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France Guide for the Jewish Traveler


Comprehensive official French web site, arranged by region, that benefits from having Toni L. Kamins as its editor and contributor. It includes addresses and links to museums, Jewish cemeteries, synagogues, Jewish quarters and other sites of Jewish heritage and history as well as information and resources on today’s Jewish communities and life, including schools, restaurants, kosher shops, bookstores and even kosher wineries….


Jewish Cemeteries in France

Article by Gérard Nahon

He describes the approx. 300 or so Jewish cemeteries in France, most of which opened following the decrees or laws in 1791, 1804, and 1881, and which fall into four historic and legal categories:

1. old community cemetery,
2. independent cemetery belonging to the municipality,
3. l’enclos israélite in the communal cemetery opened in the 19th century
4. le carré israélite, a Jewish plot in communal and inter- communal cemeteries of the 20th century.

Web site for the European Day of Jewish Culture & Heritage in France

Dedicated to the events programmed on the annual European Day of Jewish Culture in September, this web site lists many Jewish heritage sites in France, by region (based on the EDJC events planned there).


Judaism and Jewish Heritage in Alsace-Lorraine (in French)


Alsace-Lorraine has very well developed documentation and tourist infrastructure regarding Jewish heritage sites; the region launched “open doors” days to Jewish heritage in 1996, which led to the overall launch of the European Day of Jewish Culture. The general web has numerous sub-pages with detailed information on scores of Jewish heritage sites, including synagogues, cemeteries, mikvahs, museums, homes and other places for the departments of Bas-Rhin; Haut-Rhin; and Lorraine.  It also has links to material on Jewish heritage in individual towns including Colmar;  Mulhouse; Strasbourg and Metz.


NORMANDY — Synagogues and Jewish Sites of Interest

Chabad tourism and information site with listings and addresses


Old postcards of Jewish sites in France

Edward Victor’s web site has history and postcards for more than 20 towns:

BelfortBesancon Biarritz CarpentrasChablisChalons-Sur-Marne, DijonEpernayEpinalIngwillerJouarre (La Ferte), Lille, LunevilleReimsSaint EtienneSedanSelestat, Strasbourg,ThannThionvilleVerdun

Videos of an international conference on the Archaeology of Judaism in France and Europe, held in Paris January 14-15, 2010

All the presentations are available in video form, clicking the links. Most are in French; some are in English with French voice-over




You can access information to many if not most Jewish heritage sites in France via the general links above. We present here below places that have their own web sites or other online resources.



Neo-classic synagogue, designed by the architect by architect J.A. Jeoffroy and built in 1846-48, features a domed rotunda and elegant sanctuary notable for the two-levels of Doric and Corinthian columns. It is located in the medieval ghetto area on the site of an earlier synagogue that was destroyed by fire in 1845. The first synagogue on the site was built in the 13th century.


2 place Jérusalem
84000 Avignon
Tel: +33 04 90 85 21 24


Jewish community web site

360 degree photo documentation of the synagogue, on Synagogues360




Jewish cemetery established in the 17th century and one of the oldest in France, with about 3,000 mainly horizontal Sephardic-style grave markers. Restoration work, organized by the German group Aktion Sühnezeichen (Action Reconciliation) and the Jewish Museum of Belgium, has been going on since 2011, following on work carried out in 2010 by  Belgium Jewish Museum curator Dr. Philippe Pierret and the photographer Gina van Hoof.

See the JHE post about the restoration work.

Here’s a video about the 2014 volunteer restoration campaign.



Small town in the Pyrenees with a 17th century Jewish cemetery.

JHE report on restoration of the Jewish cemetery.




Bordeaux has three historic Jewish cemeteries, all listed as historic cultural monuments since 1995.

Downloadable PDF brochure on Bordeaux’s Jewish cemeteries

Prepared and published by the city’s tourism department. In French with a map and summaries in English and Spanish.

Video of the Avignonnais Jewish cemetery at 47 rue Sauteyron in central Bordeaux, founded in 1728 and in use until 1805. It has 104 graves:

Article — with pictures — about the Avigonnais cemetery




Synagogue from 1842 (now housing the Alsatian-Jewish Museum). Jewish cemetery dating from the late 16th century; oldest legible stone from 1608.

