Day 1 (Arrival) – June 20th, Monday
Hop in an Uber or a taxi and head over to check-in at the fashionable 4* Jobo Hotel, situated ideally in the central Marais. Unwind and unpack and rest.
Flora will meet you at the hotel for a Champagne toast and go over the week’s itinerary with you. Then you’ll head over for an early dinner at Balagan a see-and-be-seen modern Israeli restaurant
Day 2 – June 21st, Tuesday
After breakfast Flora will pick you up from your hotel to head off on your walking tour of Le Marais. This tour focuses on the history and the life of the Jews in Paris from the Roman times through the middle ages and up to the present time. We’ll hear stories of anti-Judaism, and explore many sites and buildings related to the history of the Jews in Paris. We’ll also learn about the history of the Jews after they were expelled from France in 1394, during the French Revolution, and also during the 19th century. We’ll hear about the famous Dreyfus case, and other stories of antisemitism at the same time as the Jews were assimilating, creating some wealthy famous families in France such as the the Rothschilds and the Camondos. We’ll visit at least one synagogue, see commemorative plaques about WWII, and wander the cute narrow streets of the Marais discovering its lively cafés, Jewish delis, Yiddish bakeries and famous falafel joints on the Rue des Rosiers. This tour will include the holocaust memorial, which is also found in the Marais.
Lunch at the world-famous Jewish restaurant l’As du Falafel
After lunch, we’ll meet up with a “hidden child” who used to live on the Rue des Rosiers and miraculously survived the Occupation of Paris by the Nazis. He’ll take us to the place where he lived during the War, show us the places of his childhood, and we’ll then sit and have coffee and pastries with him to talk about his life and listen for his testimony.
Our day will end near your hotel, with a last stop at the beautiful Place des Vosges, the first Royal Square of Paris which housed famous inhabitants such as Victor Hugo.
Tonight we’ll savor classic French food at a local Provençal-style brasserie, Chez Janou, a short walk from the hotel. We’ll be joined by, Katrin, one of our Girls’ Guide friends in Paris. Here you can try frog legs, snails, or less intimidating French specialties, such as ratatouille, creamy cheese or stuffed Provençal peppers
Day 3 – June 22nd, Wednesday
Today we’ll take the metro a short way to the Louvre Museum, the largest museum in the world!
>With our special VIP skip the line access, we’ll start our visit from a different angle. The Jewish Louvre tour is an insider’s way to discover the history of Israel while visiting the masterpieces of the Louvre, all the while learning of the history of the Jewish people in France via the Louvre’s unparalleled collections.
>We’ll discover the oldest mention of Israel, the fascinating story of the Crusades as well as how and why the country was disputed by Syria and Egypt. We’ll witness Jerusalem through the eyes of many legendary painters. Among the art we’ll also study several portraits of Jewish women who have been a great inspiration for many painters, such as Esther, Rebecca or Bathsheba. Many surprises will await you during this visit. Naturally, the tour also includes the classic highlights such as the Venus of Milo, Winged Victory, the Coronation of Napoleon, and of course, the Mona Lisa!
After our tour, we’ll enjoy a delightful lunch at local bistrot, recently highlighted on the television series Emily in Paris.
>After lunch, we’ll enjoy some unstructured time to shop, explore the beautiful gardens of the Palais Royal, the secret covered passages, or simply relax before dinner. You might want to explore the nearby Opera Garnier, or the beautiful Galerie Vivienne and its charming shops.
Tonight we’ll treat ourselves to a superb dinner of elevated Kosher cuisine at Kavod – the most revered fine French kosher restaurants in Paris.
Day 4 – June 23rd, Thursday
Today, we’ll focus on the wealthy Jewish families and philanthropists who left their mark on Paris architecture, collected important art, and participated in building marvelous Synagogues. We’ll begin our day with a visit to the Nissim de Camondo Museum.
The Camondos, a family of wealthy and successful Jewish bankers in the 19th century, arrived in Paris from Turkey. Moses de Camondo was an astute art collector. He gathered a splendid collection of 18th century artifacts in his luxury private mansion, which is now the museum of Nissim de Camondo, named after his son. The family sadly disappeared after the occupation of Paris, deported to Auschwitz.
This tour is a unique experience, to enter the life of a Jewish French family in 19th century in Paris, discover a proper Parisian mansion in one of the most elegant neighborhoods in the city.
After the tour we’ll walk through the stunning Parc Monceau just in front of the home. The area of Parc Monceau was built in the 19th century where many wealthy Jewish families lived. It will give us the opportunity to talk about other important Jewish families of the 19th century such as the Rothschilds, the Ephrussi and the Kramers.
Lunch will be at the museum restaurant, aptly named, Le Camondo.
After lunch, and a quick drive, we’ll visit the Buffault Synagogue, built thanks to benefactor Daniel Iffla. Monsieur Iffla, known at “Osiris” was a financier who devoted himself to philanthropy after the death of his wife Leonie Carlier, who sadly died just a year after she gave birth to two children.
His obsession with philanthropy emerged from the Jewish tradition of the tzedakah (charity), republican values and the irrepressible desire to spread his wealth. He built a statue in honor of Joan of Arc in the city of Nancy, France and his impressive collection of Napoleonic relics was bequeathed to the Pasteur Institute. After we’ll stroll by the Grand Synagogue of Paris, as well as the Consistoire, where we’ll hear he story of a Jewish courtesan named Esther Lachman.
