Hell’s gate wide open at Paris National Library

Paris National Library historical site rue de Richelieu (just behind Palais-Royal gardens) was getting too small and obsolete so it has been completed by “the Very Large Library”, on east southbank. It was first opened to public on 12/20/1996 and the transfer of most collections was achieved in October 1998.

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Designed by Dominique Perrault, it is made of four 79 meters high towers, each closing a private garden corner and figuring an opened book : The Tower of Times, The Tower of Law, the Tower of Numbers, and the Tower of Literature.

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And beneath this noble knowledge, Library’s Inferno : locked rooms where are hidden books supposedly dangerous to read or to look at .

Since December 15, and up to March 2, all these shocking texts – among which well known by Marquis de Sade, Guillaume Apollinaire or Georges Bataille – as well as hot pictures, engravings and photos are exposed to all visitors over sixteen.

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Echoing this X rate exhibition, RATP has brought back to a form of life its completely forgotten station “Croix Rouge” (red cross) – nothing to do with the charity organization, but named after the place where its entry was located, between Mabillon and Sèvres-Babylone. No trace of it outside, no mention on any map, it has been closed since world war 2. Up to January 15, all passengers of line 10 can get “a sensory experience” (quite a Lynchean concept) for the price of subway fare.

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The ghost station is animated with red veils waving in a pink light, coming suddenly into view and shortly fading in the dark. If the driver slows down you might even take glimpse on some licentious picture.

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L’Enfer de la Bibliothèque : Eros au secret, Bibliothèque nationale, site Mitterrand, 11 quai François Mauriac 75013 Paris, Metro Bibliothèque François Mitterrand, tel 33(0)1 5379 59 59. Everyday except Mondays, Christmas Day, January 1, 10 AM to 19 , Sunday 13 to 19. Entrance 5 euros, forbidden under sixteen. For amateurs, beautiful catalogue : 38 euros. For more information, go to : http://www.bnf.fr/

Subway line 10 : Gare d’Austerlitz – Boulogne Pont de Saint-Cloud. Ghost station between Mabillon and Sèvres-Babylone.

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