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“A landmark worth a visit”

French National Library (Bibliotheque Nationale de France)
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US$86.76*
and up
Bateaux Parisiens Seine River Dinner Cruise
Ranked #189 of 1,275 things to do in Paris
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: This modern glass and chrome masterpiece standing on the banks of the Seine River is also one of the largest research libraries in the world.
Reviewed 27 January 2017 via mobile

You can get there by bus, metro or RER very easily. If your interest is in the library as a structure alone, just go there. However, if you are interested in using the resources, you need to apply for a card for a fee.
Reading rooms also require the card, except for limited times in the evening. Even the reference room requires the card. The research library is located on the lower level, and you have to pay attention to opening hours. You may also access the library catalog (as well as a union catalog of French libraries) from the comfort of your home. The website is bnf.fr, and the portal is multilingual.
The four buildings comprising the library, overlook a gorgeous garden, with wide internal walkways connecting them. Plenty of free photography exhibits along the passageways. On the upper level of the library you will find a cafe as well as vending machines in one of the public areas.
Stroll around before or after you visit and enjoy the river and landscape.
A multi screen commercial cineplex is located outside the library.

2  Thank Atef Z
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"modern architecture"
in 3 reviews
"louis xiv"
in 2 reviews
"book lovers"
in 2 reviews
"temporary exhibits"
in 2 reviews
"seine river"
in 2 reviews
"on display"
in 2 reviews
"globes"
in 7 reviews
"francois"
in 7 reviews
"libraries"
in 5 reviews
"subjects"
in 3 reviews
"expos"
in 2 reviews
"photographs"
in 4 reviews
"france"
in 8 reviews
"french"
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"literature"
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"art"
in 6 reviews
"sites"
in 3 reviews
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4 - 8 of 195 reviews

Reviewed 16 December 2016

We had several "must see" venues for my companion who is a volunteer guide in the French language at the American Museum of Natural History; I've reviewed each of those sites here on TripAdvisor.

I was awarded one site and relied on the wonderful "Atlas Obscura" to guide our steps. It led us to something truly strange and wonderful -- two gigantic globes.

The 20-foot spheres were commissioned by King Louis XIV, France’s Sun King, in 1681. During his 72-year reign (the longest in European history, dubbed the “Grand Century”) the monarch presided over a golden age of art and literature in France, and established the country as a leading power in Europe.

Louis XIV commissioned the spheres after seeing the globes that belonged to his friend, the Duke of Parma. They instantly became a sensation, perceived as a symbol of the the French monarchy’s ownership of the world. Italian cartographer Vincenzo Coronelli delicately crafted his globes from thin strips of wood, fine fabric, and plaster, which incredibly have survived up till today. The spheres lived at Versailles—a former hunting lodge which Louis XIV transformed into a lavish palace—until the French Revolution, after which they were moved from place to place before finally settling at the historic library, where they are among the most popular attractions on display.

We plan to use the same guidebook elsewhere; I'm working through each of the New York City entries now.

1  Thank robcurtross
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 November 2016

We've been here many times to view the temporary exhibits on the subjects of French history and art. Some are free. Come and form your own opinion of the modern architecture of France's major investment in a new library. You might want to avoid the outdoor plaza on a windy or rainy day as it is downright dangerous and a design flaw.

Thank Thomas V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 October 2016

Nice place for a walk. As it was next to the bus station, then I had to cross it to reach the city. I wish I had had more time to explore this place, seemed to be cool.

Thank g_marianaa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 9 April 2016

Inaugurated in December 1996, the Bibliothèque Nationale de France - architect D. Perrault - is a resolutely contemporary architecture made of wood, glass and steel. It is arranged around a central garden and consists schematically of a vast rectangular base forming an esplanade and four square towers on the corners. At the top of the garden, the Bibliothèque offers 1,600 reading spaces spread across 5 departments (sciences and technical subjects; art and literature; political, legal and economical sciences; philosophy, history, human sciences and sociology; audiovisual). The collections (300,000 volumes) are accessible for those aged 16 and over. A part of the Library, situated at the garden level, is reserved for research workers. Two exhibition rooms can host temporary exhibitions which highlight heritage collections housed in different sites (Richelieu, Arsenal, François Mitterrand, Bibliothèque-Musée de l'Opéra). A programme of concerts and conferences is offered in two auditoriums.

3  Thank yvesganansia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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