After our historical walk, we’ll reach the foothills of Montmartre, where we are headed for a delectable wine tasting experience with an array of cheeses! There is no better place to enjoy some fabulous French wine than Montmartre which used to be covered in vineyards and was formerly a haven for artists such as Picasso, Van Gogh, Renoir, and Modigliani as well as the bohemians of Paris. Tonight we’ll relive their revelries of art and drink with each toast. (You may have already discovered a bit about the “crazy years” in Paris and its artists, depicted in the movie Midnight in Paris by Woody Allen).
Dinner tonight will be on your own, as you might be quite full from the afternoon’s bread, wine & cheese! Restaurants and cafes near our hotel are plentiful.
Day 5 – June 24th, Friday
Today we’ll take a day trip to explore beyond Paris, discovering the city of Troyes. After a train ride from Paris to Troyes, we’ll arrive in the Champagne region. Welcome to the heart of the cork! Yes, the cork! This is what the town centre of Troyes is known as, since when viewed from above, it’s shaped almost exactly like a Champagne cork. What an odd coincidence! Troyes is largely a 16th century city, with most of today’s buildings and layout dating from what locals call the “beautiful 16th century”.
This pivotal era, spanning both the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, has left a lasting legacy on Troyes today. The city was ravaged by a great fire in 1524, but was rebuilt to its original appearance, with its half-timbered houses and mansions. In Troyes, we’ll enter one of these houses – the House of Rashi. Rashi was born in Troyes in 1040. He studied at the best rabbinical schools during his stay of several years in the Rhineland. Once returned to his home town, he created a Jewish study house that became famous. During his lifetime, his teaching was renowned throughout the Ashkenazic world.
After the visit, we’ll head for a simple lunch in a local French brasserie, before starting a unique experience learning about the art of stained glass. Troyes is famous for its stained class and we’ll have a chance to make our own, as it was done back in the day decorating the most beautiful European cathedrals and churches from the Middle Ages!
After a full day in Troyes, we’ll be back in Paris for dinner near the hotel, at a casual North African restaurant, Chez Omar, where we’ll enjoy tasty couscous, voted one of France’s top 3 favorite meals!
Day 6 – June 25th, Saturday
Today, we won’t be eating breakfast at the hotel because we’ll meet a Jewish chef from Ferrandi (school of culinary arts in Paris). He’ll teach us the secrets of making traditional French pastries as well as Jewish specialties, in your guide’s Marais apartment. We’ll bake and eat together, in a cozy and welcoming ambiance, before heading out for our walking tour about the Occupation and Liberation of Paris.
This tour will take us through the Hotel de Ville (City Hall of Paris), the rue de Rivoli and the many hotels occupied by the Nazis during the War. We’ll walk through the Tuileries gardens arriving a the Place de Concorde where we’ll discuss the occupation of Paris and just how much Parisians’ life changed during those long 5 years – from watching Nazis march around Paris, curfews, food shortage, as well as what happened to Haute Couture and the artists during the War. We’ll learn about the Resistance, the Righteous among the Nations and much more. The tour will end at the Vendôme square, at the Ritz Hotel just in time for tea. Did you know that Coco Chanel lived at the Ritz during the Occupation? We’ll also discover how, in the legend of the Ritz, Ernest Hemingway famously “liberated” the hotel’s bar from the Nazis in 1944!
You can explore, shop, or rest at your convenience this afternoon after our unique day. Tonight is reserved for leisure on your own.
Day 7 – June 26th, Sunday
Today we’re headed for a unique and eclectic area of Paris that most tourists miss … Belleville. Belleville is an old village where Parisians used to escape for the weekend. It only became part of Paris in the 1860’s. Built on a hill (one of the highest in Paris after Montmartre), you can feel the strong artistic and working-class background as you walk the streets and climb the hills of this charming neighborhood. Artists and artisans originally settled in Belleville, along with a large portion of the Jewish population from North Africa who arrived in the 1960’s from Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco. During the tour, we’ll explore this buzzing neighborhood of Paris, with its hidden Synagogue, Jewish cafes, restaurants and bakeries. (We’ll be doing some tastings along the way). We’ll learn about some great figures in the Jewish community, members of the Jewish resistance during the war as well as artists.
Today, home to foreigners, expats and artists, Belleville is a neighborhood full of charm, as well as Paris’ best Street Art. During our walk we’ll discover the art of more than 250 artists – members of the association of artistic Belleville. Photography, paste up street art, ceramics and paintings … its an open air museum to explore !
We’ll also visit some of the Synagogues in the area, and then meet with a lady at a kosher cafe for a discussion about Modern Orthodoxy including the position of women in our Jewish movements today.
After the tour, we’ll enjoy some free time for lunch before meeting up again later for an apero/concert of Klezmer music in a small local cafe/concert place within a Jewish delicatessen. We’ll end our day’s journey together here with a celebratory dinner and music!
Day 8 – June 27th, Monday
This morning you’ll head to the Charles de Gaulle Airport for your return flights.
We reserve the right to alter the itinerary based on weather, strikes (the French national sport) or availability of our guests as well as exciting opportunities that might crop up!