Archives nationales

Armoire de fer

The Armoire de fer, in English iron chest, is a safe made by order of the Constituent Assembly on 30 November 1790. It was originally intended to house the forms, plates, and stamps used to manufacture assignats (a form of paper money during the revolution), and then the Constitutional Act and the originals of revolutionary laws and decrees. It was transferred to the Hôtel de Soubise, probably in 1849. Initially it was placed in the Salle des gardes, before being moved on 15 January 1866 to the Grands Dépôts centre built by Napoleon III. Nowadays it contains all of the Constitutions of France, as well as documents of the greatest historical value (the journal of Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette's Gazette des Atours, the prototype metre and kilogram in platinum, the Tennis Court Oath, Louis XIV's testament, Napoleon I's testament, etc).