The reading rooms
You will be consulting original documents when carrying out your research at the Archives Nationales. Whether the documents are contemporary or several centuries old, there is often only one single copy of any given record. Because of the unique and often fragile nature of the documents held, researchers and archivists alike must respect a few simple rules. In addition to this, the sheer volume of the holdings means that some searches can be long and complex.
The purpose of the following lines is to help you better prepare for your visit to the Archives.
Before going to the reading room you must first register as a reader if this is your first visit.
You can order or consult documents in the reading room or via the online catalogue, and you may also copy them or ask for a copy to be made.
Reading room staff
The reading room staff are there to help you and answer your questions, to pass you the documents, and to make sure that the regulations are respected.
- The Head of the reading room is a member of the Archives Nationales' scientific staff, and is in charge of answering all your questions about how the room functions, to receive all oral and written requests from readers (and when necessary redirect them to the appropriate service), to approve requests to copy documents, and take all necessary steps to protect peoples' safety and the documents themselves..
- The staff at the collection counters are in charge of handing over the documents you have requested and of taking them back in after consultation.
- The members of the order support team are there to help you place document orders using the computers.
- The wardens are there to make sure all of the rules relating to the consultation of documents are respected, and provide you with any material help you may need with large or fragile documents, or those in poor condition.
- The photocopying staff are there to carry out requests for photocopies.
- Exits inspections
Inspections are carried out at the reading room exit to prevent any documents from being stolen: readers are requested to present their personal documents and to open their laptops. Thank you for complying with these rules.
- On leaving
When you have finished, please take the documents you have consulted back to the counter, along with the sign displaying your seat number. You can ask to have articles "renewed" if you have not finished consulting them. In this case the documents will stay at the counter for ten consecutive days. You can extend this each week, for up to a total of two months.
Please note: Renewed documents from previous days count towards your document quota, thus reducing the number of documents you can order or reserve. A maximum of 10 original documents (excluding extracts and cartographic records) may be ordered on any one day, including documents reserved or renewed from previous days.
Any article requested for same-day consultation but not consulted will be returned to the stacks the following day unless a request is made to renew it.
Visit the reading rooms Free, no booking required. Mondays at 2pm.
Go to the lobby:
- in Paris, 11 rue des Quatre-Fils, 75003 Paris
- in Pierrefitte-sur-Seine, 93 rue Guynemer, 93380 Pierrefitte-sur-Seine (line 13 - Saint-Denis–Université)
This visit explains how the reading rooms function. Visit lasts approximately: one hour
Specific visits may be organised for associations, parties of genealogists, and tourist groups. The purpose is to present the resources available at the Archives Nationales and the search methods.
Paris, Département de l'accueil des publics de Paris, tel. +33 (0)1 40 27 64 08.
Pierrefitte-sur-Seine, Département de l'accueil des publics de Pierrefitte, tel. +33 (0)1 75 47 21 89.
Talks on how to research - Paris site
Free, no booking required. Certain Tuesdays at 3pm.
The presentations relate to a period, geographical zone, search methods, archive accessibility, themes relating to historical and biographical research, and so on.
Palaeography course – Paris site
Enrolment required. €100 per year (twenty classes). Tuesdays or Wednesdays at 5:30pm
Course organised by the Société des Amis des Archives de France, from mid-November to mid-May excluding school holidays
Introduction (1st year) Wednesdays at 5:30pm
Texts from the 12th to the 19th century, and basic concepts about institutional history.
Advanced (2nd year) Tuesdays at 5:30pm
Writing from the 15th, 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries, which can be particularly difficult depending on the jurisdiction they were produced by.
Contact : Amable Sablon du Corail, conservateur du patrimoine
Tél. + 33 (0)1 40 27 63 99