Top 8 Most Beautiful and Original Libraries in Paris

Paris is full of exceptional libraries in which you can sit comfortably and enjoy silence. You have a large choice at your disposal: university libraries, public libraries, multimedia libraries… Here is our top 8 of the most beautiful and original libraries to discover in Paris.


Bibliothèque de la Sorbonne

Address: 17 rue de la Sorbonne, 75005 Paris

The Bibliothèque De La Sorbonne
Photo credit © Gouts under CC BY-SA 4.0

Located in the most prestigious university in Paris, the Bibliothèque de la Sorbonne is definitely one of the most beautiful libraries in the French capital.

It is not easy to focus on books when you have such beautiful ivory moldings and romantic paintings on the ceilings. Take a seat and study in this exceptional place which is as beautiful as the Palace of Versailles’ library.

To borrow a book, you need to be a student, a researcher or a teacher at the Sorbonne but anyone can visit the library for free.

Opening hours:

  • Monday to Friday — 9am to 8pm.

Sainte Geneviève Library

Address: 10 place du Panthéon, 75005 Paris

The Sainte Geneviève Library
Photo credit © Marie-Lan Nguyen under CC BY 2.0 FR

Saint Geneviève Library is often mentioned in national and international rankings of the most beautiful libraries in France and in the world, and once there, you will understand why!

This library opened in 1851 and is as sumptuous as the Panthéon, which is located right nearby.

Enter this building and discover its large ornate stained glass windows, its columns, its vault ceilings and its stone statues.

This library looks like a church and its architecture is breathtaking, as is its book selection. It can entertain you for months as there are billions of choices.

Opening hours:

  • Monday to Saturday — 10 am to 10pm.

Médiathèque de la Canopée Fontaine

Address: 10 passage de la Canopée, 75001

The Mediathèque De La Canopée Fontaine
Photo credit © Thomas Guignard under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Are you looking for an original library where you can read in a relaxed atmosphere, far from students studying for their exams? The Médiathèque de la Canopée Fontaine is made for you!

No tables, no chairs, no computers — there are only poufs, cushions and hammocks in which you can lie down. If you want to feel in a garden during summer, this large covered library awaits you.

Opening hours:

  • On Monday, Tuesday and Friday — 2pm to 7pm.
  • On Wednesday and Saturday — 9am to 12:30pm, 2pm to 6pm.

Bibliothèque l’Heure Joyeuse

Address: 6 rue des Prêtres Saint-Séverin, 75005 Paris

The L'Heure Joyeuse Library

This library opened in 1924 and was the first library dedicated to children in the entire country. L’Heure Joyeuse is a fun and colorful library which puts a smile on its visitors’ faces, which are mostly young people.

There is everything you need to initiate your children into reading — illustrated books, youngling novels, etc. But do not worry, since it has opened, this library has changed and now there are also books for their parents.

Here we go for a family reading session!

Opening hours:

  • On Tuesday, Thursday and Friday — 4pm to 7pm
  • On Wednesday and Saturday — 10am to 6pm

Bibliothèque François Truffaut

Address: Forum des Halles,  4 rue du Cinéma, 75001 Paris

The Bibliothèque François Truffaut
Photo credit © DORVAL under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

If you love cinema, this library is perfect for you.

The Bibliothèque François Truffaut was named after a famous French film director and is dedicated to cinema.

There are plenty of books about cinema, more than 16.000 DVDs you can borrow, etc. everything you need in order to read and watch movies for hours!

This library also offers viewing sessions every Saturday. The theme changes every week, which is perfect to expand your culture.

Opening hours:

  • On Tuesday and Friday — noon to 6pm
  • On Wednesday and Saturday — 10am to 5pm
  • On Thursday — 2pm to 6pm

Bibliothèque de l’Hôtel de Ville

Address: 5 rue de Lobau, 75004 Paris

The Bibliothèque De l'Hôtel De Ville
Photo credit © Thomas Guignard under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Have you ever wondered what a library dating from the early Renaissance looks like?

Enter the main room of the Bibliothèque de l’Hôtel de Ville and you will have your answer!

Its small rooms which are entirely covered with woodwork and its earthen globe right in the middle of the room will take you back in time.

In this library, most of the books concern Paris, its history, its architecture and its monuments.

This is the perfect place to expand your knowledge on Paris in a splendid decor.

Opening hours:

  • Monday to Friday -9:30am to 6pm

Médiathèque Marguerite Yourcenar

Address: 41 rue d’Alleray, 75015 Paris

The Médiathèque Marguerite Yourcenar
Photo credit © Luc Boegly

The Médiathèque Marguerite Yourcenar is one of the favorite Parisian libraries for students, researchers and Parisian people in general.

It only opened 10 years ago and is so popular that, every day, students queue from early in the morning to enter!

It is especially popular because it is partly dedicated to music. You can borrow CDs, vinyls and even instruments!

Opening hours:

  • On Tuesday and Thursday — 1pm to 7pm
  • On Wednesday, Friday and Saturday — 10am to 6pm
  • On Sunday — 1pm to 6pm

Bibliothèque Mazarine

Address: 23 Quai de Conti, 75006 Paris

The Bibliothèque Mazarine
Photo credit © Marie-Lan Nguyen under CC BY 2.0 FR

The Bibliothèque Mazarine dates back to 1643 and is the oldest public library in all of France.

Since its opening, it has been opened to the public, teachers, researchers, students as well as literature and culture lovers.

You will find books stored from floor to ceiling.

You can not borrow books but they are (almost) all available to read when the library is open.

Sit around a table surrounded by famous writers’ busts and enjoy this impressive decor.

Opening hours:

  • Monday to Friday -10am to 6pm