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Bibliothèque Mazarine

23, Quai de Conti, 75006 Paris -

bibliotheque mazarine library
Bibliotheca a fundatore mazarinea : The inscription engraved upon the pediment of the main courtyard's eastern portico describes the purpose of this wing of the Palais de l'Institut and carries on the memory of its founder, Cardinal Mazarin whose arms decorate the tympanum and whose bust sculpted by Lerambert greets the visitor.  Upon entering the main hall or reading room, one can catch a glimpse of Mazarin's arms placed above a black marble plate that reads Salle Gabriel Naudé, linking the founder of the library to its mastermind Naudé. Between 1642 and 1652, Naudé took on the task of setting up Mazarin's own library serving young Louis XIV and his prime minister, Mazarin could boast the most important privately owned and run library in Europe, which by 1652 contained close to 40.000 items. These books were kept in Mazarin's hôtel particulier, located on rue de Richelieu, where the Bibliothèque Nationale presently stands. Mazarin decided that his library would become  part of the future College to be founded according to his will dated 6 march 1661. The reading room, deliciously charming, is  65 meters  long with the entrance hall overlooking  the Seine. Both art gallery and study for the learned, the Bibliothèque Mazarine recreates the surroundings of an important XVIIth century library and its reading room, restored between 1968 and 1974, can accommodate up to 140 patrons. Depending on the nature of their research, readers can access the 500.000 printed volumes, 2370 incunabula (including a copy of  Gutenberg's Bible), 4639 manuscripts, portraits, prints, periodicals.

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