The Taizé Community, in the village (commune) of Taizé, is a monastic community and destination of pilgrimage in Eastern France. Quick visits just to have a look are not encouraged; you should stay at least for a long weekend to get into the rhythm of the community.
In 1940 Brother Roger [Schütz], a Protestant Swiss national, bought a house in Taizé, a few kilometres south of the demarcation line that separated Vichy France from the German-occupied zone. Here he was able to give sanctuary to countless war refugees. On Easter Sunday 1949, he and six other men committed themselves to a life following Christ in simplicity, celibacy and community. Others joined the community, including, in 1969, a Belgian doctor who was a Catholic. As of 2010, the community had about 100 brothers from 30 different countries, both Catholic and Protestant. Brother Roger died in 2005.
As the community developed, it took on an ecumenical and international character and developed a style of worship in which music and prayer played a large part. From the late 1960s onwards, many young people, attracted by this style of worship started visiting the community. The popularity of these visits (or pilgrimages) has increased and at peak times (Easter and summer) the community is host to as many as 5,000 visitors at a time, many of whom come from outside France.
Stays are usually for "meetings" lasting full weeks, starting Sunday afternoon, or a long weekend beginning on Thursday or Friday. Adults could also come for the beginning of the week, and young adults can arrive in Saturday to help in the welcoming on Sundays. Coming for a single night is not encouraged and may not be possible.
Meals, accommodation and other expenses are covered by participants' contributions. Anybody visiting is given a recommended range of contribution, depending on country of origin. In 2022 ranges for USA, UK and Scandinavia were €9–13 per day for youth, €18–26/22–32 for adults with/without own accommodation (caravan/tent) and €4.50 for children.
Youth aged 18–29 can come with a group or independently, while those 15–17 should come with their families or with a group with adult leaders (minors need their parents' approval).
Volunteers should be aged 18–28 and can stay for a few months or a year. You should come by yourself, not as a couple or a group, and you need to discuss your plans with one of the brothers or sisters. Usually the first week is according to the common youth programme, while volunteering starts after that.
Couples and single adults above 30 are also welcome, but unless coming as group leaders, they should keep to certain periods of the year. Some meetings are specifically for those 25–35 years old.
Likewise, families consisting of parents and children are welcome certain weeks. Children of such families aged 15–16 may take part of the youth programme while still staying with their parents. The family programme does not cater to children under 3 years of age.
As most of the visitors to Taizé are making Taizé their only stop rather than touring the area, this section will assume that the visitor is travelling to France for the specific purpose of visiting Taizé.
Taizé is about 390 km south-east of Paris and 100 km north of Lyon. The nearest towns are Cluny (8 km), Tournus (21 km by road) and Mâcon (13 km by road).
The community's welcome centre is at 1 Casa, ☏ . (Spanish for "House").
By public transport
A bus service that runs from Chalon-sur-Saône to Mâcon stops at both the Taizé Community and Taizé village. As of 2022, the route had the number LR701. The principal stops of interest are:
- Chalon-sur-Saône Gare Routier (64 minutes to Taizé) for trains from Paris or Strasbourg.
- Mâcon-Loché TGV (38 minutes to Taizé) for high speed trains (TGV) from Paris, Lyon, Geneva or Strasbourg.
- Mâcon-Ville (44 minutes to Taizé) for trains from Lyon or Geneva.
Note – the trains from Geneva and Strasbourg will involve a change.
There are coaches from England specifically to Taizé for some popular dates.
As there is limited public transport, the community has a large car park and a temporary coach park. Coaches need to be kept elsewhere during a group's stay, and drivers who aren't part of the group during the visit need to stay in a hotel elsewhere.
From the north (Paris): Follow the A6 (autoroute du Soleil) from Paris for 340 km. Leave the A6 at junction 26 (close to Chalon-sur-Saône) and follow the road signs for the N80, Le Creusot and Cluny. Follow the N80/E607 for 16 km, then take the exit (junction 3) leading to the D981 and Cluny. After 21 km, turn right onto the D414 and into Taizé village. Follow the road for 1 km; the community welcome centre will be on your right. The car park is on your left.
From the south (Lyon): Follow the A6 from Lyon in the direction of Paris for 66 km. Exit the autoroute at junction 29 and follow the signs for Moulins and the N79/E62. After 18 km, leave the autoroute at the junction signposted for Cluny. Follow the D980 into Cluny (5 km) and then take D981 out of Cluny which is signposted to Taizé. After 8 km, turn left onto the D414 and into Taizé village. Follow the road for 1 km; the community welcome centre will be on your right. The car park is on your left.
