your questions

© Archives municipales de Bordeaux

What is the oldest document stored at the Bordeaux Municipal Archives? Can I photocopy documents? Can I borrow microfilms? Where can I find a list of the mayors of Bordeaux?

Find answers to frequently asked questions here.

If you can't find the answer to your questions here, contact us.

1. What is the difference between the Municipal Archives and the departmental Archives?

These two services, which have the same purpose of collecting, storing and communicating documents, hold complementary collections.

Belonging to two separate authorities, their main difference lies in the administrative collections for which they are responsible.

The Municipal Archives are a service of the Hôtel de Ville (City Hall) and they hold the archives of the City of Bordeaux whilst the departmental Archives, a service of the Conseil Général (General Council) is responsible for the archives of this authority but also for the decentralized State departments present in Gironde, notaries and small municipalities.   

2. Can I borrow documents?

No, the consultation of documents can only take place on site since the documents consulted are very often originals. 

3. Can I borrow microfilms?

No, the Bordeaux Municipal Archives do not allow microfilms to be lent to other archive depots. 

4. Can I consult all the documents held at the Archives?

Almost all but not quite! In some cases there can be restrictions due to the bad condition of the document, to the minimum legal period before publication to the public for certain types of administrative documents, or to specific conditions, as laid down by the donor or depositor in the case of private archives.

5. Can I photocopy documents?

No, in the majority of cases, since it can damage the preservation of certain types of documents, such as hard or soft bound works, sealed documents, formats larger than A3 size, burnt documents, fragile documents (tracings, india paper and newspapers) and iconography. It is however possible to request a photographic reproduction from the department, according to the tariff current at the time, or to take a photograph oneself, without a flash, in the reading room, having first obtained the curator's agreement.

To find out more, consult the page: reproduction and usage

6. Can I make a request for genealogical research by correspondence?

The Municipal Archives do not undertake genealogical research for private individuals, unless there is a duly certified administrative or legal requirement (identity card, inheritance settlement etc.). Since it is a hobby, the relevant people are invited either to drop in, or to request help from a genealogical organization if they are unable to travel.   

7. Do you keep books, like a library?

The Municipal Archives hold an administrative and local history library which is basically devoted to Bordeaux. With nearly 18000 works, it contains some ancient books from the XVI, XVII and XVIII century, as well as numerous publications from the XIX and XX centuries. It is regularly supplemented with acquisitions and gifts from researchers and students. 

8. Do you keep old newspapers?

Yes, the Bordeaux Municipal Archives owns a large collection of newspapers which is in addition to that held at the City Library. The most famous is Sud-Ouest which replaced La Petite Gironde in August 1944. Some publications are no longer open to consultation at the Archives since they can be consulted on microfilm at the Meriadeck City Library (this is the case of La Petite Gironde).

9. What is the oldest document you hold?

The oldest city document is the book of customs. It is a manuscript written in Gascon and in Latin dating from 1388. It is part of the ancient collection which covers the period from the XIV century up until the French Revolution (1789). Apart from this work, the oldest documents can be found in the series II of the ancient collection and certain private collections, such as the Condé collection which contains a document from 1190.

10. Where can I consult the archives of the town of Caudéran?

Since the town of Caudéran was annexed to Bordeaux on February 12 1965, its archives are held at the Bordeaux Municipal Archives. Complementary sources exist in the prefecture collection of the departmental Archives of the Gironde.

11. Do you have a list of the mayors of Bordeaux?

The list of the mayors of Bordeaux is available on the city website.

You can access it by clicking here

12. Where can I find information about the City arms?

Explanations are given on the city website.

You can access them by clicking here