The Parisian Sainte-Geneviève Library is a marvelous library which quietly sits alongside the Pantheon.
The current building is the work of the French architect Henri Labrousse – who combined lime stone and cast iron from the industrial revolution – and dates from 1851.
However, the library as such existed long before, since the existence of a library dedicated to Sainte-Geneviève is attested in the 12th century.
Cardinal de la Rochefoucauld, who took possession of the premises in 1616, bequeathed all of his personal collections and archives to the library in 1640.
The collections were enriched until the Revolution under the aegis of the successive librarians.
National property in 1790, the library survived the national Revolution and even benefited from revolutionary confiscations and various seizures of the Napoleonic wars, thus enriching itself with some 20,000 volumes from a wide variety of sources.
It became one of the first Parisian libraries open to the public.
The building as such is very bright thanks to the forty windows arranged all along the room. To put it simply: it is a wonder. Books, light, what more could you ask for, honestly?
January 7, 2022