Jewish sites in Aquitaine, Languedoc and the Midi-Pyrenees.

Jewish sites in Aquitaine, Languedoc and the Midi-Pyrenees.



Midi Pyrénées




pont du gard



Tourist Office
12, cours du 30 juillet
33000 Bordeaux

Access to Jewish monuments may be obtained by calling the Secretariat of the Bordeaux Consistoire - tel.

Bordeaux is home to Aquitaine’s oldest and largest Jewish community.  Jewish settlement dates back to the 4th century.  

Toward the end of the 15th century, Conversos or Marranos (Jews forced to convert to Christianity but who practiced Judaism in secret) fleeing the Inquisition in Spain and Portugal began to settle in Bordeaux under a grant from King Henry II.  In the relative safety of their new homeland, the Jews gradually practiced their faith more openly and even established a Jewish section of the parish cemetery. In addition, Jews from Provence began to settle in Bordeaux and by 1753, though practicing Judaism in public was still against the law, the Jews of Bordeaux gathered for prayer in several private locations.

By the beginning of the 18th century, Bordeaux was home to 1,422 Jews of Portuguese origin and 348 Jews from Provence. In 1734, 1740, and 1748, expulsion orders were issued, but each time the community found a way to have the orders postponed.   

The community of Bordeaux played a significant role in the establishment of civil rights for Jews in France just before the 1789 Revolution. They sent two delegates, Abraham Furtado and S. Lopes-Dubec, to meet Chrétien de Malesherbes, one of the king’s chief ministers.   

synagogueDuring the 19th century, Jews were active in the municipal, commercial, and intellectual affairs of Bordeaux.  Around the same time two of Bordeaux’s great wineries were established by Jews -  Baron Nathaniel de Rothschild, of the English branch of the family, founded Château Mouton-Rothschild in the Médoc in 1853, and his cousin Baron James de Rothschild founded Château Lafite-Rothschild in 1867. Bordeaux’s Grande Synagogue was consecrated in 1882. photo credit

Early in World War II (May and June 1940) thousands of Jews fleeing the German occupation of northern France came to Bordeaux. Unfortunately, the Franco-German armistice on June 21, 1940, placed Bordeaux in the occupied zone and two-thirds of its Jews were deported. The Grande Synagogue was used as a detention center for Jews awaiting deportation.

Although French fascists vandalized the Grande Synagogue in January 1944, Bordeaux’s few Jewish survivors of the war rebuilt it, and by 1960 the Jewish population numbered 3,000. By 1970 that figure had nearly doubled.  

Chocolate lovers can thank the Jews of Aquitaine for introducing chocolate to France.


Bordeaux’s first large synagogue—the Grande Synagogue—replaced one built in 1810 and destroyed by fire in 1873. The current building, with a huge 1,500-seat capacity and columns made of Carrara marble, is the largest synagogue in France. The Consistoire Israélite shares the building. 213, rue Ste-Catherine, tel.

Not much is left of the Jewish district, but remnants can be seen on the Rue Cheverus just off the Rue Ste-Catherine pedestrian mall (once known as Arrua Judega). Turn left onto Rue de la Porte-Dijeaux to go to the city gate once known as Jews' Gate.

Pauline and Hans Herzl, children of Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern political Zionism, are buried in a 17th-century cemetery at 176, cour de l’Yser. Another private Jewish cemetery, established in 1725, is at 74, cour de la Marne.

Street Names
Bordeaux has many streets named for noted Jews: Rue David-Gradis, a shipping magnate; Rue (Abraham) Furtado, treasurer of Bordeaux and chairman of Napoléon's Assembly of Jewish Notables; and Avenue Georges-Mandel, Minister of the Interior, who was assassinated in 1944. Several streets are named for Léon Blum, France’s first Jewish prime minister.

Kosher restaurants


Tourist Office
Place Royale
64000 Pau

Built in 1850.
8, rue des Trois-Frères-Bernadac

Concentration Camp
Thirty kilometers west of Pau, in Gurs, is the site of one of France's largest concentration camps. Some 800 Jews died here during the winter of 1940. In July 1942, following an inspection by one of Adolph Eichmann's deputies, the Gurs inmates were moved to Drancy outside Paris and then sent to death camps. The camp cemetery contains the graves of 1,200 Jews.


Tourist Office
107, blvd. Carnot
47000 Agen

The remnant of the ancient ghetto, circa 1342, is on Rue des Juifs.

