Welcome to the BnF

The Bibliothèque nationale de France collects, preserves and makes known the national documentary heritage.

The BnF’s collections are unique in the world: 15 million books and printed documents, manuscripts, prints, photographs, maps and plans, scores, coins, medals, sound documents, video and multimedia documents, scenery elements... All disciplines, whether intellectual, artistic or scientific, are represented in a comprehensive way. About 150 000 documents are added to the collections each year thanks to legal deposit, acquisitions and donations.

Today, the BnF’s digital library, Gallica, provides access to over four millions documents.

Numerous cultural events highlight and make known the library’s outstanding collections: exhibitions, lectures, symposiums, concerts and meetings are planned all the year long. They are run by librarians and personalities from the cultural world.

Main services

Discovering the BnF (duration:3 min 29 s)

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How to find us?

François-Mitterrand Library

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

Address and transports - François-Mitterrand Library
Opening hours: on Mondays, 2 p.m. – 8 p.m. (Research Library) Tuesday – Saturday, 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. On Sundays, 1 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Richelieu Library - Oval reading room

Richelieu Library
58, rue de Richelieu
75002 Paris

Address and transports - Richelieu-Louvois Library
Opening hours: Monday – Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Arsenal  Library

Arsenal Library
1, rue Sully
75004 Paris

Address and transports - Arsenal Library
Opening hours: Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. On Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Opéra Library

Opéra Library
Place de l’Opéra
75009 Paris

Address and transports - Opéra Library
Opening hours: Monday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Currently at the BnF

Exhibition The Globes of Louis XIV

Visiting the library

François-Mitterrand Library

Guided tours of François-Mitterrand Library
Discovering the library’s history, the building’s architecture and the reading rooms.

Richelieu Library

Guided tours of Richelieu Library
The tour allows to discover the library’s historic areas and the museum of coins and medals. It also provides information about the huge upgrading works currently made on this site.

Scenery element of the Salon de musique at the Arsenal Library

Guided tours of the Arsenal Library
Tour of the library located in the old Paris military arsenal where numerous old scenery elements are still housed today.

How to get your reader’s card?

Reference Library´s reading room

Reference Library's reading room

There are two levels at François-Mitterrand Library:

  • The Research Library (Rez-de-Jardin level) is open to accredited readers.
  • The Reference Library (Haut-de-Jardin level) is open to anyone 16 years of age and over.

In the Research Library, heritage collections – printed and audiovisual documents, manuscripts, prints, photographs... - are available on any type of medium. The Research Library consists of several sites: the Rez-de-Jardin level at François-Mitterrand Library, the Richelieu-Louvois Library, the Arsenal Library and the Opéra Library. Printed and audiovisual documents are housed at François-Mitterrand Library and the others at Richelieu Library. The collections housed at the Arsenal Library focus more particularly on French literature and book history. To be accredited, readers must be 18 years old and provide a proof of academic, professional or personal research activities requiring access to the collections kept at the Research Library.

The reading rooms of the Reference Library, located at the Haut-de-Jardin level of François-Mitterrand Library, provide free access to reference collections in all fields of knowledge: printed books and magazines, audiovisual documents, periodicals, digital books or data bases. The Reference Library is open to anyone16 years of age and over, after the purchase of a reader’s pass.

Most of the BnF’s documents are described in the Catalogue général de la BnF. Manuscripts and archives are partly described in the BnF Archives et manuscrits catalogue.

  • Consulting the Catalogue général de la BnF
  • Consulting the BnF archives et manuscrits catalog

In both libraries (Haut-de-jardin and Rez-de-Jardin levels), the reading rooms are available with an admission charge. Entrance to the Reference Library is free after 5 p.m.

Ask a librarian


SINDBAD is a free reference service offering document references on all subjects and factual information (biographical elements, facts, figures, dates).

Getting the duplication of a document


The duplication of documents kept at the BnF can be ordered for a commercial or private use from the reproduction services. The duplication can be made on various formats and on a wide variety of media.

Friday, December 15, 2017