The National Library of France finally finished after a 10-year renovation


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The National Library of France finally finished after a 10-year renovation

Formerly known as the King’s Library, the Richelieu site of the National Library of France near the Palais-Royal finally finished construction after almost 10 years of renovations. The transformation of the 300-year-old site included façade restorations, the installation of an interior garden and the maintenance of the facilities, promoting innovation, modernity and openness to a wider audience. The project, which is both a library and a museum, will continue to house a huge campus of the history of arts and heritage and will offer visitors a place to stroll, discover and exchange. The site is expected to be open to the public in the summer of 2022.

© Takuji Shimmura / BnF© JC Ballot / BnF© JC Ballot / BnF© Takuji Shimmura / BnF+ 12

The work of the library is considered to be one of the major projects carried out by the Ministry of Culture and Communication with the support of the Ministry of National Education, Higher Education and Research. The architects in charge of the renovation were Atelier Bruno Gaudin, as well as AEGIS, CASSO, and 8’18.

© Takuji Shimmura / BnF
© Takuji Shimmura / BnF

Visitors can access the library on a route from the Louvre to the Opera, near the Palais-Royal and the Comédie Française. Its two entrances rue Vivienne and rue de Richelieu will become a central point of the city, inviting passers-by to discover an exceptional heritage in the heart of Paris. The Richelieu site will offer the public completely redesigned spaces, including a new museum with a route that will tell the story from Antiquity to the present day both chronologically and thematically.


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© Takuji Shimmura / BnF
© Takuji Shimmura / BnF

The monumental structure has been renovated to preserve its historical collections and maintain international standards of safety and accessibility. After the renovation, more than 20 million documents were kept in the new library. 30,000 m² of the 58,000 m² of the building have been renovated in 10 years. The first phase of the work, which took place from 2011 to 2016, included renovations on half of the building located along rue de Richelieu, which includes exhibition spaces, a bookstore, a café, educational spaces and commercial stores. From 2017 to 2021, renovations were carried out on half of the building which is located along rue Vivienne, which includes the Mazarine gallery, the oval room, the King’s Cabinet, the Vivienne garden and the museum.

© Takuji Shimmura / BnF
© Takuji Shimmura / BnF

In 2011, photographer Franck Bohbot shared with ArchDaily photographs of the National Library with a completely empty interior, before the renovation.


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