The Arsenal Library (Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal) was founded by a man named René d’Argenson (1652-1721) and was declared a public library in 1797.
This historical sign about the Arsenal Library says that this was the site of a royal arsenal from the fourteenth century. There was a fire here in 1716, after which the architect Boffrand (that would be Germain Boffrand, 1667-1754) reconstructed the arsenal and built the long, narrow building which now houses the library.
The author Charles Nodier (1780–1844) was the librarian of the Arsenal Library from 1824 until his death twenty years later. During these years he established an influential literary salon which included such writers as Victor Hugo, Alfred de Musset and Alexander Dumas.
Charles Nodier was twenty-two years older than Victor Hugo, but by coincidence they were both born not only in the same city, Besançon, but also on the same square, which was then called Place Rondot Saint-Quentin but is now called Place Victor Hugo. (Decades later, the inventors Auguste and Louis Lumière were also born on the same square.)
The Arsenal Library is now one of the four Paris sites of the National Library of France. The other three are:
In front of the Arsenal Library there is a sculpture by Jean-Robert Ipoustéguy (1920-2006) in honor of the poet Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891). The sculpture was commissioned by the President of the Republic, François Mitterrand, and was set up here in 1985.
The Arsenal Library is located between Rue de Sully and Boulevard Morland, across from the Pavillon de l’Arsenal, the center for urbanism and architecture of Paris and vicinity.
Location and aerial view of the Arsenal Library on monumentum.fr.
My photos in this post are from 2014. I revised the text in 2020.
See more posts on the 4th arrondissement of Paris.