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Reopening a library fit for a king in Paris

Sep 28, 2022
After extensive restoration, the Louis XV Salon at the Bibliothèque nationale de France’s (BnF) Richelieu Library and the notable collection of antique objects it holds—including items from ancient Greece—have opened to the public.

The major renovation of the library took 12 years to complete, in multiple stages. The Louis XV Salon has been closed to visitors since 2016 as work took place to restore it to its original mid-18th-century appearance, down to the meticulously researched paint color: a delicate pink. Now, muses in gilded frames look down once more over a suite of exquisite 1742 coin cabinets, in a period room presided over by Louis XV himself—painted as Apollo.


See photos from the restoration process


Today part of the BnF museum, the room was originally kitted out to house a collection of coins, medallions, and engraved stones. Open to visitors since the mid-18th century, it has a claim to being Paris’s oldest museum.


The Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), which helped support the restoration work, was deeply grateful to be honored with the title of Grand Mécène de la Culture by France’s Minister of Culture.