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JEWISH Troyes

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Troyes La Champagne, capital of the department of Aube, is a unique destination to explore once and again, 160 kilometers south-east of Paris and 120 kilometers from Reims. First on the list of things to see, is the fabulous collection of half-timbered houses which makes the town proud. They have received a glorious facelift, adorning them in a multitude of colours. Water, on which the town was established, has also taken centre stage again. The quays of the Seine are an eloquent testimony to this. Before winding through Paris, the river passes through the former capital of the Champagne counts, where it is infused with the spirit of moderation. Troyes Tourism Office© A. Lallemand - Troyes La Champagne Tourisme-0781 The venerable town of Troyes dates back to antiquity. The region was populated by nomads during the lower Palaeolithic period, around 400,000 BC, and was settled around 5,000 BC. The first traces of permanent settlements date from the end of the 6th century AD. Greek and Latin authors wrote of the Gallic people Tricasses around the 5th and 4th centuries BC. It is estimated that in the first centuries AD, the city of Augustobona Tricassium (Troyes) had around 6,000 souls and a surface area of around 80 hectares, bordered on the north and south by marshes.  In the 12th century, Troyes experienced rapid commercial and financial expansion, as well as an incredible intellectual and cultural explosion. The Counts of Champagne helped the city to expand by stimulating the celebrated “Foires de Champagne” that attracted traders from around Europe, thanks in part to the fairs’ code of conduct, set up in 1137. In the time of the Counts of Champagne, while Troyes is famous for Chrétien de Troyes, it is also associated with two other key figures from the Middle Ages: Rashi and Saint Bernard de Clairvaux, whose names remain indelibly linked to the city of Troyes and the Aube département to this day. Both men were eminent thinkers and scholars who played a key role in their respective eras. At this time, Troyes was home to a large Jewish community. One of the city’s children would go on to become the world’s most famous Jew and an iconic figure in Judaism: Shlomo Ben Yitzhak, better known as Rashi (1040-1105).  The famous Troyen is best known for his extraordinary talent as an interpreter and commentator of the Bible and the Talmud. He founded a Talmudic School in his native city, which attracted students from far and wide, keen to learn more about his comments on the sacred texts. His teachings remain influential today, representing a model of openness and dialogue between cultures. Rashi’s works also provide an important insight into the French language during his era (the second half of the 11th century), when French remained a variant of the ancient Champenois dialect and was still in its infancy. The Rabbi translated difficult and technical terms from Biblical Hebrew into this burgeoning language. Just like Chrétien de Troyes, Rashi made a major contribution to the expansion of French-language literature in the central Middle Ages. RashisHouseExhibition_Library_P5©J. Boitelet2017 Later, in the 16th century, the city was an artistic hotbed. Troyes is largely a 16th century city, with most of today’s buildings and layout dating from what locals call the “beautiful 16th century”. A reference to a prosperous period in the city’s history, when Troyes was a melting pot of artistic talent and creativity in fields as varied as sculpture, painting, tapestry, embroidery, goldsmithery and glasswork. Arts flourished with the famous Troyes Schools of Sculpture and Painting or the Master Glassmakers school. Their talent, already recognized in the 13th century, were to create marvelous works and make Troyes a “blessed town of stained glass”.  The saying goes that France is home to 80% of the world’s stained glass windows, that 80% of French stained glass windows are located north of the Loire, that 80% of the stained glass windows north of the Loire are in the Champagne region, and that 80% of the stained glass windows in the Champagne region are in the Aube département! A quick calculation would therefore suggest that around 40% of the planet’s stained glass windows can be found right here in Aube… Nowhere else in the world will you find the sheer number and quality of stained glass windows as you can here. Aube is home to some 9,000 sq. m of stained glass windows, from the majestic Troyes cathedral to the smallest village church! This priceless treasure is spread across some 200 religious buildings. No fewer than 1,042 listed windows come from the era known locally as the «beautiful 16th century» alone.  Troyes City Center ©CulturistiQ Troyes is also famous for its Renaissance mansions, opulent residences built in the Renaissance period: Hôtel Juvénal des Ursins, Hôtel Marisy, Hôtel Mauroy, Hôtel du Petit Louvre, Hôtel du Moïse, Hôtel des Angoiselles, Hôtel de Chapelaines, Hôtel de Vauluisant, Hôtel du Commandeur….  This pivotal era, spanning both the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, has left a lasting legacy on Troyes as it is today. The city was ravaged by a great fire in 1524, but has been rebuilt to its original appearance, with buildings replacing their fire-damaged predecessors in exactly the same locations.  The 19th century saw Troyes undergo an economic and industrial transformation, driven by the hosiery industry. The “factory shops” were born in TROYES in the 1960s, to sell off local manufacturers’ ends of lines. At first only open to factory staff, little by little they were opened to the general public. Let’s remind ourselves of some of Troyes great brands such as Lacoste, Doré Doré or Petit Bateau! Portail Institut Rachi Crédit ©CDT Aube Valentin COLIN This legacy has bestowed upon Troyes its unique identity.  Today, the town is undergoing a significant transformation which began in 1970. This slow and patient restoration programme of the town’s heritage sites is coupled with the evolution of its economy. The modern city is a direct descendant of its medieval predecessor. This venerable city is now living through its fourth golden age. Troyes La Champagne is also full of historical and architectural gems. Explore and get astonished through its museum collections: History, Fine Arts, Modern Art, Hosiery, Apothecary, Archeology, Arts and popular traditions. The town is on a human scale, and the countryside is never far! Troyes Champagne Métropole now welcomes visitors passing through with pleasure. Troyes and its surroundings also benefit from multiple little greenery spots that are like many places where you can take a breath besides the frantic race of everyday life. The landscape reflects the local style, unless it is the other way around: modest in height, moderate in area, and accessible to all.  Champagne Vinyards ©CDTAube   Then there are the Champagne plains with endless farmland, the Grands Lacs de Champagne and the viticultural island of Montgueux, which surround the town. Or the completely different valleys of the Pays d’Othe, home to the vast and truly enchanting Chaource forest. The modest surroundings are a treasure chest for those who know where to look. In Troyes, Historic Capital of Champagne, the nearest vineyard is about ten kilometres away (Montgueux), so it would be a sacrilege to talk of gastronomy without mentioning the famous sparkling nectar of the region, Champagne! It is not well known that the Aube is the 2nd largest producing département of five of Champagne, after the Marne. The actual Champagne appellation vineyards planted and in production cover 6,500 hectares and supply a fifth of the production, with a potential of 50 million bottles, of which 6,3000,000 are produced by winegrowers and winemakers of the Aube. The 59 communes of the appellation are for the most part concentrated in the south of the département the length of the “Cotes des Bar” (from the Celtic “Bar”, meaning peak), between Bar-sur-Seine and Bar-sur-Aube, with a prolongation onto the slopes of Montgueux that overlook Troyes and, and to the northwest near Villenaxe-la-Grande. The Champagne Tourist Route has its own signposting system and the winegrowers there are ready with their welcome.  In that context, since 2019 Aube département has become part of the Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe, which includes the Route of Jewish Heritage, as the cradle of a universally known recognized intangible Jewish heritage. In Aube département, the Rashi medieval Route of Champagne crosses two other prestigious European Routes: the Templars Route and the Cistercian Abbeys Route. To invigorate the territory, the Rashi Route proposes a combination of a cultural and tourist offering centered on the history of the ancient prestigious Jewish communities of Champagne. ©Texts by Troyes la Champagne Tourisme - ©Rashi Route information by CulturistiQ

