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:

  • 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

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.

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.

Monday, December 3, 2018


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 :
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