The BnF

Rare Books Reserve

Alcools de Guillaume Apollinaire. Illustrator Louis Marcoussis. Mercure de France, 1913
The Rare Books Reserve department holds around 200,000 printed materials. From early printed books to artists’ books, they are selected because they are rare editions or unusual copies: xylographic books and incunabula (books printed before 1501), the output of famous printers, original editions of classic texts, and major printed illustrated works; luxury editions printed on parchment (vellum) or special paper, from renowned owners, many of which are annotated or have remarkable bindings; censored books (the Enfer especially) and clandestine printing; corrected proofs, and mock-ups, archives, and objects illustrating the activities of publishers and bookbinders.
The reading room Y is open to the readers of the Research Library.

Rare Books Reserve:Practical information


François-Mitterrand Library
Quai François-Mauriac
75706 Paris Cedex 13

Reading room

Reading room of the Rare Books Reserve (room Y) © Béatrice Lucchese / BnF

Reading room of the Rare Books Reserve (room Y)

Room Y is open to the readers of the Research Library.

The Rare Books Reserve’s collections may be consulted on the basis of a reasoned request; their release is subject to authorization by the reading room’s chief librarian. Requests should be made on-site using paper order forms.

Readers should use the elevators located in the back of Room T (Rez-de-Jardin) to access Room Y.

Opening hours

From Tuesday to Saturday:9.00am-6.00pm
Closed on Sunday.

Documents must be requested before 5.00pm.

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 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.

Monday, November 7, 2016


Jean-Marc Chatelain
Phone : 33 (0)1 53 79 54 52
Fax : 33 (0)1 53 79 54 60
Email : reserve-livres-rares

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