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SITES TO SEE

Sites

The Troyes Tourism Office

Troyes Tourism Office tour takes you to Saint Frobert district, the Old Jewish quarter of Troyes. It gathers the streets St Frobert, Hennequin, du Paon, Audiffred, Cordeliers, Boucherat. The rue Saint-Frobert and the current district are named after the old church which is said to have been built on the site of a synagogue where Rashi is said to have taught. The rue du Paon probably housed his home. In the Middle Ages, the neighbourhood was known as the “Broce aux Juifs” which referred to the brushwood in the area, situated close to the countryside. In the 11th century, this area was home to several jewish families including Rachi. The Jewish community of Troyes was able to develop thanks to the protection granted to them by the counts of Champagne from the 11televenth to the 13th century between the reign of Thibault II and Thibault IV. If Jewish families gathered in this neighborhood nothing distinguished them from the rest of the population. It was not until 1215 that the Church forced them to wear a distinctive sign on their clothes in the form of a piece of yellow cloth called a wheel (Rouelle). Rashi died at age 65 on July 13, 1105. Buried in Troyes with full honours in the former jewish cemetery, situated in the area of Moretti's sculpture, outside the walls of the medieval city, next to the Porte de la Girouarde today disapeared (located at the time at the crossroads of Quai Dampierre and Rue de la Cité). The cemetery was demolished in the 16th century to enlarge the city and his grave disapeared.

