Site Richelieu : the BNF's new jewel has reopened

Site Richelieu : the BNF's new jewel has reopened

In autumn 2022, the historic birthplace of the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BNF), the Richelieu site, reopened its doors after more than 10 years of renovation work! Here's a chance for you to discover this site steeped in history, which you should definitely visit during your stay in Paris. 

The BNF is no longer just the Bibliothèque François Mitterrand in the 13th arrondissement. Now, the Richelieu site has been given a facelift and is enthroned in the heart of the 2nd arrondissement, near the gardens of the Palais Royal. Over the centuries, the building has seen constant change : first it was a palace, then it housed the King's library, the Stock Exchange and the Treasury.

Today, the Galerie Mazarin is a library and museum, bringing together works of the French cultural and architectural history since the 17th century. You'll be captivated by the rich décor of this vast, long room, whose vaulted ceiling was painted by Italian artists in the 17th century. The entire museum covers 1200m2 divided into 7 rooms, displaying works from Antiquity to the present day. 

The architects who renovated the buildings were naturally keen to preserve the original heritage of the site, while imagining a more contemporary vision, to rethink the spaces as a whole. The Mazarin gallery, for example, is accessible via a brand new staircase that also serves the BNF museum. 

But the highlight of the show is undoubtedly the Oval Room, also known as the "Oval Paradise". Originally designed at the end of the 19th century by the architect Jean-Louis Pascal, it impresses by its huge 20-metre high glass ceiling. An enormous skylight overlooking 20,000 books that are now freely available for consultation.


Practicalities about the Richelieu site : 
5, rue Vivienne or 58, rue de Richelieu (Paris 2) depending on the areas you wish to visit
Metro lines 3 (Bourse), 1 and 7 (Palais-Royal-Musée du Louvre), 7 and 14 (Pyramides).
Bus lines 20, 29, 39, 74, 85

> See details on the official website for timetables and fares, which may change depending on the zones you wish to access.


Photos Amandine Goetz