The Jewish Marais
There was a Jewish presence in the Marais quarter from the 13th century until the Jews were expelled from France a century later.
After the Emancipation in 1791, a community re-established itself with arrivals of Alsatian Jews at the beginning of the 19th century then, from the 1880s onwards, Eastern European Jews fleeing misery and persecutions.
Arriving in successive waves, thousands of Jews settled in the Marais until the 1930s.
Around Rue des Rosiers and Place Saint-Paul, called the Pletzl (Yiddish for “little square), these newcomers built synagogues and opened shops and businesses, filling the district’s narrow streets with the atmosphere of Yiddishland until, during the Second World War the Jewish Marais was decimated by the Shoah.
More than half of its Jewish inhabitants were murdered in the camps. The community recovered in the 1960s and 1970s with the massive influx of Jews from North Africa. The tours of the Marais organised by the mahJ take you on a journey through its streets, facades, gardens, synagogues, Jewish schools and former hammam, all steeped in the district’s customs, rituals and traditions.
Today, Rue des Rosiers, with its Israeli streetfood, New York-style diners and fashion boutiques is still the symbol and focal point of Jewish life in the French capital.