The Archives-Nationales museum, created in 1867 under Napoleon III, exhibits to the public the archival documents conserved by the "Archives-Nationales" institution.

The Archives-Nationales holds 373 linear km of archives documenting the history of France from the 7th century to the present day.

The Archives-Nationales (Paris site) and the Museum The Archives-Nationales are housed in the Hôtel de Soubise and the Hôtel de Rohan, two of the finest hotels in the Marais district.

The Museum exhibits regularly updated archive documents and temporary thematic exhibitions.

The exhibition rooms are also exceptional interiors that can only be viewed on guided tours at the same time as the decorations of the Chancellerie d'Orléans reassembled in the Hôtel de Rohan.

Open hours

Musée des Archives-Nationales - Hôtel de Soubise
60, rue des Francs-Bourgeois
75003 Paris

Free admission - Opening and closing times (2023)

  • Exhibition from March 29 to July 3, and August 30 to November 6: Open Monday to Friday from 10:00 to 17:30 and Saturday and Sunday from 14:00 to 19:00.
  • Closed on Tuesdays and May 1st > see details
  • Closed for the summer from July 4 to August 29

Individual guided tours (€8)

  • Saturdays: September 9, October 14, November 11 and December 9.
  • Opening hours: 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm
  • Mondays: August 28, September 11 and 25, October 9 and 23, November 6 and 27, December 4 and 18. Schedules: 2:30 pm to 4:00 pm
  • Reservations required on the Affluences platform or mobile app. (Reservations open 60 days before date of visit).

Musée des Archives-Nationales - Hôtel de Soubise
60 Rue des Francs Bourgeois
75004 Paris 4
Tel: +33 1 40 27 64 19

  • Metro: Hôtel de Ville (lines 1 and 11), Rambuteau (line 11), Arts et Métiers (line 3), Saint-Paul, Châtelet-les Halles stations
  • RER: Chatelet-Les Halles station (lines A, B and D) and St Michel-Notre Dame station (line C)
  • Bus: 29, 58, 67, 69, 70, 72, 74, 75, 76, 96.

Musée des Archives nationales - Hôtel de Soubise
60 rue des Francs-Bourgeois
75003 Paris 3ème
Tel: +33 1 40 27 60 96

Coordinates Latitude Longitude
Sexagesimal (°, ', ") 48° 51′ 35″ N 2° 21′ 35″ E
Degré décimal (GPS) 48.85997 2.35713
  • Free admission during opening hours
  • Guided tours at an additional cost - See Individual guided tours (Price: €8) - Reservations required on the Affluences platform or on the mobile app. (Reservations open 60 days before the date of the tour).
Description complète

The National-Archives Museum, created in 1867 under Napoleon III, exhibits archival documents conserved by the "Archives-Nationales" institution.

The National-Archives Museum is located in the Parisian buildings that house France's national archives, mainly in the Hôtel de Soubise, but also in the Hôtel de Rohan. Both are located in the Marais district of Paris.

The National-Archives Museum is based on the archives of the Archives-Nationales Françaises

The National Archives hold the archives of the central bodies of the French state, with the exception of the holdings of the Ministry of the Armed Forces, the Ministry of the Economy and Finance and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They were created by decree of the Constituent Assembly in 1790. This department has national jurisdiction and reports to the Ministry of Cultural Affairs.

Since 2013, and due to lack of space, the Archives Nationales headquarters are now located in Pierrefitte-sur-Seine (in the northern Paris suburbs). However, certain fonds are held in Paris and Fontainebleau, south of Paris and famous for its superb château. These three sites hold a total of 373 linear km of archives, documenting the history of France from the 7th century to the present day.

For the record, two other departments are responsible for the "Archives nationales d'outre-mer" in Aix-en-Provence, near Marseille (archives of the colonies) and the Archives nationales du monde du travail in Roubaix, near Lille, on the Belgian border (private archives of companies and associations).

Since the 18th century, the archives of the Ministry of Defense have been kept by the Service Historique de la Défense (SHD), those of the Ministry of the Economy and Finance by the Service des Archives Economiques et Financières (SAEF), and those of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by the Archives Diplomatiques. The archives of local government departments are held by the Archives départementales.

