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“What an architectural disaster”

French National Library (Bibliotheque Nationale de France)
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Owner description: This modern glass and chrome masterpiece standing on the banks of the Seine River is also one of the largest research libraries in the world.
Reviewed 13 January 2013

President Francois Mitterrand must have been a real megalomaniac - and a great spender of public money.
I am not against contemporary architecture at all, but this library is seriously ugly and not ageing with grace.
We saw a good exhibition though, on ancient maps.

1  Thank florence1805
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 11 January 2013

This is a great place to work, once you are safely inside and they have some interesting exhibitions and, of course, a great collection of books and periodicals. It is not cheap to study there (60 euros for a year), but the service once inside is good. The problem is getting in, especially if it is wet or icy - the wooden decking on the esplanade is lethal - ask any reader and they will have fallen or known somebody who has fallen. Some researchers will not go there in the winter because they are likely to fall. The librarians know better, they go in via the car park. This is a mad design, totally impractical for the person who wants access to books and who is afraid of a fall. Wood/rain/ice just do not go together...

1  Thank Malcolm C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 September 2012

This library has an impressive collection of resources from a range of different disciplines, including art, design, science, philosophy, social sciences and humanities, and foreign languages.

You need to pay to access the collection, but the annual subscription fees are not expensive if you plan to use the collection regularly.I paid 20 euros for an annual student subscription - however, I wasn't expecting to pay anything so was surprised when I arrived!

There is also free Internet usage at selected terminals, although this is usually limited to one and a half hours per session.

For me, the collections are impressive but I did not find this a conducive place to work as I didn't have my own laptop at the time. You can't use a USB stick in any of the computers and most of the libraries had dim lighting, which did not maximise the use of the large windows facing the interior garden.

There are multiple vending machines for refreshments throughout the library - surprisingly serving some of the best coffee for 1 euro I've had in Paris! There is also a small cafe selling cheap salad formulas (salad, drink, dessert) between around 3 and 7 euros.

3  Thank thekathystar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 August 2012

The architecture is unique in the world and I find it quite a masterpiece of the modern art. I did not have enough time to check the interior also but it was a great experience to see it from the outside. There are four buildings in “open book” shape with a wonderful garden in the middle. The view is splendid and you feel so … small. No wonder is one of the largest and most modern libraries in the world hosting more than 30 million items.

1  Thank johnnee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 June 2012

The Bercy area is the south west of Paris an old industrial area that is extensively redeveloped. So no historical attractions here. The 4 buildings are meant to represent the 4 corners of a book, the new library of France. The upper area is very stark, almost brutal, but go down to the entry level . Get past the strict security and you can admire the interior. I was amazed by the larg numbers of students seemingly hard at work. Unfortunately security prevents sight seeing from the top of the towers. To appreciate the site cross the river over the amazing new bridge and whilst there enjoy Bercy park.

1  Thank Adrian H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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