Hotel de Soubise, Home of the National Archives in Paris

Smack bang in the heart of the Marais in Paris is the Hotel de Soubise, home of the National Archives, a testament to 18th century grandeur and frequent host of temporary exhibitions.

High up on any list of the most prestigious Parisian townhouses since its construction in 1731, the Hotel de Soubise was the residence of Olivier de Clisson, Constable of France, then of the Duke of Guise. Graced with a majestic courtyard, the house rebuilt and decorated by the Italian artist Francesco Primaticcio became a National Monument at the time of the Revolution in order to house the official documents of the Republic.

The Archives Nationales, the Treasures of the Hotel de Soubise

The interior constitutes a wonderful example of Rococo architecture. The invitation to dream begins by a visit of the apartments of the Prince de Rohan-Chabot, then those of the Princess - who, it seems, was not immune to the charms of Louis XIV - then the reception rooms, followed by the Assembly Room and the Baldachin Room, the gold-decorated salons and finally the Cabinets which are the work of the finest artists of the 18th century.

Hôtel de Soubise grand staircase
The fabulous staircase of honour, with its painted ceilings, leads to the noble floor. © DR
Hôtel de Soubise salon
The reception salon is the antechamber of the temporary exhibitions which are regularly held at the site. © DR

Precious Records of France’s History

The architectural ensemble occupied by the Centre for History at the National Archives is home to the world’s largest judicial archives. It also displays crucial historical documents such as the facsimile of the last letter written by Marie-Antoinette, presidential notes, the Trésor des Chartes, and the famous Armoire de Fer. Here, heritage and luxury narrate the history of France.

Hôtel de Soubise repository
Grimoires and manuscripts make up the richness of this unique collection of archives, accessible to researchers. © DR

Hotel de Soubise, a shared national past