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, which later became a public library in 1797. In 2012, it was awarded the ‘Maison des illustres’ label. 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. 
The Arsenal Library also organizes a number of conferences, exhibitions, and concerts with themes connected to its collections. It is open to visitors. 
  • Wifi

Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal

1, rue de Sully, 75004 Paris (readers’ entrance is on the embankment)
Phone : +33(0)1 53 79 59 59


Lines 67, 72, 86 & 87


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

Opening Hours

10AM – 6PM
10AM – 5PM
Closed on Sunday
Please note: 
The BnF is closed on bank holidays*
Annual closing (Paris sites: François-Mitterrand, Richelieu, Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal & Bibliothèque-musée de l’Opéra):
from Thursday, August 29, 2019 evening to Monday, September 9, 2019 in the morning.
*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 all the documents of the Library and access the BnF electronic resources. The reading rooms are open to the people carrying a BnF research pass or an Arsenal Library research pass and are equipped with a wifi access.  
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday  Sunday

Visiting the heritage rooms:

Guided tours (1h30) with a BnF conference speaker: Wednesdays at 3 PM and Saturdays at 11 AM all year long (except annual closing days and bank holidays)
Booking by phone only: +33153794949

Day Research pass

5 €

5-Day Research pass (consecutive or not)

20 €

Unlimited research pass 

This pass additionally grants you free access to the Research Library and the General Library reading rooms, exhibitions, and events at the BnF. 

Valid for 1 year.

50 €

Reduced fare

35 €


Viewing the documents

To access the reading room of the Arsenal Library, you must be carrying a pass. It can be delivered to you on site. If you want to access other research Library sites (François-Mitterrand, Richelieu, Arsenal), you must carry a research Pass. This pass is available online or at the François-Mitterrand and Richelieu libraries.


  • 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 Library upper garden reading rooms, exhibitions and events at the BnF. 
The three passes are valid for one year from their delivery date. They are strictly personal.

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.

Access and prices

  • You have to be over 18 years old. 
  • You need to show proof that you are conducting academic, professional or personal research work.  

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 viewing 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. Requests must be addressed to the person in charge by phone or directly in the reading room. 


Getting accredited

On the Richelieu and François Mitterrand sites, a personalized interview will be conducted by a librarian at the Accreditation service to assess the needs of each reader, and determine their accreditation and its duration (1 Day, 5 Day, Unlimited). The pass will then be given to the reader. 

Electronic Resources  

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

The professional book meetings and the resource center 

The Arsenal Library offers a year-long conference cycle open to all, ‘The professional book meetings ‘, where typographers, calligraphers and book history researchers come share their view on the book sector today. It also has resources available to researchers and professionals with a documentation center 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.