Jewish Paris: What to see
The Jewish Paris is loaded of History. Since the Roman period, Jewish families have lived in Paris. Today, the biggest Jewish community lives in the 4th district, in the Marais where you can see a lot of marks of Jewish history, and they are also quite a number in the 11th, 13th and 19th districts.
The Marais is the most famous Jewish neighbourhood – it has been occupied by Jewish people since the middle ages- and is called “the Pletzl” in Yiddish, which means “the little place”.
In rue des Rosiers (Rose bushes street), you will find many Jewish bookshops, kosher restaurants serving “fallafels”, and typical bakeries with traditional candelabrums in the store fronts. There are also some places for prayer, such as synagogues and small rooms called shtiebels.
On some buildings, between the trendy shops of the Marais, you will find plaques commemorating people and families deported during the Second World War. The largest synagogue in the Pletzl is Agulath Hakehilot which is orthodox, in Rue Pavée (“Cobbled street”), designed by the Art nouveau architect Hector Guimard at the beginning of the nineteenth century. The Germans provoked an explosion in it in 1940, but it has since been restored.
Some private mansions used to be owned by Ashkenazi Jewish people, including the “Hotel des Juifs” at the 20th of the Ferdinand Duval Street. In rue des Ecouffes, there are some posters of a Lubavitcher Rebbe, to remind everyone of the importance of the community in the district. At the 71st of Rue du Temple, in Hotel Saint Aignan, you will find the Musuem of Jewish Art and History, with exhibitions illustrated by traditional objects of worship and photographs.
As the Jewish history has been so turbulent in Europe and in France in the middle of the twentieth century, a big memorial for the Shoah – full of information about Jewish history during the Second World War, documents and places of reverence – is also established in the Marais, on the 17th of Geoffrey l’Asnier Street: an interesting and touching visit to pay.