The François Mitterrand National Library in Paris
This building was built in 1995 to accommodate all the books published in France. It currently houses 13 million books, with room for many many more, as most of the towers are empty. It is huge!
It's hard to tell if this is one building or four, but the four towers that you see across the river don't have entrances. The only way into them is from the lower levels below ground, which connect the four towers, so I think it is really just one very large building. You want to go over and take a closer look?
They planted trees - or are those shrubs or hedges? Well whatever they were supposed to soften the hard angles of the building. What do you think?
Do they look better in the sunlight? I was here 3 times, once on a sunny day, but I didn't take many pictures that day, because I already had taken lots. I forgot that it had been so dreary the first day, though.
I read that the winds were so strong here they had to protect the trees with these steel cages. It's hard to imagine any other reason for the cages. Were the trees running away? See that old water tower? That was the only thing in this neighborhood more than 20 years old, I think.
Okay, turning back to the building. Here you see three of the four towers. The platform we are walking on is wood - teak or some southern hemisphere wood.
You can see right through the towers to the other side.
There are two entrances labeled East and West. Yes that is the west entrance. Behind that slanting wall is a ramp that takes you down to the entrance of the building.
But before we go down, let's take one more look at one of the towers nearby. There are wooden panels inside each window that swivel open or closed.
See those green things on the right? What do you think those are? Shrubs? The tops of pine trees? Oh good guess.
Okay, we are finally going down towards the entrance, down that ramp, and now you can see more of the forest that is down here in the center of the building. They brought dozens of full-grown trees in here and planted them at the lowest level of the building.
Another shot of the forest. Here you can see the corridors that connect the towers.
Had enough glass and steel? Want to head back across that bridge to the lovely park on the other side of the river?
I don't think this will be anyone's favorite page, but this building deserved a page of it's own. If you'd like to see more including a photo of one of the interior try this site.
Don't you feel a need to get out and see some sun and flowers now? Try one of these parks Luxembourg, Tuileries, Belleville
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