The French Archive Directory

The French History Blog has recently added a new page, the French Archive Directory. In this post, William Rispin discusses how researchers can make best use of this resource.

Since 2014, the French History Blog has been collecting accounts from researchers about their experiences of working in archives. During the academic year, one post a month has been published in the Feature Archive section of the website. Each includes details about the collections that the author went to research, as well as the other files available to be consulted. They also contain more practical information, such as how to get to the archive, what particular regulations there are, and where to eat. Thanks to these contributions, we have amassed a significant amount of very useful information about the material available to researchers studying aspects of French History.

In order to make the Feature Archive posts available on the website more easily accessible, and to enable visitors to the blog to make best use of them, we have now added a new section, the French Archive Directory.

This is divided into two parts. If you are intending to visit a particular archive, and want to read about the experience of others who have worked there, then the first part will probably be the most useful. Here the archives are listed by location, starting with those which can be found in France, followed by those in the UK, the rest of Europe, the USA and the rest of the World.

Those who are starting their research, and wish to find out what material is available, may find the the second part more helpful. Here posts are arranged by theme (including Colonial History, Cultural History, Queer History, First World War, Second World War, Social History). Where appropriate, archives are listed under several of these headings. In some cases, contributions may only make a passing reference to one of these themes, while focusing on another topic. However, they have still been included to give a fuller picture of the contents of the archive, and to alert researchers interested in these areas to the presence of documents that they can investigate further.

We are immensely grateful to all those who have put time and effort into creating posts for the Feature Archive section. If you are a researcher and would like to write a contribution, either on an archive that is not covered here, or on a particular set of documents you have studied that have not been discussed, please contact William Rispin (

William Rispin recently passed his PhD viva at the University of Warwick. His research considers the problems faced by France’s main Centre Right party, Les Républicains, during the Hollande presidency, and in particular, its failure to adapt to the realignment of the party system that occurred. 


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