December

Annual closure of all sites in Paris (François-Mitterrand, Richelieu, Louvois, Arsenal and Opera libraries): from 1 to 10 September 2017.

Consulting documents

Requests collection and document release times
  Monday toSaturday
Requests collection 10:30, 11:30, 14:00, 15:30
Document release except for the Reserve 10:00 - 18:00

Average release length: 45 minutes after the requests collection.

An item requested after 15:30 will be delivered the day after.

You need a reader's card to have access to the Research Library's documents.
In case there exists a copy of the document, you will be invited to consult it in priority. Consulting the original document is submitted to prior authorization.

Nothing but paper, lead pencils and personal computers is allowed in the reading rooms. The other personal belongings must be left in the cloakroom or in lockers at the entrance of the reading room.
During renovation work at Richelieu Library, some collections were moved to other sites of the BnF. These documents remain available at Richelieu Library within 24 to 72 hours. You can prepare your visit by reserving your documents in advance.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016


Isabelle le Masne de Chermont
Phone : 01 53 79 82 80
fax : 01 53 79 89 00
Email :

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