Behold its imposing towers that give the impression of an upturned table. Marvel at the amazing amount of knowledge contained within its walls. Be amazed at how such a modern building found its way into the Paris of Haussmannean architecture.
Scratch your head in confusion as you wonder how the hell it is possible that this place has the worst coffee in the city by far.
In a city where the coffee scene has been steadily – actually, even astronomically – improving over the past 5-6 years, it is a wonder that there are some stand-bys – in this case, BNF coffee – that stubbornly trudge along, assured in their less-than mediocrity. Perhaps I should not complain so much. After all, I do generally need a coffee fix when I’m studying there, especially after lunch, and the coffee machines and/or the café in the research library are the only options for that. But really, must it taste like burnt wood? Does the game you debate with yourself over whether to overload it with sugar to try and mask the taste – which, as I learned when I first started researching here in 2012, doesn’t really work – or just wait for it to cool down just enough for you to down the thing in one gulp make the resulting energy gained worth it? I sometimes struggle to answer this question.
At least at the BNF I can get all the materials I’ve requested within 30 minutes, unlike some other large libraries (ahem: Widener). So, there’s that.