A Jewish presence was first mentioned in Besancon, in eastern France, in 1245.
Jews left the town in the 15th century, and returned only after the French Revolution.
After the Roman conquest of Jerusalem, boats filled with Jewish captives landed in Bordeaux, Arles and Lyons.
Archeological finds of Jewish objects with menorahs imprinted on them date back to the first through fifth century.
Jews were first permitted to reside in Belfort, the capital of the Belfort region in eastern France, in the 1300s.
By the time of the Nazi occupation there were 700 Jews in the town, of which 245 were killed.
Throughout the country's stormy history - from the Roman period through the present - Jews have lived in France, their fate intimately tied to the various kings and leaders.
Despite physical hardship and anti-Semitism, Jewish intellectual and spiritual life flourished, producing some of the most famous Jewish rabbis and thinkers, including Rashi and Rabenu Tam.In the 6 century, a Jewish community thrived in Paris.A synagogue was built on the Ile de la Cite, but was later torn down and a church was erected instead.More anti-Jewish persecutions took place in the western provinces during the rule of Louis IX (1226-70).In 1236, crusaders attacked the Jewish communities of Anjou and Poitou and tried to baptize all the Jews, those that resisted were killed. In 1240, Jews were expelled from Brittany and the famous disputation of the Talmud began in Paris.Jewish communities have been documented in 465 in Vannes (Brittany), in 524 in Valence and in 533 in Orleans.