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TOURS OF Troyes

Tours

European Jewish Tours

The Jewish community of France is the third largest in the world with over 500,000 citizens. The team at European Jewish Heritage Tours prides itself on showing explaining the rich cultural and religious heritage of French Jews through the country’s cities and regions, synagogues and monuments, artists and public figures all of which reveal how Jewish life has developed in France since the Middle Ages. For centuries France has been an important center of European Jewish life and scholarship; the cities of Paris, Troyes, Avignon, Colmar, and Narbonne were known throughout the Christian and Jewish worlds for their rabbis and interpreters of the Torah and the Talmud. In the company of European Jewish Heritage Tours, you will discover the places where these luminaries made their mark, and walk in the footsteps of such renowned figures in the arts and industry, including Sarah Bernhardt, Jacques Offenbach, Marcel Proust, Marc Chagall, Camille Pissarro, André Citroën, James de Rothschild, and Amadeo Modigliani. You will also learn about the celebrated Jewish families who financed the reconstruction of Paris in the 19th century and who played a significant role in the Industrial Revolution and in social legislation such as paid vacations and the 40-hour work week. Today, France’s President has clearly stated that he is “a friend of Israel” and has encouraged Holocaust studies in the French public school system. In addition, the French government is actively working to secure synagogues and other Jewish sites, and is working to establish other educational programs to combat anti-Semitism. These are just some of the multiple signs that Jewish citizens and their interests are being given new consideration and respect in France today. One of history’s greatest Torah and Talmud commentators, Rabbi Solomon ben Isaac, known by the acronym Rashi (1040-1105), was born, lived, and taught here. During the First Crusade, Rashi was forced to flee anti-Jewish riots. He returned to Worms, Germany, where he had first studied. He remained there until his death. Rashi’s grandson, the noted Jewish scholar known as Rabbenu Tam (1100-1171) also taught in Troyes and attracted students from all over Europe. Historians believe that the St-Frobert quarter was the Jewish quarter. Nothing remains of the medieval Jewish community that, although very small in size, made a huge contribution to Judaism This tour, which includes many of the timbered houses of Medieval Troyes, also includes the Synagogue of Troyes, located in an historic section of town, a replica of one from Rashi’s time. Begun in 1982, it was dedicated in 1987. This year, you will also discover a special exhibit on Rashi’s era at the European Institute dedicated to the studies of the celebrated Jewish sage. (Group tours can be arranged through European Jewish Heritage Tours). A day out to Troyes can be combined with a kosher champagne wine tasting near Reims.

Tours

Cross Heritage Rashi Experiences

ARCHI RASHI - The discovering of “Rashi” through local architecture as a guided tour in Troyes city center. CulturistiQ invites you to an original architectural discovery of the alleys of Troyes. Throughout the course, we will delve into the description made by Rashi and his disciples through their comments in the Bible and the Talmud, to discover, beyond the architecture, techniques and tools of Champagne of the Middle Ages and traditions of Judaism. RASHI & THE GARDEN OF EDEN - Guided tour in partnership with Maximilien Maire, nature guide. CulturistiQ and Maximilien Nature Guide invite you to explore the gardens and undergrowth of the Viennes path in Troyes. Throughout this stroll, we will delve into the commentaries of Rashi in the Bible and the Talmud, to discover the vegetation and the place of nature in medieval daily life and in the customs and traditions of Judaism. A TRIP INTO CHAMPAGNE WINERY WITH RASHI – A meeting experience with Champagne House Barrat-Masson CulturistiQ and La Maison de Champagne Barrat-Masson invite you to discover the vineyards, cellars, techniques and the wine of Champagne in Villenauxe-La-Grande. Throughout this meeting, we will delve into the commentaries of Rashi in the Bible and the Talmud, to understand beyond the wine and the vineyard of Champagne, the place of wine in the Middle Ages and the customs and traditions of Judaism. BEES, HONEY AND HONEYCOMBS WITH RASHI – A meeting experience with beekeepers CulturistiQ and Le Rucher Barbotte invite you to discover the techniques of beekeeping and honey from Nesle-la-Reposte. Throughout this meeting, we will delve into the commentaries of Rashi in the Bible and the Talmud, to understand beyond honey and bees, the place of honey in the Middle Ages and the customs and traditions of Judaism. STUDIES IN MEDIEVAL TIMES, RASHI & BERNARD DE CLAIRVAUX – a meeting day in partnership with CulturistiQ and the Association Renaissance de l'Abbaye de Clairvaux. Both welcome you to the Hostellerie des Dames to discover the great Champagne figures of medieval times and their relationships through the study of sacred texts. A dive around the book and the written, the thought and the spirit, to illuminate the intellectual encounters and exchanges between Jews and Christians.

