Nearly 12 million books are stored in this sprawling symbol of French literacy, which has evolved since the 17th century as a combination of the royal library with 17th century as a combination of the royal library with that of Cardinal Mazarin. A copy of every publication made in France has to be deposited here. The original Hôtel Tubeuf gradually accumulated adjacent annexes, culminating in the Galerie Colbert, which exhibits prints and phorographs. All this will be moved in 1997, but for now take a look at the soaring glass-domed reading room in the main building, designed by Labrouste, or the sumptuous Galerie Mazarine, designed by François Mansart.

francois-miterrand-library

library

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