This building has now been open as the Jewish museum since 1998
after a restoration project that lasted for well over 20 years.
The Musee d'Art et d'Histoire du Judaisme is dedicated to not just the Jewish community
within France, but throughout the world as well, and covers numerous different aspects
from the Middle Ages in culture, history, writing, etc up until the 20th century.
It was as early as the Ist century BC that the first Jewish settled in France and the
first synagogue in Paris was completed by the year 582.
The main street, called the Ile de la Cite was a Jewish enclave until King Philippe
Auguste temporarily expelled the Jewish settlers in the 12th century. And during the
following centuries, there were many more attempts to expel the Jewish, however, in the
year 1791, there were around 40,000 Jewish people that were granted full citizenship.
During World War II the Jewish population in France almost halved, but has grown again to
approximately 700,000 people, which makes it the largest concentration of the Jewish in
And so the Musee d'Art et Histoire du Judaisme was first founded in the year 1948 with its
main purpose of preserving the memories of those that suffered from the Holocaust along
with the culture that had been destroyed.
Originally looted by the Nazis, the first collections in the museum were mainly religious
objects and cultural goods of the Jewish, but today, its main focus is on Jewish history
in France and displays religious art, ethnography, works by Jewish artists and models of
Although all exhibits are in the native tongue, there are explanations in English and you
can also utilise audio guides which are in quite a few different languages, to help your
understanding whilst going through the museum.
After you have entered The Musee d'Art et d'Histoire du Judaisme you will go from room to
room, which are set out with a theme, with its history and culture, etc for different and
historic time periods.
You will be able to see the diversity of the Jewish people from the past and until more
recently. With exhibits including 13th century tombstones that were excavated in Paris, wooden models of destroyed synagogues and
plaques that pay tribute to residents who were victims of the holocaust and died in
concentration camps, there is so much to see.
There is also a lovely café, which is situated in the original restored dining room of
The Hotel de Saint Aignan mansion. Lit by large windows, it is a very pleasant place
to sit and relax with a cup of coffee or a light meal, whilst observing the 17th century
frescoes and decor.
And although the Musee d'Art et d'Histoire du Judaisme has a permanent exhibition,
throughout the year, it also plays host to temporary exhibitions, such as with photography
or contemporary art.
There is also a fantastic book shop and gift shop with a vast variety of things you can
purchase from jewellery to unusual objects and children's books through to postcards and
reproductions of Jewish artists' works.
You can request a personal guided tour, but this would normally have to be arranged in
advance, otherwise you go round at your leisure utilising the audio guides in your chosen
The Musee d'Art et d'Histoire du Judaisme is open every day of the week except on a
Saturday from 11am through to 6pm.
Address & Contact Details:
Hotel de Saint-Aignan
71 Rue du Temple
Telephone: 1 53 01 86 60