Françoise Miterrand Library

Françoise Miterrand Library (78)

The main centre of the National Library of France is linked to the library known as the "Mitterrand site", a building opened in 1996.

What did the president of the Republic have to do with the library? He was, in fact, the very person who promoted the construction of a new building to manage the bibliographic archives and ensure the general public has access to them. Mitterrand wanted, in his own words, a very big, completely new library, that will cover all the fields of knowledge, use the most modern data transmission technologies and be able to be consulted long-distance and connected to other large European libraries.

An ambitious idea that the architect Dominique Perrault was entrusted to build.

The François Mitterrand Library is a massive project that occupies an area greater than seven hectares. In each of its corners is an eighty-metre high tower with 23 floors, called the time, arts, numbers and laws towers. Each one symbolises open books. 

The towers are used for offices and book storage.

Around the reading rooms a “woody courtyard” has been created with 140 pine trees that are 50 years old. The library contains around 12 million volumes in its 420 kilometres of shelving.  

In this new building, as well as the reading and research rooms there are two exhibition rooms and two auditoriums for talks, conferences and concerts. In the west hall it is impossible to miss two massive globes of nearly 4 metres’ diameter and each weighing two tons, which represent the earth and the skies. They are the Coronelli globes, a Venetian monk who will be remembered in history for his representations of globes. And he built them as a gift for King Louis XIV.

If you get the chance, you really must have a wander around this temple of arts.

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