8 Most Beautiful and Unique Libraries in Paris

Paris is filled with amazing libraries where you can sit cozily and enjoy the quiet. You’ve got lots of choices: from university libraries to public ones, and even multimedia libraries. Let’s check out the most beautiful and unique libraries in Paris.


Bibliothèque de la Sorbonne

 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.



Sainte Geneviève Library

 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.



Médiathèque de la Canopée Fontaine

 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.


Bibliothèque l’Heure Joyeuse

 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!



Bibliothèque François Truffaut

 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 for expanding your culture.



Bibliothèque de l’Hôtel de Ville

 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 of Paris in splendid decor.



Médiathèque Marguerite Yourcenar

 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!

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Bibliothèque Mazarine

 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.