The historic site of Richelieu, the historic birthplace of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, is starting a new life. This former imperial library, now divided into two spaces, the Labrouste room and the central store, reopened its doors in 2016 to house the INHA collections. A true architectural masterpiece, this unique place is strong of its historical heritage and its fame is international. The Labrouste Room, a reading room, now shines with all its brilliance. This space is a true architectural jewel, a testimony to the modernity and inventiveness of its creator, Henri Labrouste (1801-1875). Eventually, no less than 1.7 million documents will be available on a surface area of 4,500 square metres for readers and researchers.
Located in the heart of Paris between the Opéra and the Palais Royal, this reading space is at the heart of the sumptuous Salle Labrouste. The 16 cast-iron columns support the nine domes of the ceiling. These domes decorated with beige earthenware panels diffuse a uniform light throughout the room, an essential element for the working comfort of visitors to the Library. The surrounding passageways provide access to the works.
It can accommodate up to 230 people for dinner and up to 300 people for cocktails.
Behind the 9-metre high glass door framed by two monumental caryatids, one enters this vast space whose sobriety evokes industrial architecture: the contrast with the reading room, richly decorated, is striking. Over a rectangular floor surface area of 1,218 m² (2,218 sq ft), four levels of shelving are superimposed on either side of a wide central aisle.
From an architectural point of view, the central store is a real feat. Visits are possible for up to 100 people.