Archives Départementales du Calvados

  • Departmental Archives Calvados


61, rue de Lion-sur-Mer


+33 (0)2 31 47 18 50


Founded by the law of 5 brumaire an V, the Calvados Archives were given a dedicated building in 1867 next to the prefecture in rue Saint-Laurent, designed by the architect Marcotte. An extension was added in 1930 to house the reading room, while the former Sepulchre church was used as a storage annex from 1932.

The archives were evacuated as a precautionary measure in 1940 (to the priory of Saint-Gabriel de Brécy and the abbey of Juaye-Mondaye) and in 1942 (to the Château de Vaux in Saint-Maurice-Saint-Germain). The building was miraculously spared from the bombing in June 1944, so Calvados did not suffer the massive losses experienced by the neighbouring department of La Manche. On the other hand, many public services, notaries' offices and communes in the department lost their archives, as the departmental archivist René-Norbert Sauvage indicated in a 1949 report. The losses were particularly significant for certain notaries, for the municipal archives of Caen, which were destroyed along with the Town Hall, and for the archives of the tax departments, including the Hypothèques (for the districts of Caen, Lisieux, Pont-l'Evêque and Vire). On the other hand, funds were miraculously spared in disaster-stricken towns, such as the municipal archives of Lisieux.

In 1963, the departmental architect Léon Réme designed a new building for the Archives to the north of the campus. The building is typical of the archive towers of the time, taking into account the first national recommendations issued by the Archives de France.

The building on rue Saint-Laurent in Caen was demolished in 1966 to make way for the modern wing of the prefecture, the current headquarters of the department.
An extension was designed in 1992 with a second storage tower. Restructuring and upgrading work was inaugurated in March 2019.

A free booklet on the history of the Archives was produced in 2019 and can be requested in pdf format by contacting the Archives (02 31 47 18 50). The archives of the department are classified in sub-series 3T and in the 1300W deposit.

Archival and Other Holdings

The Calvados Archives hold nearly 60 km of archives on the history of Calvados and Normandy since the 11th century. Spared by the 1944 bombardments, the collections are rich in prestigious old funds and are distinguished by the wealth of their recent private archives.

Finding Aids, Guides, and Publication

Both the Mémorial de la Shoah and the USHMM hold copies from this archive. The description of the copy-collection at USHMM is here available on the EHRI portal. For an English-language description of copies made by USHMM, please click here. There is also a French-language finding aid to copies available at USHMM.

Opening Times

Reception in the reading room without reservation from Tuesday to Friday from 9 am to 5 pm.

Conditions of Access

Documents cannot be ordered in advance, but they will be given to you as soon as you have their call number. On arrival, the reader is invited to go to the reception desk in the reading room to reserve a locker. All new readers must present themselves to the Archives with a valid identity document to be registered. On registration, they will receive the Archives' rules and regulations, which they are deemed to know.


The Departmental Archives comply with accessibility standards for people with disabilities.

Research Services

No research is carried out by correspondence if it is possible to do so online or in the reading room. Only administrative searches necessary to obtain a right are answered. They are only carried out on the basis of precise elements and within the limits of the department's material resources.

Reproduction Services

The Internet user may freely download and re-use the images free of charge, within the limits of the law and the regulations of the Calvados Archives.

If you wish to reproduce documents that have not yet been digitised, you can use your own photographic equipment, without flash, or the A3 scanners available in the reading room (in this case, bring a USB key). The Archives' workshop can also produce them, within the limits of its technical resources. The request must indicate the precise call number of the document and must not exceed the material possibilities of the service. The photocopying service is not available in the reading room.

In accordance with the regulations of the Calvados Archives, document reproductions are made free of charge within the limits of the resources available at the Calvados Archives. Please note that the Departmental Archives are not intended to offer a mass digitisation service and requests for document reproduction or the provision of image files must remain reasonable in relation to the number of documents and the frequency of requests.

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