The library of St. Genevieve is a university library anyone older than 18 can access for free by getting a membership card. When I visited it, all the places for reading were taken by university students working on their studies, which makes it very much liveable and active. The building is an amazing structure of iron beams that sustain the roof under which there is a traditional wooden library with two levels of book corridors and a lot of ancient tables with their green lamps for reading.
The nice thing is that any tourist visiting the area of the Sorbonne university in Paris can simply pop in and ask for a short touristic visit. As it’s very little known, you may be doing the visit on your own. A member of staff of the library will accompany you through the hounour staircase and then into the reading room, where a small area is restricted to visitors.
The place has this mixture of ancient classical temple of wisdom and the modernity of all those youngsters studying their university exams, wearing the most modern outfits and apparel. I really enjoyed that view of the architecture, statues and nice environment. Contrary to other cities in Europe, where the use would be restricted to scholars or the building dedicated to some official use, the nice thing here is that local students prefer it as the place where they can find peace and silence to focus on their studies.