Paris Insider: Two Jewish Museums to Visit

France is home to the third largest Jewish population in the world, after the United States and Israel, with over 275,000 Jews living in the greater Paris area alone.

The Marais district in Paris was where most of the Jewish population lived from approximately 1880 to 1985 and now there are two museums that document the history of Jews in France.

Shoah Memorial

Inaugurated in 2005, the Shoah Memorial is the Holocaust Museum of Paris.

On the outside, The Wall of the Righteous, lists the names of French non-Jewish people who assisted Jewish citizens in escaping the Nazi regime in World War II, by either fighting in the Resistance, hiding them in their homes, falsifying passports and documents for them to leave the country, and other courageous acts. They are listed by their names, the city or village they were from and the year that they were discovered, as the Shoah Foundation had to do extensive research to locate them.

The front courtyard has a large circular bronze sculpture with the names of the main concentration camps the Jews were deported to in Poland and Germany. The Wall of Names lists, in alphabetical order, the names of the approximately 75,000 Jews from France that died in the Holocaust.

Shoah Memorial in Paris

Inside the museum, the lower levels contain the permanent exhibition with extensive history and documentation of the Holocaust in France. It includes documents, newspaper and magazine articles, propaganda, books, films, recorded interviews of Holocaust survivors, objects, clothing, and other significant artifacts. Many of the displays are translated into English.

The main floor entrance has a bookshop with books in French and English about the Holocaust, the second-floor curates’ temporary exhibitions on the subject matter of the Holocaust, and the third floor has classrooms and workshops where the history of the Holocaust is taught.

Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., every day except Saturday, admission is free. Guided tours are given in English every second Sunday of the month. Group tours can be arranged in advance for a fee. Visit

The Jewish Museum of Art and History

Focusing more on the rich Jewish culture of France, the Jewish Museum of Art and History was installed in the 1998 in the Hôtel de Saint-Aignan, a formidable, former mansion from 1650. Dedicated to preserving close to two thousand years of the Jewish presence in France, the museum exhibits private and state collections of over 12,000 paintings, artworks, sculptures, furniture, religious artifacts and other significant items from the Middle Ages up until the 20th century.

Museum of Jewish Art and History

The museum hosts informative temporary exhibitions, and the current show, "You Will Remember Me," running until July 23, 2023, has close to 150 photographs, archival documents and drawings created by 105 Jewish children who were hidden in a safe house during WWII, before they were deported to concentration camps and eventually died. Starting on October 12, 2023, the museum will present "Joann Sfar, La Vie Dessinée," the first retrospective of Joann Sfar, who is a celebrated French, graphic novelist and artist.  The exhibition will display 250 works, most of them never seen by the public before.

A comprehensive library has over 20,000 books and 3,00 audiovisual documents that can be accessed free of charge.

The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday. Visit

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