Thanks from the Paradis Ovale!

You were more than 2 200 to support the restoration of the oval reading room at the Richelieu Library. All the lamps and heating systems were adopted. Thanks to your involvement, we have achieved our target of 500 000 €. Many thanks to all the donors for their generosity!

It is still possible to give your name or a relative’s name to an emblem of this outstanding reading room : a reading table, a city of culture, a column.

Welcome to the Oval Paradise

© Jean-Christophe Ballot / BnF (enlarge image)

The construction of the oval reading room started in 1897 under the leadership of architect Jean-Louis Pascal. Also known as the “Paradis ovale” (oval paradise), this impressive place – 43,70 metres long, 32,80 metres large and 18 metres high - opened in 1936. The mosaics, gold decorations, decorative paintings, painted décors and unique pieces of furniture compose a breathtaking sight.

Under the glass roof surrounded with a noble interlacing of golden acanthus, the upper part of the oval has sixteen glass bull’s eyes set in it and used for ventilation. Each of these bull’eyes comes with the name of a famous city engraved above it; these cities are famous for their symbolic weight in the history of civilizations and libraries: Paris, Byzantium, Washington, Florence, Athens, Ninive, Berlin, Alexandria, London, Babylon, Vienna, Thebes, Rome, Carthage, Beijing, Jerusalem.

Famous for its walls covered with books, the oval reading room - regularly listed in anthologies as one of the most beautiful libraries in the world - illustrates a powerful imaginary world connected with the universe of books.

With the restoration, this place can return to its original calling and be a popular reading room open to all. The oval reading room will be the main facility, freely-available, of the Richelieu library; a true public area where cultural outreach, educational activities, reading and work will be available for free to readers and visitors.

lundi 29 janvier 2018

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