Although general libraries are important for preliminary work, national archives are invaluable resources for deep research. Archives provide access to primary source documents and additional unique materials. National archives are also particularly useful because after the student has developed a specific subject, archival staff will compile resources for students upon submission of a research proposal, making research much more direct and efficient.
Access: registration is free with a passport and a separate passport photo for your library card. Documents may be reserved in advanced from the National Archives after registration. Registration gives access to all three National Archives locations. With pre-registration, you are able to reserve two documents to consult.
Note: Certain documents (maps, fragile or rare documents, private documents, etc.) may require authorization to consult, and are not immediately available upon reservation.
Collections: The National Archives include collections on artworks bought by the state, the Legion of Honor, naturalization information, and provisions. The documents housed here cover French history (pre and post Revolution) and are supplemented with historical maps.
National Archives: Paris Site
11, rue des Quatre-Fils, 75003, metro Rambuteau
01 40 27 64 19
Hours: Monday-Saturday: 9h-16:45
Specific Collections: This site conserves public archives from the Middle Ages and L’Ancien Regime, all before the French Revolution. Additionally, all of the documents from the Notary of Paris are filed here.
National Archives: Pierrefitte-sur Seine Site
59, rue Guynemer, 93380 Pierrefitte-sur-Seine, metro Saint-Denis Université
01 75 47 20 02
Hours: Monday-Saturday 9h-16:45
Equipment: This site is has audio-visual technologies to enlarge or amplify documents.
Specific Collections: This site conserves documents from after the French Revolution and some private archives.
National Archives: Aix en Provence Site
Archives National d’outre-mer:
29, chemin du moulin de Testas, 13090 Aix-en-Provence
Hours: Monday-Friday 9h-16:45 (first Thursday of each month open at 13h)
Specific Collections: This site houses documents concerning ancient French colonies and their independence.
Archives de La Préfecture de Police
25, rue Baudin, 93310 Le Pré Saint-Gervais, metro Hoche
01 53 71 61 00
Hours: Monday-Friday 9-17h
Collections: The Prefecture’s collections include legal and administrative documents regarding public order and national security, but also hold documents covering historical periods such as the pre-Revolutionary France, the Algerian War (1953-1965), the Liberation, and general French heritage.
Note: the prefecture only has 17 places for researchers.