This list includes the primary libraries in Paris and gives information on their catalogues and access. For the most current information, consult library websites.

Unlike most libraries in the United States, many libraries in Paris do not allow borrowing, and often only offer on-site consultation of books and other works. The Bibliothèque du Centre Pompidou (B.P.I.) and the majority of the municipal libraries have open access and are classified by the Dewey system. Many other French libraries however require students to register and sometimes even submit a research proposal in order for them to access library resources.

Few are open on Sunday besides B.P.I. and B.N.F.

Here, you will find the details regarding each library’s catalogue access, their hours, and a brief description of the library’s contents.

Note : “Collections” in France are often referred to as Fonds.


This online catalogue of the “Système Universitaire de Documentation” is a fundamental resource for finding physical documents. The French catalogue holds records of nearly 10 million documents, theses and periodicals—from books to maps to electronic resources—held by research centers, libraries, and archives. The catalogue gives the full text of documents if they are online, and shows where documents are held.

Open Access Libraries

These libraries should be consulted first, as they allow borrowing with your student card(s), and have a broad base of resources that are available. 

General Libraries/Centers of Documentation

Although these libraries often are easy to access, they are not lending libraries, so you may only consult materials on-site. That being said, they often provide good working spaces.

Specialized Libraries

These libraries are considered public, and so are generally open to all, on the condition that you show an ID (and sometimes proof of residency.) Often, given the fragile nature of the conserved documents and the lack of space, it is only possible to do research when requested.

Bookstores/Useful Links

A list of bookstores and other useful links