Richelieu Library - Manuscripts Reading Room

The Manuscripts department is accessible to anyone with a research access pass. The reading room is shared with the Music Department.


USeful information

  • The reading room of the Manuscripts Department is located on the Richelieu site. The reading room is accessible to readers with an access ticket to the Research Library, Monday from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Readers are requested to leave their personal effects in the central cloakroom (level -1). Jackets, coats, umbrellas, bulky objects and large bags must be placed in the lockers made available to readers. A transparent case is offered to them to carry pencils, papers and computers.
  • The internal rules for reading rooms are included in the Rules for the spaces open to the public (BnF).

Services offered

  • Wood’s Lamps and light table as well as magnifying glasses and measuring tapes are available at the desk.
  • Wifi ; on-site access to  databases, as well as copyrighted digitalized in Gallica Intra Muros.
  • 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
  • 2 computer stations, 1 station dedicated to consulting audiovisual documents, 2 microform readers, 1 video enlarger.
  • 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.

Online Booking of documents
À savoir
The departement collections described in the BnF catalogue général (prints) and in the BnF Archives et Manuscrits catalog offrent la possibilité de réservation à l’avance.
It is possible to reserve up to 10 documents.
Some collections are currently being inventoried and not fully accessible. For any further information please contact

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
  • 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.

  • 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)

  • Mandchou

  • Oriental Prints (except part of the Chinese ; Corean ; and Japanese 500-3499, see below)

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)



particular terms of consultation
  time, conditions, locations
  • Catalogs of French or foreign booksellers
Communication with delay and by appointment (the catalogs of booksellers kept in the manuscripts department are only very partially indicated in the general catalog of printed matter).
  • New French Aquisitions after 28020
  • Orientalist Papers
  • Catalogs of French or foreign booksellers
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.
  • Pelliot (other than A andB) : Chinese Pelliot , Khotanese Pelliot, Kutchean Pelliot, Uyghur Pelliot, Sanscrit Pelliot , Sogdian Pelliot, Tibetan Pelliot, Xixia Pelliot, Pelliot varia
No communications on Saturday
  • Reserve (Orient and Occident)
  • Rothschild Library
No communications on Saturday
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 Pieces from the Reserve and the Rothschild Collection are issued only once to the same reader. Depending on the condition of the works, access may be limited to less than one day. It is therefore advisable to arrive at the opening of the room to benefit from a full day’s consultation.

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.