École nationale des chartes

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Entrance of the École Nationale des Chartes, place de la Sorbonne in Paris

The École nationale des chartes ( French for about National College for Document Research ) is one of France's typical elite universities , the grandes écoles . It is the leading French teaching and research institution in the historical auxiliary sciences and serves the training of archivists , curators and librarians of the higher service. It is located in Paris on the premises of the Sorbonne . Your students or “Eleven” call themselves “chartistes”.

Admission and degrees

Typically for the Grandes Écoles , access is via entrance examinations (concours) , either:

In principle, the Abitur ( baccalauréat ) is a prerequisite for admission to the Concours, but in practice only those high school graduates who have managed to attend relevant preparatory classes for another two years , to which access is limited , have a chance . To prepare for Concours A, the École itself offers a two-year course, the so-called “hypocharte” and “charte”. The Concours B is also available for graduates of the so-called «hypokhâgnes» and «khâgnes», i.e. H. the preparatory classes that are set up at selected grammar schools ( lycées ) and lead to the elite universities for the humanities and teaching subjects, the Écoles normales supérieures .

The number of study places at the École des Chartes is determined in advance for each year of admission (approx. 25 for both Concours, which should roughly correspond to the number of positions available later for the graduates). That is why the quota of those not admitted is high. However, these are not considered failed, but can usually enroll in the third year of a suitable course at a university, where the two years completed in the preparatory classes are fully credited towards the study time.

As at all Grandes Écoles, student support is excellent. There are around 30 professors and lecturers for every 100 students. To a certain extent, the range of courses is also open to students from other Paris universities and even interested private individuals. Conversely, students at the École can take advantage of certain courses from other universities.

The students of the École des chartes are “élèves fonctionnaires-stagiaires”, i.e. temporary government employees, and therefore receive a salary (currently approx. 1250 euros). Their studies last three years plus nine months in which they write a thesis, the “thèse d'établissement”. Dropouts are rare.

The diploma awarded by the École des Chartes as an "archivist-paleographer" (archiviste-paleographe) corresponds in prestige to a diploma from the Grandes Écoles.

For some time now it has also been possible to obtain a master's degree. The opportunity for a doctorate is offered in cooperation with two Paris universities. It is usually linked to membership of a graduate college (école doctorale) .


The École des Chartes owes its establishment in general to the enthusiasm for the Middle Ages of Romanticism . H. the period of the 1820s and 1830s, and especially the fact that the French Revolution brought the state into the possession of many archives of monasteries, noble families, etc. Ä., whose holdings had to be viewed and secured.

The first university under the name École des Chartes (still without the national attribute ) closed two years after its establishment on February 22, 1821. With a decree of November 11, 1829, it was re-established and in 1834 was able to dismiss the first graduates. It was initially housed in what was then the Bibliothèque Royale and from 1862 in a former noble palace in Paris next to the Hôtel de Soubise , the seat of the National Archives . She has resided in the Sorbonne since 1897.

The École des Chartes was traditionally a refuge of conservatism and mainly attracted students from middle-class backgrounds. After all, the first trainee was accepted as early as 1906.

To the extent that new technologies have found their way into future professions for students in recent decades and have to be taught and learned, the conservative image is lost.


The Societé de l'École des chartes has published the " Bibliothèque de l'École des chartes " since 1839 , one of the oldest historical journals still in existence .

Well-known graduates




Web links

Commons : École nationale des chartes  - collection of images, videos and audio files