Le Foot, une affaire d'État, is not in the easiest of locations to find, being staged in the northern suburb of Pierrefitte-sur-Seine, right at the end of Metro line 13. However, the journey is worthwhile (although I had to make it twice, as the first time the building was closed due to industrial action).
As you might expect, there is a strong focus on the major tournaments hosted by France, including the World Cups of 1938 and 1998, and the Euros of 1984 and this summer. It is not just a celebration of the football - albeit there is a constant film loop of France's triumph in the 1998 final - but an opportunity to show how the bidding process and the staging of the tournament involved the French government. Among the rare souvenirs are posters and tickets from 1938.
It is not just a dry account of state finance and construction, however. There are touching personal accounts of the struggle for acceptance by footballing immigrants to France - a story which continues to have echoes today - such as the impact of Algerian independence.
Football in wartime also throws up some little known tales, not least an incident which was new to me: in the autumn of 1939, after war broke out, Frenchman and FIFA president Jules Rimet attended a FIFA meeting in Switzerland at which two Germans were present. On his return to France he was arrested for having contact with the enemy, and the notes of his interrogation reveal that he was in tears at the accusation and offered to resign. In the end, the affair was resolved and he remained in post, but it does shed light on the tensions at the time.
It is not a comprehensive history of French football - for example there is nothing on the game's origins in France, and little on club football - but I strongly recommend it.
Le Foot, une affaire d'État runs until 18 September 2016 (with various closures in August), and admission is free. There is also an accompanying book, price 10 euros.
Follow this link for further details: http://www.archives-nationales.culture.gouv.fr/fr/web/guest/le-foot-une-affaire-d-etat