The French National Library (Bibliothèque nationale de France) commonly known as BNF is the most important library of the whole France.
Its activities are divided in several sites, the main one is the library called François-Mitterrand, situated in the 13th arrondissement, on the left bank. The library was designed by the French architect Dominique Perrault and is now managed by the French Ministry of Culture.
The complex is made of a large esplanade and four L-shaped towers.
The BNF keeps enormous and precious collections and more than 13 millions books and printings; it has also famous digital libraries like the Gallic and the European.
The National library cooperates with other national and international libraries and it is involved in several projects of research.

Furthermore the BNF often organizes artistic and cultural exhibitions followed by meetings and debates.
The library also handles the issue of two periodical magazines: Chroniques de la Bibliothèque nationale de France (also available online) that gives interesting information about the library and La Revue de la Bibliothèque nationale de France that publishes articles about the history of the BNF and its collections.
The Tolbiac site with the François-Mitterrand libraries, also known as Très grande bibliothèque, occupies a surface of 7,5 hectares.

The buildings that houses the BNF have been conceived by the architect Dominique Perrault and they are four L-shaped towers, 79 meters high, whose form recalls symbolically the shape of an open book.
Each tower has a specific name: Tour des temps, Tour des lois, Tour des nombres, Tour des lettres. The central part of the BNF is occupied by a big garden of 12 000 m², not accessible to public, that gives off a sensation of calm and relax.
The garden is made of pines coming from the wood of Bord.

Useful information

11, Quai François Mauriac
75013 Paris


Bibliothèque nationale

Individual visit only upon reservation, from Tuesday to Saturday from 2 p.m.
Group visit only upon reservation by calling

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