Research Library (all sites)

The BnF Research Library is composed of 4 sites in the Paris region (Richelieu, Arsenal, Opéra and François-Mitterrand) and of one site in Avignon, the Maison Jean-Vilar. Consult our collections freely as well as the 39 million documents kept in our library storage. Access the entirety of our electronic resources (Gallica intra muros, Internet Archives etc.) and discover below the specificities of each of our venues.

 

Research Libraries - opening hours

François-Mitterrand
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
2PM
-
8PM
9AM
-
8PM
9AM
-
8PM

9AM
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8PM

9AM
-
8PM
9AM
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8PM

-
 
Richelieu
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
10AM
-
6PM
10AM
-
6PM
10AM
-
6PM
10AM
-
6PM
10AM
-
6PM
10AM
-
6PM

-
 
Opéra
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
10AM
-
5PM
10AM
-
5PM
10AM
-
5PM
10AM
-
5PM
10AM
-
5PM
10AM
-
5PM
-
Arsenal
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
10AM
-
6PM
10AM
-
6PM
10AM
-
6PM
10AM
-
6PM
10AM
-
6PM
10AM
-
6PM
-
Jean-Vilar
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
- 2PM
-
6PM
2PM
-
6PM
2PM
-
6PM
2PM
-
6PM
2PM
-
6PM
-

Prices

Research Pass 1 day

5 €

Research Pass 5 days

20 €

Unlimited Research Pass (valid 1 year):

Access to the Research Library, to the Public Library, to the exhibitions, concerts and other cultural events at the  BnF.

Valid for 1 year.

 

Buy online

 

access conditions

You have to be over 18 years old. 

The consultation  of Heritage collections is chiefly meant for extended, long-term research. It can also respond to short-term research, especially in case of not being able to find a document in other libraries. 

Master and postgraduate students, higher education teachers, Phd holders or tenure professors, journalists and scientific staff of archives, heritage monuments and libraries may register directly online or on-site at the Inscription desk. They will need to provide proof of research upon retrieving their pass. 

BA level students or any person with a personnal or professional research project may get a Research Pass upon presentation of justificatory documents during an interview with the Inscription Service at the François-Mitterrand or Richelieu libraries. This interview will determine the researches inscription and the validity pf the Research opass (1 day, 5 days, illimited). 

Attention! The inscription Service closes at 7 pm. No Pass can be delivered past this time.


Obtain a Research Pass

Prepare your visit

Consultation of documents 

The General Catalogue and the Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue allow you to locate a document and to know where to go to find it.

For the non-print collections in the Coins, Medals and Antique Department, you can consult the Medals and Antique Catalogue of the Bibliothèque nationale de France. The Greek coins can be found on the General catalogue and on Gallica.

In some cases, it is worth contacting the Department through their generic email address (eg: estampes-photographie@bnf.fr for the Department of Prints and Photography) as the catalogues do not yet contain the entirety of the collections.

Personalized services [In French]

If you want to get to know the Library and navigate the spaces or know which offer is better suited to you, we offer a bespoke service for everyone including non-ticket holders. You can access the service:
  • By making an appointment online (in French) and selecting a 15-minute slot.
  • Directly on site at the Inscription Service in the Eastern Hall of the François-Mitterrand site.

 

0ur different sites

François-Mitterrand

The François-Mitterrand Research Library offers 1500 seats in 14 rooms. Access is granted upon reservation. You can do so through your personal space online or directly on site on the same day.

Four group rooms can be booked online through Affluences.

You will find a collection of documents freely accessible in the reading rooms. Booking your seat is mandatory: the booking can also be done on-site on the same day. The Library storages in the towers holds more than14 million documents which form the heritage collections of the BnF. You can order a document  at the room desk or online and it will be brought to you in the reading room.

 

 

practical information

 

 

Richelieu

During the second phase of the Richelieu Library renovation plan, six BnF reading rooms are open on site. There is a total of 214 seats available, without counting the part of the Labrouste Room which hosts the reading rooms for the library of the Institut national d’histoire de l’art (INHA).  
You can get more information on the Performing Arts page and video presentation of the renovated Richelieu site and the practical information pages of the reading rooms of the Prints and Photography, the Coins, Medals and Antiques and the Manuscripts Departments. You can find the details for the Richelieu reading room of the Music Department here [in French].

 

Practical information

 

Arsenal

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. The Library has over 1 million documents available for consultation, including books, journals, manuscripts, prints, maps and plans, music sheets etc. Rich in its literary past, it focuses today in literature andd history. It also holds various archives, such as the Bastille archives, the ‘Fonds Saint-Simon’, the ‘Fonds Lambert’ on Joris-Karl Huysmans, the collection of the typographer  Ladislas Mandel as well as the archives of Georges Perec and the Oulipo Mouvement.
In 2012, it was awarded the ‘Maison des illustres’ label by the french Ministry of Culture and is open for visits. The Arsenal Library also organizes a great number of conferences, exhibitions, and concerts with themes connected to its collections.

 

Practical information

 

Opéra

The Library is located in the former ‘Emperor’s Pavillon’ of the Garnier Palace, built by Napoleon III. Situated in the building’s east wing, the Pavillon includes an access ramp for carriages in a covered rotunda. On the second floor, a parlour and a smoking room built for the head of state led to the Emperor’s private box. After the fall of the Second Empire, the rooms were dedicated to the Library-Museum.

 

Practical information

 

the Maison Jean-Vilar

The mission of the Avignon branch of the BnF, attached to the Department of Performing Arts, is to collect, preserve and enhance the memory of the Avignon Festival, the festival OFF, the Winter festival and other venues in Avignon: archives, programs, press releases and folders, posters, photographies, videos. It also offers a large library specialized in performing arts, free of charge and open to all. In its two reading rooms of 40 places in total, every public is welcome - researchers, students, professionals, amateurs… Partnered with many artistic, cultural, teaching and research establishments, the BnF in Avignon also organizes exhibitions, lectures  and pedagogical activities.

 

Practical information