Bibliotheque Historique de la Ville de Paris or Library of the history of the city of Paris
Even though this is classed as a public library, it is more of a museum in Paris dedicated to the history of Paris, which was first started in 1872 by Jules Cousin after the Paris Commune and a fire destroyed the original library.
About the Bibliotheque Historique de la Ville de Paris Library
The Bibliotheque Historique de la Ville de Paris translates to the Library of the history of the City of Paris, yet is often just referred to as the BHVP, and is a public library that specialises in the history of Paris.
However, even the history of the Bibliotheque Historique de la Ville de Paris and also the Hotel Lamoignon where it is housed, are almost just as fascinating as the actual books and documents that you can discover.
In fact, today this library contains a collection of over a million different documents that relate to the history of the city of Paris and the Ile de France region and includes old photos, old maps and manuscripts.
There are a vast amount of old books and documents, many of which were from the original personal collection of Jules Cousin, who founded this library after the previous library at the Hotel de Ville was destroyed during the Paris Commune.
Plus, having the library first installed at the Hotel Carnavalet, which now holds the Musee Carnavalet, he collected many more books, drawings, postcards, printed manuscripts, plans and photographs to continually enrich the original collection.
The collections of monographs and journals are varied and address virtually any issue that you could think of arising in the capital city of France such as artistic, social and economic, along with numerous events that have taken place over the years.
You will be able to discover archives from Parisian families, correspondence from famous individuals, archaeological surveys, and much more, for a fascinating look back in time.
Some of the valuable pieces include literary leaves from the 18th century and part of the correspondence from Voltaire, who was a writer and philosopher who is buried in honour within the Pantheon, along with a large collection from the French Revolution, the library of George Sand and 5,000 volumes from the library of Guillaume Apollinaire.
The Bibliotheqye Historique de la Ville de Paris also houses the Library Association of the Theatre Authority, where it retains operatic and drama parts of data and collections that date back to the 19th century including posters, lyrics, etc.
You will also be able to discover Paris stories, old dictionaries, guides, biographies, factums of royal acts, around 15,000 mazarinades, or libels, that have been published and much more, yet many of these books and documents are so fragile, that these are not openly accessible to the public.
This is why we say that the library is also like a museum in Paris, as they hold temporary exhibitions and there have been over sixty different exhibitions so far, plus the collection is continually growing, both with purchases and donations, alongside more modern works as well.
Classed as one of the specialised libraries in Paris, at the bottom of the reading room you can also admire a painted canvas depicting a view of the Bastille and its surroundings in 1789, which was produced by Fedor Hoffbauer who was a painter and architect.
Visiting the Bibliotheque Historique de la Ville de Paris Library
This Library on the history of Paris is located in the Marais area in the 4th Arrondissement and is open from 10am through to 6pm on a Monday to Saturday, however, it is closed on a Sunday and on all national French holidays.
It is completely free to enter the library for on the spot consultation of many documents, but we would like to point out that you do have to provide an identity document with a photograph in order to obtain access, and for certain types of files you also have to give the reason behind your search.
You will find that it is situated within the Hotel Lamoignon also referred to as the Hotel d'Angouleme Lamoignon , which has been classified as one of the numerous historical monuments in Paris.
This is an unusual, yet fascinating place to discover, especially for those of you who are interested in the history of Paris, yet do not forget about the Musee Carnavalet, which is the museum in Paris that also depicts the history of the city through many different artefacts.
Access to the Bibliotheque Historique de la Ville de Paris
When it comes to reaching here via public transport, you will find that the nearest Metro stations are the Saint Paul stop serving line 1 or the Chemin Vert stop serving line 8 and it is close to many other tourist attractions in Paris such as the Musee Cognacq-Jay, the Place des Vosges and the Maison Victor Hugo, dedicated to the writer who is famous for the Hunchback of Notre Dame.
Alternatively, the bus lines 20, 29, 65, 67, 69, 75, 76 and 96 along with the Noctilien Night Bus Service via lines N02, N11 and N16 will also get you within walking distance of the Historical Library of the City of Paris and many other places you may wish to visit while on holiday in Paris such as the Musee Picasso and the Place de la Bastille.
Address and contact details
Bibliotheque Historique de la Ville de Paris, Hotel Lamoignon, 24 Rue Pavee, 75004, Paris, Ile de France, France
Tel: +33 (0) 1 44 59 29 40
Fax: +33 (0) 1 42 74 03 16
Hotel de Lamoignon
Bibliotheque Historique de la Ville de Paris history
Paris Metro lines 1, 8
Bus lines 22, 29
Bus lines 65, 67, 69
Bus lines 75, 76
Bus line 96
Night bus line N02
Night bus lines N11, N16
Attractions close by
Square Georges Cain
Square Leopold Achille
Le Double Fond
Carette Place des Vosges
Place des Vosges
Maison Victor Hugo
Hotel de Sully
Maison Europeenne de la Photographie
Colonne de Juillet
Jardin Roger Priou Valjean
Musee des Automates
Fontaine de Paradis