French TV is running a popular vote “France’s Favorite Monument” competition — and the historic synagogue in Carpentras is in the running. Anyone older than 13 and living in France can take part.
Carpentras is helping get out the vote for the synagogue, the oldest active synagogue in France, which celebrated its 650th birthday in 2017.
“Vote for the Carpentras synagogue!” it urges on its web site.
To vote for the Carpentras Synagogue, all you have to do is click!
Go to the France Télévision website.… Then choose the Provence-Alpes-Côté d’Azur region and click on the photo of the synagogue at the bottom of the page.
You can vote as many times as you want without entering an email address until May 27 at 11:59 p.m.
Each of the 14 regions is fielding three monuments to choose from — the winning 14 will then be subject to another public vote.
Also in the running for the Provence-Alpes-Côté d’Azur region are the ancient Roman Amphitheater at Arles, and another site related to Jewish history — the opulent Ephrussi de Rothschild Villa and Gardens at Saint- Jean-Cap-Ferrat, built between 1907 and 1912 by Baroness Béatrice de Rothschild.
The Carpentras synagogue was originally built in 1367. Jews had been expelled from the Kingdom of France in 1306 but found refuge in papal lands, or the Comtat Venaissin, where they were permitted to live in four towns: Carpentras, Cavaillon, Avignon, and l’Isle sur Sorgue.
In the 18th century the synagogue was expanded and its interior was reconstructed in baroque/rococo style, by Antoine D’Allemand, a local architect who carried out other major projects in the town, including its aqueduct. With teal-colored wooden walls, tromp l’oiell painted “marble,” and ornate ironwork, it resembles Italian synagogues of the same period.
The ground floor of the complex includes two mikvehs — one (which would have had heated water) dating from the 18th century, and the other — reached at the bottom of a 10-meter shaft — dating from medieval times.