One of the world’s most beautiful libraries has reopened to the public following a monumental 15-year-long renovation.
Bruno Gaudin Architectes spent a decade-and-a-half overhauling Paris’ Bibliothèque Nationale de France, including its vast and ornate reading room, nicknamed the Oval Paradise. The renovation saw the architects modernise the entirety of the Beaux Arts library building, adding a new entrance – designed to open up the library to the public – as well as a spiralling aluminium staircase that’s part of an updated visitor trail. New shelving and lights have been installed in the Oval Room, where over 200,000 volumes are available for people to browse.
Visitors can also enjoy views into reading rooms that were previously unseen by the public, giving a taste of the library’s various architectural styles, which span the 17th through to the 21st centuries. Bruno Gaudin has connected the east and west wing of the library with a new glass walkway, which offers a new perspective on the building.
Another major addition to the site is a 1,200-sq-m museum, which will encompass various historic rooms of the library, including the Mazarin Gallery, which is home to a set of freshly restored Baroque frescoes.
The museum will display manuscripts, prints and photographs as well as various pieces such as costumes, a Charlemagne chess set and the bronze Throne of Dagobert.