Guides by Lonely Planet
Bibliothèque Nationale de France
With four glass towers shaped like half-open books, the National Library of France, opened in 1995, was one of President Mitterand's most ambitious and costliest grands projets. Some 12 million tomes are stored on 420km of shelves and the library can accommodate 2000 readers and 2000 researchers. Excellent temporary exhibitions (entrance E) revolve around ‘the word' – from storytelling to bookbinding and French heroes. Exhibition admission includes free same-day access to the reference library.