In 1800 the Archives Nationales became an autonomous body of the French state. Today, they contain about 406 km. of documents, a mass of documents growing every year. The original documents stored by the Archives Nationales range from AD625 to today, the Archives Nationales are under the authority of the French Archives Administration in the Ministry of Culture. The Archives of France also manage the 100 departmental archives located in the préfectures of each of the 100 départements of France, as well as various other local archives. The Archives Nationales has been located since 1808 in a group of buildings comprising the Hôtel de Soubise and this centre stores all the documents and records from before 1958 as well as the archives of the French heads of state. Since 1867 it has housed the Musée de lHistoire de France. The Archives Nationales, however, do not keep the records of Paris. These were entirely destroyed by fires set by extremists at the end of the Paris Commune in 1871, the oldest document kept at the AN is a papyrus dated AD625 coming from the archives of the Basilica of St Denis seized at the time of the French Revolution. This papyrus is the confirmation of a grant of land in the city of Paris to the Abbey of Saint-Denis issued by King Chlothar II. This document is the oldest original one kept by the Archives Nationales, in total the Archives Nationales possess 47 original documents from the Merovingian period. It was inscribed on UNESCOs Memory of the World Programme Register in 2003 in recognition of its historical significance, the Centre for Contemporary Archives, founded as the Cité interministérielle des archives, opened in Fontainebleau in 1969. It is the repository for documents issued by the French central state since 1958 and it contains 193 km. of archives. The National Overseas Archives, originally the Centre for Overseas Archives, the ANOM also possesses private and corporate archives related to the former French colonies and Algeria. In total the ANOM keeps 37 km. of archives from the 17th to the 20th century covering more than 40 currently independent countries spread over 5 continents. Note that the archives concerning Tunisia and Morocco, which were protectorates and not colonies, are kept by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in its Diplomatic Archives. In addition to these 37 km. of archives, the ANOM also possesses 60,000 maps and plans going back to the 17th century,150,000 photographs,20,000 postcards, and 100,000 books. The National Archives of the World of Work, originally the Centre for the Archives of the World of Work and it stores the archives of businesses, trades unions, associations and societies, and architects. In total it contains 35 km. of archives, most of the archives in this centre are private archives
Façade of the Hôtel de Soubise, the historical and original headquarters of the Archives Nationales
Handwriting of King Louis XIV kept at the AN. First page of a letter sent to Louis XIV on July 20, 1706 by Jérôme Phélypeaux, comte de Pontchartrain, Secretary of State of the Navy, in which he explains that an English fleet is approaching Ushant and may bomb Brest. In the left margin the 67-year-old king wrote a reply with his own hand: "Le party que l'on a pris est très bon et l'on ne doit rien faire qu'on ne voie à quoy les ennemis seront déterminés. Vous voiés que je suis de vostre advis. L" which means "The decision that was taken is very good and nothing must be done before making sure of the enemy's intentions. As you can see I agree with you. L".
The new national archives centre at Pierrefitte-sur-Seine.