The first mention of a Jewish community in Chalon-sur-Saone (Burgundy) dates back to 1075. In the Middle-Ages, what is now known as the main street was called Rue des Juifs. In 1306, the Jews were expelled from France by Philip IV but they were allowed to stay in Burgundy. They were “invited” back to France 9 years later.
In 1394 the Jews were expelled again (by Charles VI also know as Charles the Mad) and all the communities left France this time. Only after the French Revolution did they start coming back.
Local archives show that in Chalon one of the city cemeteries had a Jewish corner in 1836. Local Jews must have met in their homes for a while since the synagogue was only built in 1882.
It is the same synagogue which is still used today by the 21 Jewish families who live there.
The whole building belongs to the community. The cellar is where kosher wine is stocked. the door at the top is the entrance to the shul common room and kitchen. The firt door, on the right, alsmot at the top is the entrance of the synagogue itself.
The synagogue is still exactly as it was in 1882, except for paint work. The benches were modelled on those of the Grande Synagogue de Paris.
The mechitza, on the left, is typical of French shuls of the late 19th century or early 20th century in that the separation is minimal.