Rights to re-use documents held by the National Archives are free of charge.

The National-Archives Museum in Le Marais: a vast collection of documents

This collection covers the entire history of France. That's how important it is, both in terms of quantity and information. It is from these archives that the The National-Archives Museum turns to present part of its collection to visitors:

  • a permanent display of the most famous documents held by the Archives nationales, with one-third of the items renewed every 4 months or so;
  • temporary exhibitions based on the holdings of the National Archives.

Throughout the year, the National Archives offer a rich program of events, taking part in and collaborating with the many activities of the Ministry of Culture and Communication, as well as those of the City of Paris and the Plaine Commune region: European Heritage Days, European Museum Night, Nuit blanche, Fête de la musique, Patrimoine caché, Festival Nomades, Festival Métis... Concerts organized by the museum itself are also scheduled: Jeunes talents concerts, Concert des amateurs, midis baroques and Piano du prince.

Museum collections of the National-Archives of France

The National-Archives Museum has no permanent collections of its own. It exhibits documents from the French National Archives listed in the National Archives inventory:

  • AE I - The most significant documents in French history, preserved in the "iron cabinet" (constitutions from 1791 to the present day, testaments of kings, the Jeu de Paume oath, etc.);
  • AE II - Documents dits français (3,840 numbers, including the oldest documents held by the Archives nationales dating from the Merovingian period - from the 5th to the middle of the 8th century);
  • AE III - Foreign documents (254 numbers, international treaties concluded between the end of the 8th century and the beginning of the 20th century).
  • AE V - Exhibits from major criminal trials and seized objects (450 numbers), taken from the police or procedural files with which they were kept. A very diverse collection, ranging from a Jesuit painting seized in 1762 in a church in the Puy-de-Dôme region, to a pair of Landru's spectacles, Fieschi's infernal machine, counterfeit money and seditious pamphlets and objects.)
  • AE VI - Historical objects (paintings, sculptures, engravings, drawings, objets d'art, medals, coins, keys (mainly to towns taken by the armies of the Republic), weights and measures, etc.).The most remarkable documents from the Archives nationales can be consulted online via the Archim [archive] database.A selection of these remarkable documents is regularly displayed in the museum's permanent exhibition, which is partially renewed every four months to protect these precious writings from the ravages of light.
    Each new display is an opportunity to bring out of storage some thirty previously unpublished documents and items, from the rarest to the most symbolic, including Charlemagne's diploma, the foundation of the Sainte-Chapelle, Marie-Antoinette's last letter and the constitution of the Fifth Republic, to name but a few.

The buildings housing the National-Archives Museum

The Hôtel de Soubise and the Hôtel de Rohan are among the most beautiful hotels in the Marais district. The salons were decorated by Germain Boffrand, with paintings by Boucher, Van Loo, Trémolières...

Hôtel de Soubise, first known as Hotel de Clisson, built in 1371 by Olivier de Clisson, then de Guise from 1553, rebuilt in the mid-sixteenth century by the Guise family. In the 17th century, with Marie de Guise, the hotel became a lively Parisian square. Opposition from Marie de Guise's creditors allowed the sale to François de Rohan-Soubise to go through only 4 years later, on January 24, 1704. From 1705 onwards, Armand-Gaston de Rohan built his own hotel on the land adjacent to his parents', the Hôtel de Rohan, which is still linked to the Hôtel de Soubise, to house part of the Archives Nationales. Armand-Gaston de Rohan, who became bishop of Strasbourg in 1704, is the future Cardinal de Rohan. After his death in 1749, three successive de Rohan cardinals and bishops of Strasbourg lived in the Hôtel de Rohan.