From the east or west: Head for the A6 and then follow the directions for "from the North" or "from the South" as appropriate.
The Voie Verte de Bourgogne du Sud, a cycleway on the former railway route between Chalon-sur-Saône and Mâcon via Cluny runs alongside the D981 in the vicinity of Taizé. Turn to the D414 (here Rue du Pré Guérin) at the junction by Taizé and bike through the village to the community.
The facilities of the community are in the villages of Taizé and Ameugny, 600 m apart. Transport is by walking.
- 1 Church of the Reconciliation. The heart of the community
- 2 Source Saint-Étienne (path down to the east, starting 200 m north from the church). A well and a lake. A path leads down to this quiet and beautiful place, suitable for contemplation away from people.
Pray, sing and reflect on your life. There are services thrice a day, with all who can participating. There are also study circles on the Bible, song practise, workshops of different kinds and social activities.
Musicians can bring their instruments for the weekend prayers.
Most practical tasks, such as preparing food, is handled by volunteers. Everybody is expected to take some responsibility for tasks such as keeping places tidy and setting the table.
- 1 Taizé Exposition. 10:00-12:00, 14:00-19:00. Merchandise produced by or related to the Community. The profits from this establishment are one of the prime sources of income for the community.
- 2 Café Oyak. Open daily, but limited hours. Oyak is run as a non-profit operation and social centre that sells toiletries and snacks.
For what isn't available in the community, your best bet is Mâcon. Do that shopping before or after your stay.
Visits to Taizé are full board, so meals are included in the price.
- The 1 Refectory. is the principal place where meals are served.
For those lodging far from the refectory, the meals are served closer to them.
Any alcohol you bring should be handed over at arrival to be stored with any valuables during your stay. Café Oyak serves alcohol to over 18's (the legal drinking age in France), but there's a limit of one drink per person per day.
Accommodation is allocated on arrival, although special needs can be explained in advance. Lodging is limited in the busier times, and most people are then accommodated in tents (own ones or ones of the community). In winter there is room for all in heated indoor accommodation.
Bringing a tent to sleep in is recommended in Easter, Ascension, Pentecost, during summer and at All Saints.
The main lodging is in sex-segregated dormitories. Volunteers staying longer times get single or twin rooms. The elderly get beds in four-bed rooms. Couples over 30 get twin rooms if available (younger ones may be allocated to a tent).
The facilities are simple. Bring sheets or sleeping bag and towel. Shared toilets.
There are dormitories and rooms in several places.
- 1 Madras (immediate north of the church). The main dormitory area to the immediate north of the church.
- Lodging in Ameugny (about 1 km north of the main Taize site). Rooms and dormitories in old village houses.
There are large tents acting as dormitories, and space for your tent if you bring or get one; the community has some smaller tents for couples who cannot bring their own.
- 2 Camping.
No backcountry in this part of France.
Some of the lodgings are accessible, but anybody with special needs should tell about them before making a reservation, and may need to avoid coming in the busiest times.
Pets cannot visit Taizé, but guide and assistance dogs are allowed.
As you'll probably spend much time outdoors and also summers can be cool, bring appropriate clothes – and clothing for hot and sunny days.
As this is a pilgrimage site, dress appropriately, especially for the prayers.
You should keep to the rhythm of the community and take part of the programme. Commit to the full time you are staying.
If you have children too small to keep calm and silent during prayers, take turns participating; there are rooms near the church where one parent could stay that time with the child.
There are restrictions to cope with a large demand. If possible, keep to the time slots allocated to your type of group and wait for acknowledgement of your stay before making firm arrangements.
Mobile phone coverage is good, but be considerate.
There is limited Wi-Fi coverage by the café Oyak. Try to take care of as much as possible of your online needs before arriving.
- 3 Château de Cormatin (3 km to the north, in Cormatin). Open to visits from April to mid-November. Chateau from the 17th century. Privately owned. Tours arranged the days when it is open, but parts of it can be visited on your own.
- 4 Notre-Dame-de-l'Assomption (in Ameugny). Medieval church.
- 5 Sainte-Marie-Madeleine de Taizé (in the south end of the community). Medieval church. Frère Roger is buried in the churchyard.