We had the opportunity to visit and conduct research in the municipal archives of Argenteuil, which are not online. We were anticipating the visit, for the city is old and has a rich history. Twelfth century Héloise spent her childhood at the abbey in Argenteuil. Claude Monet lived there and created over 150 paintings of the town. Georges Braque was born there. In spite of its being ten minutes from the Gare Saint-Lazare by train, in spite of its project housing and gritty traffic, there are still large, green gardens with massive trees behind nineteenth century railings.
The municipal archives are in the Mairie, the town hall, down a quiet corridor, away from the activity, the last door on the left, after the lavatories. We entered. No one was there. Eventually, a helpful archivist arrived, registered us as a new user, and explained the procedures to us. We were planning to research some parish registers of the late eighteenth century and requested the two rolls of microfilm. When the archivist opened the box for the first roll of film, a number of bits and pieces fell out. She deftly reassembled the casing and rewound the film. Holding it all together, she put the roll onto the spindle, then placed a cork on the end of the spindle to hold it together and in place.
It worked fine. Of course, it was not just any old cork. It was a sawn off cork from a bottle of champagne.
Archives municipales d'Argenteuil
Hôtel de Ville
12-14 bd Léon-Feix
tel: (+33) 01 34 23 68 05
Tuesday, Thursday and Friday: 9.00 - 12.00 and 14.00 - 17.00
Wednesday: 9.00 - 12.00 and 14.00 - 16.00
Saturday: 9.00 - 12.00
N.B. One must book in advance before going to the archives.
©2011 Anne Morddel