10 of the Most Beautiful Libraries in Paris

There is no doubt about it: when it comes to intricate architecture and well-decorated buildings, Parisian structures always take the cake. Paris is the birthplace of so many architectural revolutions, an example of which would include the Hausmann renovations.

Aside from popular chateaus in and around Paris, Parisian libraries also portray the talent of French architectures of yore. You can see these displays of art by visiting ten of the most beautiful libraries in Paris.

Bibliothèque de la Sorbonne

Bibliothèque de la Sorbonne is the largest library in Paris today. You can visit it, as a school visitor to the University of Sorbonne in 47, rue des Écoles, 75005. The library houses books relating to Medicine, Pharmacology, Law, and Letters.

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Richelieu Library

Located a few blocks away, in the 2nd arrondissement, is another library known for its oval reading room, one that may remind you of the oval office in the White House. The Richelieu Library was opened to the public in 1868, making it one of the oldest centers for learning in Paris.

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Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal

In the beautiful Marais district, you will find this library dedicated to military history and all things related to the French Arsenal. Of course, there are several sections of the library dedicated to other topics. Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal in 1 rue de Sully, 75004 is the ideal destination for all those interested to learn more about France’s military history. The library itself is houses in a military building.

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Bibliothèque historique de la ville de Paris

 Most libraries in Paris contain collections of manuscripts and other works of art by French writers and philosophers. The Bibliothèque historique de la ville de Paris, for example, houses works pertaining to Paris as written by French writers. You can learn more about Paris’ history from this library than from anyone else.

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Bibliothèque Marguerite Durand

For avid supporters of women’s rights, Bibliothèque Marguerite Durand in the 13th district may be a good place to get some R and R and to browse over works by popular women’s rights supporters and writers. The library and vast collection of novels and magazines found here were started by Marguerite Durand.

Bibliothèque Nationale de France

Located not too far away from the Marguerite Durand Library is another large repository of books and knowledge. One of the largest libraries in Paris today, the government-run library houses works from all over the world as well as valuable collections by French writers, most of whom are natives of Paris.

American Library in Paris

It has become more difficult for foreign exchange students to find books and other works of art in the English language, but the American Library in Paris has always supplied this need. Opened in 1920, the library is where you can find a vast collection of creations in the English language, as well as in French.

Bibliothèque Sainte-Barbe

Bibliothèque Sainte-Barbe was only founded in 2009 but it has become a top favorite for tourists and locals alike. The library’s modern interior and smart furnishings make it a top hit among architecture students as well as enthusiasts of modern interior. Aside from its interior, which has left many Parisians impressed, the Bibliothèque Sainte-Barbe is also where you can find one of the widest collections and categories of books.

Bibliothèque Mazarine

The oldest library in Paris yet would have to be Bibliothèque Mazarine in the 6th arrondissement. It is believed that construction on the library began as early as the 1600’s; others insist that Bibliothèque Mazarine was built prior these years. Either way, being Paris’ oldest library must be enough recognition for this landmark.

Médiathèque Musicale Mahler

It is uncommon to hear musical instruments in a  library but the Médiathèque Musicale Mahler has managed to bend this rule time and again. In fact, the Médiathèque Musicale Mahler is not just any ordinary library: it is a library dedicated to musical instruments. Expect to hear some violins and clarinet whenever you are visiting.