Back in the Middle Ages, a county in France called the Comtat Venaissin housed a Papal Enclave where the Jews found their sanctuary.
The commune of Carpentras is a living monument of the Judeo-Provencal cultural heritage. It was one of the four places in Southern France where the Jews were welcomed the warmest after the expulsion of the French Jewry in 1306, making it a favorite destination for adventurers during their Jewish cruises.
History may tell us tales of the ups and downs of the Jewish representation in the region, but the natural charm and local hospitality in the commune captured the hearts of Jews in Southern France and called it their second home. If you’re thinking about visiting the captivating Carpentras soon, you should join our next cruise to the Rhône river this November. We’ll be meeting the Jewish community in Carpentras and experience their famous hospitality first-hand. While we’re around the adorable commune, we must check out the following:
The Black Truffles
In time for our cruise, this November is the opening of the Black Truffle market outside the tourist office in Carpentras. Considered the Black Diamond of the commune, these precious pieces of fungi make up a lucrative industry in the area.
If you’re looking for a low-key, high-quality Black Truffle experience, try the private wholesale market in Hôtel-Dieu. The Black Truffles are rich — not only in flavor but in historical value as well. Watch them get weighed in antique scales and wrapped individually in paper, just like how they did it in the days of old.
In case you’re wondering how these Black Diamonds are harvested, some specially-trained dogs sniff out the oak forests of Mont Ventoux to retrieve these delicious truffles.
The timeless art and culture of the Medieval county of Comtat Venaissin are housed in this beautiful museum. There’s a mystery that surrounds this historic period in Carpentras’ history, and it is shared with all who visit the Musée Comtadin-Duplessis.
Inside you’ll see traditional dresses and other paraphernalia that will amaze you about medieval Carpentras. Make sure you swing by when you’re around.
La Synagogue Carpentras
One of the oldest, and arguably one of the most beautiful synagogues in France, La Synagogue Carpentras was built in 1367. During this time, the Jews in Carpentras had Papal protection after being expelled from other towns in France.
A must-see in all kosher cruises, this synagogue was restored to its current condition back in 1954. Walk to the bottom of the synagogue and you’ll find a mikvah and a matzo bakery.
Carpentras is a sanctuary, not only to the Jews who call it home but to every Jew that steps foot in the charming commune. Join us on our cruise through Southern France this November and experience the captivating Carpentras first-hand!