The Hôtel de Soubise and Hôtel de Rohan under the French Revolution

During the Revolution, the Hôtel de Soubise was seized. Its owner, Princess Victoire-Armande-Josèphe de Rohan, Princesse de Maubuisson, Dame de Clisson, known as Madame de Guéméné, was a French aristocrat. Remaining in France, while her husband and children went into exile, she retired to her château de Vigny. During and immediately after the Revolution, the Hôtel de Soubise was used for a variety of activities - barracks, administrative offices, housing, factories - which left it in a sorry state. Creditors wishing to avoid confiscation of the estate by the State, succeeded in having the Princess de Guéméné removed from the list of émigrés on 16 Prairial, An VIII (June 5, 1800) at the end of the Revolution.

The Hôtel de Rohan, also owned by the Princess, was sequestered and the furniture dispersed, notably the very rich library on the first floor, part of which is now housed in the Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal.

On 7 fructidor an XII (August 25, 1804), a prefectoral decree formally recognized the Princesse de Rohan's ownership of the Hôtel de Soubise and the Hôtel de Rohan, which were sold to a speculator on August 13, 1807, one month before the Princess's death. In 1808, two hotels are finally acquired by the State. Napoleon I assigned the Hôtel de Soubise to the Imperial Archives and the Hôtel de Rohan to the Imperial Printing Office.

National-Archives and the le Musée des Archives-Nationales

Over the following decades, the National Archives (created on July 29, 1789) were housed in these buildings since 1808. In 1867, the National Archives Museum was created within the National Archives.

Visiting the National-Archives Museum

A new, completely redesigned tour is gradually being offered to visitors in certain rooms of the Hôtel de Soubise. It includes a presentation of the variety of media and forms used by archives, and the sometimes little-known resources they preserve. It is an evocation of the great documents, emblems of French history and privileged places of national memory, but also a glimpse behind the scenes of the Archives, of the daily work of filing, "boxing" and storage.

Created in 1867 under Napoleon III, the Museum now has access to all of France's constitutions, as well as documents of the highest historical value (Louis XVI's diary, Marie-Antoinette's Gazette des Atours, platinum metre and kilogram standards, the Jeu de Paume oath, Louis XIV's will, Napoleon I's will, etc.).
Temporary thematic exhibitions regularly reveal the documentary wealth of the holdings, focusing on a particular aspect of French history through numerous original documents.

But a visit to the National-Archives Museum is not just a hymn to old documents. It's also about exceptional interiors on guided tours only. The tour also included the second floor of the Hotel de Rohan (Cabinet des Singes, Cabinet des Fables) and the Cour des Chevaux du Soleil, temporarily closed for renovation. However, since October 19, 2021, visitors have been able to see the decor of the Chancellerie d'Orléans reassembled in the Hôtel de Rohan.

The Hôtel de la Chancellerie d'Orléans, which belonged to Philippe d'Orléans, the future Regent, was built in 1703 near the Palais Royal. Its construction was entrusted to the architect Germain Boffrand, and it was decorated to a high standard from the outset. Later inhabited by the d'Argenson family, it was renovated by Charles De Wailly in the 1760s, and was then considered one of the most refined of Parisian private mansions.

The hotel was demolished in the early 20th century, but its decor was preserved by the Banque de France, which became the owner. After many years of dormancy, this extraordinary ensemble was reassembled on the first floor of the Hôtel de Rohan, in the National Archives quadrangle.

The Orléans Chancellery decorations were restored thanks to sponsorship from the World Monuments Fund and the Banque de France.

The history of the Orléans Chancellery and its move to the Hôtel de Rohan was the subject of the following publication:

La chancellerie d'Orléans. Renaissance d'un chef-d'œuvre (XVIIIe-XXIe siècles), edited by Emmanuel Pénicaud and Arnaud Manas, by Alexandre Cojannot, Nicole Garnier, Colette Di Matteo, Monique Mosser and Anne Leclair, Paris, Éditions Faton, 2022, 254 p. - ISBN 978-2-87844-283-0. - Retail price (incl. VAT): 59 euros.

And to complete your visit to The National-Archives Museum, don't hesitate to stroll through the gardens to discover the landscape and architectural beauty of this unique heritage site, located in the heart of historic Paris, just a stone's throw from the Musée Picasso-Paris and the Musée Cognacq-Jay.

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  • July 12, 2024 8:08 am local time

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