Lonely Planet review
To delve into the historic heart of the Marais' long-established Jewish community visit this facinating museum, housed in the sumptuous Hôtel de St-Aignan dating from 1650. The museum traces the evolution of Jewish communities from the Middle Ages to the present, with particular emphasis on French Jewish history and the history of Jewish communities in other parts of Europe and North Africa. Highlights include documents relating to the Dreyfus Affair; and works by Chagall, Modigliani and Soutine. A creative array of music, writing and history workshops for children, adults and families compliment the excellent exhibitions; see the website for details.
The area in which the musuem sits is known as Pletzl (from the Yiddish for 'little square'). This colourful Jewish quarter starts in rue des Rosiers and continues along rue Ste-Croix de la Bretonnerie to rue du Temple. Don't miss the Art Nouveau synagogue designed in 1913 by Hector Guilard, also responsible for the city's famous metro entrances.