Archives nationales de France, Centre d'archives contemporaines
- National Archives branch for documents after 1958
- Archives nationales Fontainebleau
The National Archives hold the records of the central state administration (except for the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs), the minutes of the Parisian notaries and private funds of national interest.
The French National Archives were created after the French Revolution; on 12 September 1790, the Constituent Assembly named it National Archives. Four years later, by the law of 7 messidor Year II (25 June 1794), the Convention specified the role of the National Archives and establishes a "central repository of the National Archives." The law then states three main principles which remain relevant:
- centralized archives of the Nation;
- providing free access of the archives to citizens;
- the need for a national archival network. The Law of 5 Brumaire V (26 October 1796) introduced an archive in each department.
Until recently, the National Archives had three sites:
- Paris: public archives of the Ancien Régime, minutes of the Parisian notaries
- Pierrefitte-sur-Seine: Public Archives of French Revolution until today, private fonds (all periods)
- Fontainebleau: specific public funds (naturalization records after 1930, career records of officials from the 1960s onwards, records approval of vehicles in particular), audiovisual archives, private archives of architects.
However, due to the risk of collapse of the two main buildings at the Fontainebleau site, it was decided to transfer the holdings to the Quadrilatère Rohan-Soubise, Paris and Pierrefitte-sur-Seine sites in 2016. Some fonds are now available at Pierrefitte-sur-Seine, but the completion of the transfer is planned for 2020-21. Consequently, a number of fonds from Fontainebleau will be inaccessible until then.
It is possible to search the Archives nationales' online catalogues here:
Pierrefitte-sur-Seine reading room
Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.
Requests to view documents on the day of a researcher's visit or the morning of the following day must be made before 3 p.m. On Saturdays, only documents that have been requested in advance or are still on hold can be consulted.
It usually takes between 45 to 90 minutes for documents to be delivered.
For more on the consultation conditions, see:
Entry to the reading rooms of the National Archives is free, but researchers must register. It is possible to pre-register online. See:
The National Archives are wheelchair accessible. For information on getting to the archives by public transport and the location of disabled parking spaces, see: