Over the years, the Parisian site of the Diplomatic Archives had become less and less adapted to its needs. A new site was neeed, to:
- bring together the central administration archives (spread across eight different sites) on a single site;
- facilitate public access;
- provide a better workplace to the public and to staff;
- open the library collection to researchers;
- ensure the collections would be conserved in optimal conditions;
- promote the collections.
Several sites were then mooted, but none chosen.
The site at La Courneuve was chosen by then Foreign Minister Hubert Védrine in 2000. An architecture competition was announced in 2001 and architect Henri Gaudin’s entry was the winning project. Construction began in October 2006; the new building was handed over on 1 January 2009.
The Diplomatic Archives Centre is divided into two main spaces: a seven-floor building that houses the diplomatic archive storerooms and an open-plan area for offices and consultation and conference areas for the public .
It has capacity for 250 users across two rooms (originals and alternate formats) and a room for catalogues and reference works.
- 2000: Minister Hubert Védrine orders the construction of a building in the inner suburbs to house the Ministry’s central administration archives.
- 2001: A 2.3-hectare site is purchased at La Courneuve (former Aubervilliers-La Courneuve railway yard) and an architecture competition is organized. Henri Gaudin (Charléty stadium, Musée Guimet, Paris Archives) wins the competition.
- 2003: Planning permission is granted.
- 2003: A financing and project management contract is signed with the consortium ICADE-Léon Grosse.
- 2005 (October): Construction begins.
- 2009 (January): Transfer of archives begins.
- 2009 (February): Staff move to the new site.
- 2009 (June): The building is inaugurated and re-opens to the public.
- 2010 (March): The library opens to the public.
- 2010 (June): The transfer of the archives is completed.