Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris

The Bibliothèque nationale, the National Library of France, opened in 1996 with a futuristic design by Dominique Perrault.

Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Quai Francois-Mauriac, 13e, 75002, Paris, France

It boasts the same grandiose scale as the Cité de la Musique and houses the nation's literary and historic archives. It is regarded as a repository of the French soul, replacing outmoded facilities on rue des Archives.

The library incorporates space for 1,600 readers at a time, many of whom enjoy views over two levels of a garden-style courtyard that seems far removed from Paris's urban congestion.