The Best Places to Discover Jewish History in Paris

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Jewish quarter of Paris, France guided walking tour.

Paris has long been home to diverse Jewish communities. There are many places in the French capital, which bear witness to the rich and complicated Jewish history in the city. From culture, art, and achievement to the times of terrible persecution, you can learn much more about Jewish history by exploring the below-mentioned places on your next Paris private guided tour.

Pletzl (Jewish Quarter)

The Pletzl neighborhood or the traditional Jewish Quarter of Paris is located in the heart of the Marais District in the fourth arrondissement. Jewish communities have made this area their home since the medieval period, and you can find many Jewish bakeries, restaurants, bookshops, and synagogues here. You can also see some moving plaques at Rue des Hospitalières-Saint-Gervais near Rue des Rosiers that pay tribute to Jewish children who were deported to death camps during the Second World War.

Museum of Jewish Art and History

The Museum of Jewish Art and History, Paris houses the city’s most important collection related to Jewish cultural, intellectual, religious, and artistic practices. There are over 700 works of art and artifacts here. The prominent religious and archeological items in the permanent collection trace the history of Jewish civilizations and cultural practices from ancient times to the present day. The museum also hosts many temporary shows that focus on key Jewish artists and cultural movements.

Mémorial de la Shoah

The Shoah Memorial is the Holocaust museum in Paris that takes you on an emotional and in-depth journey of the horrific genocide of the European Jews by Nazi Germany during World War II. The museum houses one of the largest collections of artifacts and archives related to the Holocaust in Europe. There is a memorial area, Wall of Names, near the entrance as well, which lists the names of the 76,000 French Jews who were deported to concentration and death camps during the 1942 to 1944 period.

Agoudas Hakehilos Synagogue

The historic Agoudas Hakehilos Synagogue at 10 Rue Pavée features a facade with distinctively modern, art deco elements. It was commissioned by a local community of Orthodox Jews in the year 1914 and has since been an important place of worship in Paris. You can see many stunning ornate furnishings, including chandeliers and designer benches in the synagogue, designed by renowned French architect, Hector Guimard. It also has its share of tragedies; the synagogue was bombed alongside six others in Paris on the evening of Yom Kippur in 1941.

Other important places that are reminiscent of the diverse Jewish history in Paris include the Vélodrome d’Hiver Memorial Site, the Théatre de la Ville, and the Mémorial des Martyrs de la Déportation. A visit to these spots will be an enriching experience to learn about the past and understand how the Jewish communities have rebuilt and thrived once again over the years.