Alsatian-Jewish Museum

62a Grand-rue, 67330 Bouxwiller
Tel./Fax : +33 (0) 3 88 709 717 
Email : museejudeoalsacien@orange.fr


Page on Bouxwiller on the Jewish heritage in Alsace-Lorraine web site




The oldest still-active Synagogue in France, built in 1367 and restored, expanded and rebuilt in rococo style in the 18th century by the architect Antoine D’Allemand, who also carried out other major works in the town, including the aquaduct. The synagogue has a simple facade. The complex includes, on the ground floor, two mikvehs (one from the 14th century and one from the 18th century) and two bakeries (one for bread, one for matzo). The sanctuary, in teal-colored wood, employs tromp l’oeill “marble” and baroque elements.

Ark, Carpentras synagogue

There is a Jewish cemetery also originally dating from the 14th century and believed to be the oldest in France. Much of the area is bare, as a papal edict forbade tombstones in Jewish cemeteries. The earliest stones are from the late 18th century.

Downloadable pdf brochure about the Synagogue (in French)

Downloadable pdf brochure about the Synagogue (English)

Synagogue page on web site of Carpentras Tourism Offiice



Synagogue and Jewish Museum
Rue Hébraïque
84300  Cavaillon


Medieval Synagogue, rebuilt in rebuilt in elaborate style in 1772-1774. No longer in use as a house of worship, it houses a Jewish Museum. Jewish quarter, ritual bath.


Web site of the Musée Judéo-Comtadin



Synagogue originally built in the late 19th century, now housing the Centre d’Art Contemporain (Center for Contemporary Art)

33, rue Poincare, 57590 Delme, France
tel.+33 (0)3 87 01 43 42
fax.+33 (0)3 87 01 43 14


TSynagogue Delme Photo: By Aimelaime (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commonshe synagogue was originally built in 1881 in Moorish style, with a large, distinctive onion dome. It was almost completely demolished by German bombing in World War II and reconstructed in 1946 in a much simpler style that still incorporates a peristyle, raised platform, first-floor balcony, arched portal and windows, and dome. It has housed the contemporary arts center since 1993.



Once a major wool manufacturing center, Elbeuf, in Normandy, had a sizeable Jewish population in the textile industry before World War II. Few survivors returned to Elbeuf, but the 1950s and 60s brought Sephardic Jews from N. Africa. With the move of textile manufacturing to the Far East over the past few decades, the last semblances of Elbeuvian Jewish life have vanished. The synagogue – whose outer walls bear yellow stars painted by Nazi sympathizers during World War II – still stands.

Here’s the trailer for Yellow Stars of Tolerance, a documentary chronicling how New Yorker Marie Lippman, born in Elbeuf,  works to see the restoration of the synagogue:





La Grande Synagogue (La Victoire Synagogue)

Seating 1,800 people, this is the largest synagogue in France, and believed to be the second largest in Europe after the Dohany St. synagogue in Budapest. It was designed by the Chief Architect of Paris Alfred-Philibert Aldrophe and built in 1874, with the support of the Rothschild family.

Website of the Synagogue

Detailed article on Jspace.com about the history and architecture of the synagogue


Museum of the Art and History of Judaism

Hôtel de Saint-Aignan
71, rue du Temple
75003 Paris
Tel: +33 1 53 01 86 60
Fax: +33 1 42 72 97 47



THANN (Alsace)

Though there is evidence of an earlier presence of Jews in Thann, communal life dates from the late 18th century. Today there is a synagogue and Jewish cemetery; and in 2014  a mikvah dating from 1860 was discovered.


Imposing synagogue, with Moorish-style elements, built in 1862 to replace an earlier structure. It was severely damaged in World War II, rebuilt, then devastated again in World War II. It was rebuilt after WW2, then restored in 1975. Efforts are under way for further restoration and repair work.

Friends of the Synagogue blog

Aimed at raising funds for the refurbishment

Downloadable flyer about the restoration


DHM 2014 – SEM 40 – sauvegarde de la synagogue… by teledoller