Archives, records, collections of documents: how to continue research despite Covid?

Research can be continued during the pandemic, but it requires a little more organization than usual. Many institutions in France continue to allow access to their archives and records collections, subject to stricter viewing arrangements.

Given that the situation changes regularly, before making any travel arrangements, we strongly advise that prospective visitors contact each institution directly to find out if they are open to the public and to ask about arrangements for viewing records.

Convoy 77 explains the situation in more detail:

  • Victims of Contemporary Conflicts Archives Division of the Ministry of Defense Historical Service, in Caen (DAVCC)

In Caen, the DAVCC reading room opened again in December. It is now possible to view documents from Tuesday to Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., subject to a maximum of four people per day.

Viewing is by appointment only. Details (in French) here.

  • The DAVCC in Vincennes

In Vincennes, near Paris, viewing sessions in the Louis XIV reading room are now fully booked until March 31, 2021, according to the DAVCC website here (in French).

Booking of appointments should therefore be postponed to March 1, 2021 for viewing sessions starting April 1, 2021.

The Historical Defense Service also has many digitized archives, which can be consulted remotely:

  • The French National Archives

The National Archives’ reading rooms have been open again from Monday to Saturday since January 18. But again, reservations must be made in advance online in order to be able to visit.

For the Pierrefitte-sur-Seine branch, reservations can be made here:

For Paris, book here:

  • The Shoah Memorial

The Memorial center is closed but the bookshop and the documentation center, which covers “the history of the Second World War and that of the Jews of France in the 20th century”, remain open every day except Saturdays.

Reservations must be made in advance by email:

  • The Paris Police Archives

The Police Archives reading room is open but visits are by appointment only (to book, call 01 53 71 61 15).

For the time being, due to the pandemic, only one person can work at a time. Further information here.

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