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. His successor Brother Alois [Löser] will step down on Advent Sunday, 3 December 2023 and be succeeded by Brother Mathew [Thorpe].
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.
The community is open for visits year round, with the main exception of the first and final weeks of each year, when most of the brothers are offsite to attend and organize its annual European meeting.
Stays are usually for "meetings" lasting full weeks, starting Sunday afternoon, or long weekends beginning on Thursday or Friday. Adults can also come for the beginning of the week, and young adults can arrive in Saturday to help in the welcoming on Sundays. Day visits are welcome, however staying only for one night is discouraged, as that is deemed too short for entering into the rhythm of life in Taizé.
- Welcome team, ☏ (M–F 10:00–12:00), fax: , firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meals, accommodation and other expenses are covered by participants' contributions. Anybody visiting is given a recommended range of contribution, depending on country of origin. For 2024 the ranges for USA, UK and Scandinavia will be €12–16 per day for young adults (under 30), €24–32 for older adults who use their own tent or caravan, €30-40 older adults who use the community's accomodation and €6 for children (under 14) who accompany their parents..
Visitors of all ages are welcome, but the activities are primarily geared for youth aged 18–29. They 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.
Everyone aged 30 and above are also welcome, but unless coming as group leaders, the reception is limited from the last Sunday in March to mid October. A meeting in mid-August is specifically reserved for visitors aged 18 to 35.
Likewise, families consisting of parents and children are welcome for a whole week on select dates, including the Holy Week, Pentecost, and all of July and August. Outside these times, they may also enrol for half-week programs but with a limited space. All activities (except services) and accommodation will take place at Olinda, 600 metres from the sanctuary. Children of such families aged 15–16 may take part in the youth programme while still staying with their parents. The family programme does not cater to children under 3 years of age.
Registration beforehand is encouraged, especially if coming as a group and during the busy times such as in summer and Christian public holidays, but the community tries its best to accommodate those who drop-in as well.
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 lies between the Paris to Lyon autoroute (A6) and the Paris to Lyons TGV railway line: it is about 390 km south-east of Paris and 100 km north of Lyon. The nearest towns are Cluny to the south (8 km; population 4900), Tournus to the north-east (21 km by road; population 5500) and Mâcon to the south-east (13 km by road; population 34,000).
The community's welcome centre is at 1 Casa, ☏ . (Spanish for "House").
By public transport
Route LR701 runs between Chalon-sur-Saône and Mâcon and stops at both the Taizé Community and Taizé village. 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.
As there is limited public transport, the community has a large car park and a temporary coach park. There are no long-term parking facilities for coaches and drivers who aren't part of the group during the visit need to make their own accomodation and parking arrangements outside the community.
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.
There is typically a set schedule that the visitors are recommended to follow. But if you choose to be on your own, you can use the time for self-reflection and pray, including in the church and gardens within the sanctuary. If you come individually, you can simply look for groups with a large number of people that you can stick to, whether it's for one session or one whole week.
The day begins with Eucharist for those that are obligated to take, before the morning prayer that is then open to all believers. After breakfast, the daily verse of the bible is introduced, which participants may use for self-reflection or discuss with a small group from different nationalities.
The afternoon schedule contains lunch and sharing within groups as well as workshops by guests or the community brothers. Those who want to sing for the evening prayer are also invited to practice beforehand.
After dinner, the day culminates with an evening prayer that invites participants to meditate and reflect in the church, as they are accompanied by chants and music. This counts as the Taizé prayer that is adopted worldwide. Especially on Saturday nights, youths will come together to dance and party with music, as it would be the last day of the stay for most of them.
Musicians can bring their instruments for the weekend prayers.
While 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 adults (over 18: 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 Taizé 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.