The French archives are absolutely wonderful since many birth, marriage, and death records have been scanned and are available online for free. They aren't searchable but, as long as you know the town, you can browse the images to find key records for your family members. Finding my uncle Alphonse Huber's birth record in the large Paris archives took a lot of patience, but it was worth it.
|Birth record for Alphonse Antoine Huber, Paris, France, March 16, 1864|
(CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW LARGER)
- Alphonse's middle name was Antoine, which was his paternal grandfather's name;
- His father, Ignace Hubert [sic], was a tailleur or tailor; and
- His mother, Caroline Wey, was a couturière or dressmaker.
I also used the Bas-Rhin archives to locate Ignace's birth record in Artolsheim and Caroline's in Dambach-la-Ville. If my research was successful without knowing the language, then others looking for their French ancestors definitely can do it, too.
If you can read French and see any other important details in the birth record above, I would love to hear from you!