Paris is everything but a quiet city, which can sometimes make it challenging for students to find spots where they can work efficiently. You might be tempted to simply head to the nearest Starbucks, but you will quickly notice that they are usually among the most crowded and noisiest coffeeshops in town. Besides, most regular cafés Parisiens are not really student-friendly in terms of atmosphere, tariffs, equipment or policy.
Loud conversations, uncomfortable chairs, no wi-fi or lack of laptop plugs are students’ biggest fears, and this is why we compiled a bunch of places in Paris where you won’t have to face them. Whether you have classical tastes and need a proper library to study, or you would rather write your essays in a cosy café, you will find your perfect spot in this list of the 7 best places to study in Paris.
The classics: best libraries to study in
Located in the heart of Paris, the Centre Pompidou Library is one of the most famous and modern ones of the capital. It is divided into several large floors and contains regular study areas, computer zones, and probably all the books you could ever look for. The waiting line to get in can be long but it usually moves fast. During the week, the library is open from 12am to 10pm, and from 11am to 10pm. /! Be careful, it is closed on Tuesdays.
La bibliothèque Mazarine
The Mazarine Library, built in the early 1640s, is the most ancient public library in France, and its fancy, antique, wooden style make it one of the most beautiful. Its capacity – 140 seats – isn’t outstanding but it contains an incredible number of rare books and literature works, which is one of its undeniable assets. The library is open to readers and visitors from Monday to Friday from 10am to 6pm.
La bibliothèque nationale de France François Mitterrand
Inaugurated in 1995, this Parisian library is the biggest in France, and even has its own metro station (Grande Bibliothèque, Line 14) ! As a consequence, it obviously offers a lot of space for studying and its documentation is one of the most complete. In case you are still not convinced, the library also has its own cafeteria, which makes it worth waiting in line (for quite long at times) to get in. To access the library, visitors have to pay €3.50 per day (but it’s free after 5pm), or €38 for an annual pass.
La bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève
Without any doubt the most chic option. Commonly referred to as BSG, this library is aesthetically outstanding and its wooden arcades and green lamps will remind you of Harry Potter’s decor. The library is strategically located in the Quartier Latin, near various academic institutions, however, it is frequent to have to wait in line for a while before entering – but definitely worth it.
The alternatives: best cafés to study in
If you are among those who prefer to study in a more relaxed environment and with the possibility to work in groups or talk with your friends, which isn’t the case in a library, you need to know about these places.
L’AntiCafé is an innovative café with a simple concept : you pay for the time you stay, while they provide you with unlimited coffee, snacks, and wi-fi. The purpose of this coffeeshop is to make people feel like at home, which is why you can even bring your own food or drinks. L’AntiCafé is definitely a very practical place for students as it also offers projectors, printers, scanners and board games. The atmosphere is more relaxed than in a library, most chairs are big and comfortable and you can charge your phone or laptop in its various plugs.
To enjoy their beverages and their buffet (mainly made of juices, cakes, crackers, bread and fruit) you must pay €4 for the first hour and then only €3/h. The only downside : it obviously has a way smaller capacity than a library (around 35 people maximum) so it’s safer to arrive early.
This modern-design café also aims to provide a nice environment for people willing to study or work. The prices are affordable, the tables are large, the decoration is classy, the music is chilled, the wi-fi is fast, there are various places to plug your laptop… Le Craft has everything you need for a productive, yet comfortable study day.
Le François Coppée
Located near Montparnasse, a lively and trendy district, this classical Parisian brasserie wasn’t made for students, but its wide space (capacity for 110 people) make it a wise choice for someone willing to spend a few hours reading, studying or even working in a group. Since several high schools and universities are located nearby, it is actually very common to see groups of students and even teachers there. The coffee (€2.80 for an espresso) isn’t the cheapest in town as the place is fancy, but the owner claims that you will not be pressured to leave if you wish to stay for a while. Just try to avoid it at lunch time, between 12 and 2, when it gets a bit too packed and noisy.
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