Historical Archives Centre

Pabellón del Rey
Vincennes - Vincennes

The Centre historique des archives is one of the three centres of the Service historique de la Défense. It collects the archives produced by the Ministry of the Armed Forces, except for those of the units of the French Navy, those of the Directorate General of Armaments and those concerning the military and civilian personnel of Defence. It holds more than 120 linear kilometres of documents produced and received since the 17th century by the central administrations of the ministries responsible for military affairs and by the staffs, services and units of the three armies and the national gendarmerie. It ensures the processing and communication to the public of the archival heritage for which it is responsible and contributes to its scientific, cultural and educational development.

120 linear km of archives
75 places in the reading room

Available funds :

> Oral testimonies freely communicable

Adresse géographique

Château de Vincennes

Avenue de Paris

94306 Vincennes Cedex


Opening hours of the Louis XIV reading room of the SHD of Vincennes :

Monday from 1pm to 5pm

Tuesday to Thursday from 9am to 5pm

Friday from 9am to 4pm

Saturday from 9.30 am to 3 pm

Request for guidance

Château de Vincennes

Avenue de Paris

94306 Vincennes Cedex


The Centre historique des archives is responsible for :

  • collecting, preserving, inventorying and communicating the archives of the General Secretariat for Defence and National Security and the Ministry of the Armed Forces, as well as the National Gendarmerie, until 31 December 2008, with the exception of the archives of the General Directorate of Armaments and the individual and collective archives of civilian and military personnel;
  • ensuring the scientific and technical control of the current and intermediate archives under its responsibility;
  • collecting, preserving, inventorying and communicating archive documents that are assigned or handed over to the Ministry of the Armed Forces, whether in return for payment or free of charge, as well as oral testimonies;
  • to respond to research requests, particularly those made by the staffs, directorates and services of the Ministry of Defence and other public administrations;
  • receiving and directing the public;
  • processing requests for communication and consultation of archives. To proceed in this framework to the declassification of the defence archives;
  • contributing to the study and development of the funds and collections it holds.



The Centre historique des archives is composed of three departments which work together to ensure the proper management of the life cycle of documents within their respective perimeters:

- the Department of Collection and Administrative Research (DCRA)

- the Archives Department (DFA)

- the Public Department (DP);

- the department of extraordinary entries (DEEX).

Located at the Château de Vincennes, the Centre historique des archives also includes the division of archives of victims of contemporary conflicts (Caen) and the division of intermediate archives of the national gendarmerie (Le Blanc).

Practical information

The general operation of the reading room is as follows:

1 / I note the opening hours of the Louis XIV reading room:

  • Monday: 1pm-5pm
  • Tuesday to Thursday: 9am-5pm
  • Friday: 9am-4pm
  • Saturday: 9.30am - 3pm

Sessions for the consultation of iconographic documents in the specialised room are possible by reservation only on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9am to 4pm.

These opening hours allow for the disinfection of equipment and furniture at the end of the consultation sessions.

2 / I prepare my visit to the reading room by reserving in advance the documents I wish to consult:

From now on, all documents held at the SHD in Vincennes must be reserved in advance (including microfilms and documents that could previously be consulted without prior reservation), using the form available on the website, in my personal space (all my online procedures / reserve call numbers). Please allow 8 days between your reservation request and the desired date of the session.

Air purifier in the Vincennes reading room:

To ensure your health safety, the air purifiers in the SHD reading room at the Château de Vincennes are equipped with HEPA13 filters, which comply with the NF EN 1822 standard. The HEPA13 filter - of very high efficiency - is called "ABSOLUTE". It stops 99.95% of the dust present in the air. This dust in suspension as well as the water particles on which viruses attach themselves are sucked up by the machines. This equipment is used in a large number of medical facilities. The filters are changed regularly. The machines are all equipped with potentiometers, so that the air flow can be adjusted according to the number of patients.

The SHD has chosen to guarantee you maximum hygiene and comfort in your research. The four air purifiers that cover the volume of the reading room contribute to the best possible sanitary conditions during your visit to the SHD. 

As a reminder:

It is necessary to be registered as a SHD reader to reserve and consult documents in the reading room. If you are not yet registered, please create a personal space and fill in the registration form. A reader's number will be sent to you by message, enabling you to make your reservations. You can then collect your reader's card at the registration desk.

It is important to remember that all documents must be reserved in advance. Please send us your reservations using the form available on the personal area.

A maximum quota of documents per reader is set:

  • Archival documents: as from 05/09/22, it will now be possible to reserve up to 10 items per session according to the following distribution: 10 INDIVIDUAL FILES PER SESSION or 5 CARDBOARDS (maximum) and 5 INDIVIDUAL FILES. See for more information.
  • Library documents: a quota of 12 documents per reader and per consultation session is fixed.

On site, a 1 euro coin or token is required in order to deposit your belongings not allowed in the reading room in the lockers. The dimensions of the lockers are as follows W 40 x H 60 x D 36 (small lockers) - W 40 x H 130 x D 36 (large lockers). The SHD does not provide tokens or coins.

For more information, please refer to the rules of the Louis XIV reading room.


Microfilmed and digitised documents available in the Louis XIV reading room (SHD Vincennes):

Microfilms are available on reservation. A list of microfilms is attached.

Some archive and library documents are freely accessible on the computer stations provided in the reading room. You will find the list of references below (archives, maps, plans and oral testimonies).

You can also consult the list of documents and information available on the Mémoire des hommes website ( 

A scientific reception is also available to advise you in your research. Located on the first floor of the King's Pavilion, in the reference room, this reception is open

- Monday from 1pm to 4pm

- Tuesday to Thursday from 9am to 12pm and from 1pm to 4pm

- Friday from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm

- Saturday from 9.30 am to 3 pm.

The Iconographic Archives Division and the Oral Archives Division also welcome researchers by appointment on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 am to 4 pm.

The Private Archives Division can be contacted for any donation proposal.


Fermetures annuelles

The dates of closure of the Louis XIV reading room for the year 2023 are :

  • Friday 23 December 2022 to Monday 2 January 2023 inclusive.
  • Monday 10 April (Easter)
  • Monday 1 May (Labour Day)
  • Monday 8 May (Victory in 1945)
  • Thursday 18 May to Saturday 20 May inclusive (Ascension)
  • Monday 29 May (Pentecost)
  • Thursday 13 July to Saturday 15 July inclusive (Bastille Day)
  • Monday 31 July to Tuesday 15 August inclusive (summer closure)
  • Saturday 16 September (European Heritage Day)
  • Wednesday 1 November (All Saints' Day)
  • Saturday 11 November (Armistice Day 1918)
  • From Saturday 23 December to Monday 1 January 2024 inclusive (year-end closure).


Metro: line 1, "Château de Vincennes" station.

RER: line A, "Vincennes" station.

Buses: lines 46, 56, 112, 114, 115, 118, 124, 210, 215, 318, 325.

Vélib station: cours des Maréchaux (n° 12123).

Last modification on 11/05/2023

Research Grants