General Information

Located in the Bastille district, the Arsenal Library is the former residence of the Master-generals of the Ordnance. There the marquis de Paulmy built up a major encyclopedic collection from 1756 onwards, which later became a public library in 1797. In 2012, it was awarded the ‘Maison des illustres’ label by the french Ministry of Culture. The Library has over 1 million documents available for consultation, including books, journals, manuscripts, prints, maps and plans, music sheets etc. The library’s reading rooms are part of the Research Library of the BnF. They are accessible upon showing proof of your research work, or with a pass BnF “lecture / culture” for access without document reservation. 
The Arsenal Library also organizes a great number of conferences, exhibitions, and concerts with themes connected to its collections.
  • Wifi

Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal

Readers’ entrance is on place du Père Teilhard de Chardin (post address 1, rue de Sully, 75004 Paris)
Phone : +33(0)1 53 79 59 59


Lines 67, 72, 86 & 87


Lines 7 (Sully-Morland), 1, 5, 8 (Bastille)

Opening hours readers’ room

2PM – 7PM
10AM – 7PM
10AM – 6PM

Opening hours exhibition

Tuesday on sunday

12AM – 7PM

The Arsenal library is closed on bank holidays (1 January, Easter Sunday and Monday, 1 and 8 May, Ascension Thursday, Pentecost Sunday and Monday, 15 August, 1 and 11 November, 25 December)

Research Library 

There are three reading rooms at the Arsenal Library, all in a Second Empire style decor. You can consult the documents of the Library and access the BnF electronic resources. The reading rooms are open to the people holding a BnF research pass or, for access without document reservation, to all holders of the pass BnF “lecture / culture”, and have Wi-Fi access.
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday  Sunday

Day Research pass

6 €

5-Day Research pass   (consecutive or not)

24 €

Unlimited research pass

Valid for 1 year.


Reduced fare

35 €

Pass BnF “lecture / culture”

Valid for 1 year.

Reduced fare

Preferential rate for current Arsenal card holders: 8 € (valid for 1 year)

15 €


Consulting the documents

To access the reading room of the Arsenal Library, you must be holding a pass. It can be delivered to you on site. The research pass allows access to the rooms and the reservation of documents from the Arsenal. The pass  BnF “lecture / culture” allows access to the rooms. These passes are available online or at the François-Mitterrand and Richelieu sites.


  • 1 Day Research Pass
  • 5 Day Research Pass (consecutive or not) 
    These two passes grant you free circulation during your day in all reading rooms of the Research Library as well as on all our sites. 
  • Unlimited research Pass
    This pass additionally grants you free access to the Public Library reading rooms at the François-Mitterrand site, exhibitions and events at the BnF. 
  • Pass BnF “lecture / culture”
    It gives access to the Arsenal without the possibility of reserving documents, as well as to the reading rooms of the Public Library on the François-Mitterrand site, and to exhibitions, concerts and shows at the BnF.
Tickets are valid for one year from the date of issue. They are for strictly personal use only.

Before purchasing a pass

You can prepare your visit by consulting our online catalog or by using our SINDBAD service by chat, phone or email.

To know more about the research pass

Access and prices

  • You have to be at least 18 years old, and over 14 for a pass BnF “lecture / culture”.
  • You need to show proof that you are conducting academic, professional or personal research work for a Research pass. 

Heritage collections consultation is chiefly meant for extended, long-term research. It can also respond to short-term research, especially when documents are unavailable in other libraries. Readers are invited to leave their personal belongings at the entrance of the library. While consulting documents from the Reserve or especially fragile or precious items, only pencils are authorized. 

Please note: A request must be made prior to any document delivery from the Reserve, addressed to the person in charge by phone or directly in the reading room.

How to get an Inscription

The conditions to get an inscription depend on our status and your specific needs

Electronic Resources 

The library offers many electronic resources – periodicals, monographs, databases, Gallica and Internet Archives - which can be accessed on-site or online.

The ‘Book Trade meetings’ and the resource centre [In French]

The Arsenal Library offers a year-long conference cycle open to all, ‘The Book Trade meetings ‘.  Typographers, calligraphers and book history researchers are invited to share their view on the book trade today. It also has resources available to researchers and professionals with a documentation centre freely accessible from the reading rooms, complete with a dedicated online portal

Making your visiting experience easy


You can leave your personal belongings in the cloakroom before your visit (within storage capacity), except valuable and large items. 

Please note

In application of Plan Vigipirate at ‘Heightened Security/Risk of Attack’ level, security and controls near the Library entrance have been strengthened. Only cabin luggage (55cm × 35cm × 25cm) are accepted inside BnF.
Consequently, access can take a little longer than normal. We thank you for your understanding. 

Mandatory deposits 

To make your visiting experience easier, some items must be checked at the cloakroom: 
  • Motorbike helmets 

  • Umbrellas and walking sticks 

  • Backpacks and small luggage 

  • Sharp and harmful objects  

  • Cardboard portfolios 

Please note: Some collections are submitted to specific rules.