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World Jewish Travel Official May 24, 2022

The Jewish Story of Troyes, France

Troyes La Champagne, capital of the department of Aube, is a unique destination to explore once and again, 160 kilometers south-east of Paris and 120 kilometers from Reims. First on the list of things to see, is the fabulous collection of half-timbered houses which makes the town proud. They have received a glorious facelift, adorning them in a multitude of colours. Water, on which the town was established, has also taken centre stage again. The quays of the Seine are an eloquent testimony to this. Before winding through Paris, the river passes through the former capital of the Champagne counts, where it is infused with the spirit of moderation. [caption id="attachment_30844" align="alignnone" width="2051"] Troyes Tourism Office© A. Lallemand - Troyes La Champagne Tourisme-0781[/caption] The venerable town of Troyes dates back to antiquity. The region was populated by nomads during the lower Palaeolithic period, around 400,000 BC, and was settled around 5,000 BC. The first traces of permanent settlements date from the end of the 6th century AD. Greek and Latin authors wrote of the Gallic people Tricasses around the 5th and 4th centuries BC. It is estimated that in the first centuries AD, the city of Augustobona Tricassium (Troyes) had around 6,000 souls and a surface area of around 80 hectares, bordered on the north and south by marshes.  In the 12th century, Troyes experienced rapid commercial and financial expansion, as well as an incredible intellectual and cultural explosion. The Counts of Champagne helped the city to expand by stimulating the celebrated “Foires de Champagne” that attracted traders from around Europe, thanks in part to the fairs’ code of conduct, set up in 1137. In the time of the Counts of Champagne, while Troyes is famous for Chrétien de Troyes, it is also associated with two other key figures from the Middle Ages: Rashi and Saint Bernard de Clairvaux, whose names remain indelibly linked to the city of Troyes and the Aube département to this day. Both men were eminent thinkers and scholars who played a key role in their respective eras. At this time, Troyes was home to a large Jewish community. One of the city’s children would go on to become the world’s most famous Jew and an iconic figure in Judaism: Shlomo Ben Yitzhak, better known as Rashi (1040-1105).  The famous Troyen is best known for his extraordinary talent as an interpreter and commentator of the Bible and the Talmud. He founded a Talmudic School in his native city, which attracted students from far and wide, keen to learn more about his comments on the sacred texts. His teachings remain influential today, representing a model of openness and dialogue between cultures. Rashi’s works also provide an important insight into the French language during his era (the second half of the 11th century), when French remained a variant of the ancient Champenois dialect and was still in its infancy. The Rabbi translated difficult and technical terms from Biblical Hebrew into this burgeoning language. Just like Chrétien de Troyes, Rashi made a major contribution to the expansion of French-language literature in the central Middle Ages. [caption id="attachment_30846" align="alignnone" width="1000"] RashisHouseExhibition_Library_P5©J. Boitelet2017[/caption] Later, in the 16th century, the city was an artistic hotbed. Troyes is largely a 16th century city, with most of today’s buildings and layout dating from what locals call the “beautiful 16th century”. A reference to a prosperous period in the city’s history, when Troyes was a melting pot of artistic talent and creativity in fields as varied as sculpture, painting, tapestry, embroidery, goldsmithery and glasswork. Arts flourished with the famous Troyes Schools of Sculpture and Painting or the Master Glassmakers school. Their talent, already recognized in the 13th century, were to create marvelous works and make Troyes a “blessed town of stained glass”.  The saying goes that France is home to 80% of the world’s stained glass windows, that 80% of French stained glass windows are located north of the Loire, that 80% of the stained glass windows north of the Loire are in the Champagne region, and that 80% of the stained glass windows in the Champagne region are in the Aube département! A quick calculation would therefore suggest that around 40% of the planet’s stained glass windows can be found right here in Aube… Nowhere else in the world will you find the sheer number and quality of stained glass windows as you can here. Aube is home to some 9,000 sq. m of stained glass windows, from the majestic Troyes cathedral to the smallest village church! This priceless treasure is spread across some 200 religious buildings. No fewer than 1,042 listed windows come from the era known locally as the «beautiful 16th century» alone.  [caption id="attachment_30847" align="alignnone" width="2100"] Troyes City Center ©CulturistiQ[/caption] Troyes is also famous for its Renaissance mansions, opulent residences built in the Renaissance period: Hôtel Juvénal des Ursins, Hôtel Marisy, Hôtel Mauroy, Hôtel du Petit Louvre, Hôtel du Moïse, Hôtel des Angoiselles, Hôtel de Chapelaines, Hôtel de Vauluisant, Hôtel du Commandeur….  This pivotal era, spanning both the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, has left a lasting legacy on Troyes as it is today. The city was ravaged by a great fire in 1524, but has been rebuilt to its original appearance, with buildings replacing their fire-damaged predecessors in exactly the same locations.  The 19th century saw Troyes undergo an economic and industrial transformation, driven by the hosiery industry. The “factory shops” were born in TROYES in the 1960s, to sell off local manufacturers’ ends of lines. At first only open to factory staff, little by little they were opened to the general public. Let’s remind ourselves of some of Troyes great brands such as Lacoste, Doré Doré or Petit Bateau! [caption id="attachment_30848" align="alignnone" width="1124"] Portail Institut Rachi Crédit ©CDT Aube Valentin COLIN[/caption] This legacy has bestowed upon Troyes its unique identity.  Today, the town is undergoing a significant transformation which began in 1970. This slow and patient restoration programme of the town’s heritage sites is coupled with the evolution of its economy. The modern city is a direct descendant of its medieval predecessor. This venerable city is now living through its fourth golden age. Troyes La Champagne is also full of historical and architectural gems. Explore and get astonished through its museum collections: History, Fine Arts, Modern Art, Hosiery, Apothecary, Archeology, Arts and popular traditions. The town is on a human scale, and the countryside is never far! Troyes Champagne Métropole now welcomes visitors passing through with pleasure. Troyes and its surroundings also benefit from multiple little greenery spots that are like many places where you can take a breath besides the frantic race of everyday life. The landscape reflects the local style, unless it is the other way around: modest in height, moderate in area, and accessible to all.  [caption id="attachment_30849" align="alignnone" width="2000"] Champagne Vinyards ©CDTAube[/caption]   Then there are the Champagne plains with endless farmland, the Grands Lacs de Champagne and the viticultural island of Montgueux, which surround the town. Or the completely different valleys of the Pays d’Othe, home to the vast and truly enchanting Chaource forest. The modest surroundings are a treasure chest for those who know where to look. In Troyes, Historic Capital of Champagne, the nearest vineyard is about ten kilometres away (Montgueux), so it would be a sacrilege to talk of gastronomy without mentioning the famous sparkling nectar of the region, Champagne! It is not well known that the Aube is the 2nd largest producing département of five of Champagne, after the Marne. The actual Champagne appellation vineyards planted and in production cover 6,500 hectares and supply a fifth of the production, with a potential of 50 million bottles, of which 6,3000,000 are produced by winegrowers and winemakers of the Aube. The 59 communes of the appellation are for the most part concentrated in the south of the département the length of the “Cotes des Bar” (from the Celtic “Bar”, meaning peak), between Bar-sur-Seine and Bar-sur-Aube, with a prolongation onto the slopes of Montgueux that overlook Troyes and, and to the northwest near Villenaxe-la-Grande. The Champagne Tourist Route has its own signposting system and the winegrowers there are ready with their welcome.  In that context, since 2019 Aube département has become part of the Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe, which includes the Route of Jewish Heritage, as the cradle of a universally known recognized intangible Jewish heritage. In Aube département, the Rashi medieval Route of Champagne crosses two other prestigious European Routes: the Templars Route and the Cistercian Abbeys Route. To invigorate the territory, the Rashi Route proposes a combination of a cultural and tourist offering centered on the history of the ancient prestigious Jewish communities of Champagne. ©Texts by Troyes la Champagne Tourisme - ©Rashi Route information by CulturistiQ

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