In 1680, Charles Colbert de Croissy, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, had his and his predecessors’ correspondence with foreign countries bound. This initiative, which ensured the continuity of French foreign policy, marked the start of the French diplomatic archives.
The Diplomatic Archives: a dual purpose
Still today, the Archives Directorate of the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs has a dual purpose:
- within the central administration, it manages the archives and provides diplomats with the necessary documents for their work;
- for the general public, it provides access to the archives for historical research and administrative purposes.
It also works to promote the collection , e.g. by organizing exhibitions and conferences, and publishing documents.
The Archives Directorate is divided into three Units: the Archives Unit, the Public Access Unit and the Library Unit, each of which comprises several hubs. The Nantes Diplomatic Archives Centre is also attached to the Archives Directorate.
For more information on conducting research at our Diplomatic Archives Centers, please consult (in French):