Museum and Community Center
The Musée de la Résistance et de la Déportation is in the same building as the synagogue and the Jewish Community Center. 40, rue Montesquieu, tel.


Tourist Office Place des Basques
64100 Bayonne

The Jewish community here, established in the mid-17th century, was destroyed during World War II.

Built in 1837. 35, rue Maubec, tel.

Near Bayonne

Some of the oldest Jewish cemeteries in France are located in villages about 30 kilometers east of Bayonne. For access, inquire at the Consistoire de Bayonne, tel.
Bidache  Established in 1690
Payrehorade Established in 1628 and re-established in 1737, found on Rue des Chapons
Labastide-Clairence 16th century

Midi Pyrénées

saint georgesToulouse
Tourist Office
Donjon du Capitole
31000 Toulouse

Centuries ago Toulouse had a thriving Jewish community, but numerous expulsions resulted in its demise. Today, thanks to the immigration of Jews from North Africa, Toulouse once again has vibrant Jewish life—the third largest in France.

Synagogues and Community Centers
Chaare Emeth 35, rue Rembrandt, tel.
Ozar HaTorah 33, rue Jules-Dalou, tel.
Community Center—Espace du Judaïsme Hekhal David 2, place Riquet, tel.

Kosher Restaurants


This region has a long and distinguished Jewish past, especially in Béziers, Montpellier, Narbonne, and Perpignan.

The 1306 order that expelled the Jews from France brought them to Provence, Catalonia (in Spain), Roussillon, and Perpignan. At the end of the 14th century, with the French annexation of Languedoc, more Jews were expelled and moved to Provence. Jews did not settle again in Languedoc until the end of the 18th century.

The region was home to numerous Jewish scholars who were distinguished in religious and secular pursuits. Perpignan, where nothing of the medieval community remains, was a Tosaphist (Talmudic study) center. Jewish physicians were well known and served towns all over the region. Many studied at the University of Montpellier’s renowned medical school in the 14th century.


Tourist Office
29, ave. St-Saëns
34500 Béziers

Know as la Petite Jérusalem (Little Jerusalem) during the Middle Ages, Béziers was a center of Jewish learning and the home to many Jewish scholars, poets, and liturgists. Two notable scholars were Abraham ibn Ezra (1089–1164), who wrote Torah commentaries and structural works on the Hebrew language, and Benjamin of Tudela, the 12th-century traveler who chronicled the Jewish world of his day.

Synagogue and Community Center
Association Culturelle Israélite 19, place Pierre-Sémard, tel/fax.,


Tourist Office Place Gambetta
34120 Pézenas

Located below the walls of the castle, the 14th-century ghetto is still mostly intact.  Enter between the Faugères and Biaise gates through a low archway.  It leads to Rue de la Juiverie and goes up to Rue Litanie, also known as the careyra de las litanias. Stones from the ancient synagogue can be seen in the cloister of the St-Nazaire Cathedral. To visit the ghetto, ask at the Pézenas tourist office. Ask also at the tourist office for visits to the Jewish cemetery located just outside Pézenas.

Tourist Office
Esplanade Comédie
34000 Montpellier

In the Middle Ages Montpellier had a significant Jewish community and was home to several yeshivas. The city’s medieval Jewish quarter was located around the present Rue de la Barralerie.

Ancient Jewish Quarter
The medieval Jewish quarter was located around the present Rue de la Barralerie. Under the city walls at 1, rue de la Barralerie (the entrance to the medieval Jewish quarter) is a restored 13th-century mikvah (ritual bath). A series of vaulted rooms, staircase, disrobing room, and the bath are open to visitors. Contact the tourist office.

Synagogue and Community Center
Grande Synagogue Ben Zakai 7, rue Général Lafon, tel.
Centre communautaire et culturel juif 500, blvd. d’Antigone, tel.

Kosher Winery

The Fortant winery near Montpellier produces a line of kosher wines. Open year-round for visits, tastings, and purchases.
Contact Les Vins Skalli
278, ave. du Maréchal-Juin
34200 Sète

Tourist Office
6, rue Auguste
30000 Nîmes

Jews have come and gone from Nîmes probably since as far back as the seventh century, although the earliest evidence of an established community is from the 10th century, when Nîmes had a synagogue. In the 11th century, Mont Duplan, one of the hills within the city walls, was called Poium Judaicum and was the site of a Jewish cemetery.

Built in 1793, it also contains a mikvah and a matzo bakery. 40, rue Roussy, tel.  

Community Center and Kosher Restaurant
5, rue d’Angoulême, tel.