Richelieu Library - Manuscripts Reading Room

The reading room of the Department of Manuscripts is accessible to users holding a Research Pass. It seats 80 people with specific equipments for readers: 5 computer stations, 1 station dedicated to audiovisual documents, 12 microfom readers, 1 video enlarger.


Services offered

  • Document photography: if the state of documents permits it, photography with a personal camera is authorized for private use without flash. Some documents cannot be photographed for legal reasons: seek information at the desk.
  • Access to internet, computerized catalogs, and online databases, from a personal laptop or from the room’s computer stations
  • Wood’s Lamps and illuminated tablets as well as magnifying glasses and measuring tapes are available at the desk
  • A display featuring the latest department acquisitions

conditions for Consultations

  • The handling of documents is subject to certain precautions detailed in this document. As indicated by the BnF, gloves are also not recommended for handling paper and parchment documents, they may be for other specific media.

  • Only pencils and laptops are authorized.

  • Food and beverages must be consumed outside of the room

  • Mobile phones must be switched to silent mode.

  • Personal belongings must be stored in the lockers in the entry hall.

  • For documents which have been reproduced, the reproduced version will be communicated to you. Requests for the consultation of original manuscripts have to be justified in the reservation form of the document in your personal online space.


Book your documents online


Communication of documents

direct communication
  Time,  conditions, locations
  • African
  • American
  • Angrand
  • Arabic
  • Archives (BnF ; Manuscript departement)
  • Armenian
  • Asselin
  • Assyrien
  • Atlases (all format except printed)
  • Baluze
  • Berber
  • Brequigny
  • Burnouf
  • Cabinet of Titles (original Pieces, d’Hozier, Dossiers bleus, Chérin, Armorial)
  • Chappée
  • Clairambault
  • Coislin
  • Colbert
  • Coptic language
  • Duschesne
  • Dupuy
  • Egyptian
  • Érudits (Baluze, Bréquigny, Chappée, Clairambault, Colbert, Duchesne, Dupuy, Joly de Fleury, Moreau)
  • Ethiopian, Abbadie, Harari
  • Facsimiles
  • Feer
  • French 1 to 26484
  • Georgian
  • Greek; supplement-Greek
  • Hebrew
  • Indian
  • Japanese
  • Joly de Fleury
  • Modern languages (German, English, Celtic and Basque, Spanish, Italian, Dutsch, Portuguese, Romanian, Scandinavian, Slavic langage)
  • Latin, New Latin Acquisition (NAL)
  • Moreau
  • New French Acquisitions (NAF) : NAF 1 to NAF 28020
  • Oriental Papers
  • Persian
  • Provinces (Burgundy, Champagne, Flanders and Artois, Languedoc- Bénédictins, Languedoc-Doat, Lorraine, Périgord, Picardy, Touraine-Anjou, Vexin)
  • Sabean
  • Samaritan
  • Sanskrit
  • Seymour de Ricci
  • Smith-Lesouef (except Vietnamese)
  • Syriac language
  • Turkish  

Communication on the same day at the following pickup times

  • 10:30 am
  • 11:30 am
  • 2 pm
  • 3:30 pm

Documents requested after 3:30 PM will be communicated the next day at 10 am

  • Chinese 1 à 9084 (7)
  • From Chinois 9084 (8), see delayed communication.
Communication in Reading Room Y (Site François-Mitterrand, Rare Books Reserve)
Communication with delay
  Time,  conditions, locations
  • Freemasonry Collection

  • Prints (except Rothschild Library)


Communication with delay
Request deposits in the rooms or online from Monday to Thursday until 5 pm to receive documents two days later at 10 am.


  • Chinese* woodcuts and prints. 9084 (8) and sq, except particular formats
  • - Korean documentary prints

  • Rochemonteix estampage

  • Indochinese

  • Inscriptions on Pyramids

  • Inscriptions from Cambodia

  • Inscriptions from Nepal

  • Japanese prints 500 to 3499

  • Malayo-Polynesian languages

  • Maspero

  • Mongolian language

  • Pali

  • Pelliot A and  B (except atlas)

  • Tibetan language

  • Vietnamese A, B, and C

  • Smith-Lesouëf Vietnamese


Communication with delay
Request deposits (in the room or remotely) :

  • From Friday afternoon to Tuesday noon to receive documents on Wednesday at 3 pm
  • From Tuesday afternoon to Thursday noon to receive documents on Friday at 3 pm
  • From Thursday afternoon to Friday noon to receive documents on Monday at 3 pm (beware: the confirmation email mistakenly lets believe that documents are received on Saturday and not Monday)




  • Manchu language
  • Other oriental prints (except Chinese part, Korean a,d Japanese 500-3499, see above)



Communication with delay.
Request deposits in the rooms or online from Monday to Thursday until 5 pm to receive documents two days later at 10 am.


particular terms of consultation
  time, conditions, locations
  • New French Aquisitions after 28021
Communication with delay and by appointment for those collection whose file plan has not yet been completed . For some collections, an authorization by the donator is necessary.
  • Reserve (Orient and Occident)
  • Rothschild Libary
Communication after authorization by the director, from Mondy to friday (3 per day). The documents are communicated between 10AM and 10:30AM and between 1:30PM and 2PM
No communications on Saturday

A Video Presentation of the Department of Manuscripts

La salle de lecture du département des Manuscrits La Mandarine. © BnF, 2016. Durée : 4 min 40 s

The reading room of the Department of Manuscripts is one of he first rooms of the BnF to have been opend on 15 decembre 2016.
Isabelle Le Masne de Chermont, director of the Department, presents in French the history of this room and talks about the restauration.