Secret corners of Paris: The Françoise Sagan Library

Sladjana Perkovic | Live the World

November 23, 2022

Located in the 10th arrondissement, just a few meters from the busy Magenta Boulevard and close to the Gare de l'Est, one of the biggest Parisian railway stations, you can find a true heaven for booklovers – the Francoise Sagan Library. Situated in the Saint-Lazare Square, which was formerly part of the Saint-Lazare prison, this library is set between three gardens, in beautiful and peaceful place, hidden from the intense traffic of the Parisian streets.

From leper colony to the library

Originally leprosarium or a leper colony, this building became in 1632 a place that was welcoming the poor and sick people. During the French Revolution, in 1789, the building was requisitioned and turned into a prison. The poet André Chénier and Marquis de Sade were prisoned there. Since 1811, it became a prison-hospital for women, where Louise Michel, the emblematic figure of the Paris commune and Mata Hari, the famous spy were prisoned. After few years of reconstruction works, the Françoise Sagan Library, one of the largest libraries in Paris, is inaugurated during the summer of 2015.

Heure Joyeuse

The Françoise Sagan Library has the total surface of 4,300 m², of which 2,600 are open to the public, making it one of the largest municipal libraries in Paris. The Mediterranean cloisters inspire the astonishing library interior garden that spreads on 1,000 m². The Library has a fund of nearly 100,000 documents and has a rich cultural program in its dedicated spaces. More than 30 000 documents are available to children from 0 to 12 years. The library also hosts the “Heure Joyeuse” fund, a heritage fund of more than 80,000 youth documents (albums, novels, documentaries, drawings, sound documents etc.) from the 16th century to present day. Adolescents and adults have access to many books, language methods but also cinema DVD, TV series, vinyl’s and the newsroom.

Practical Information

The Francoise Sagan Library is open Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 1pm to 7pm, Saturday from 10am to 6pm and Sunday from 1pm to 6pm. Weekly closing on Monday. Subscription to the library is free of charge.

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