The Taize Experience



I learned about the Taizé Community when I attended a Taizé service at All Saints Episcopal Church in Atlanta. I was affected by the peacefulness in the singing of chants, prayer and quiet moments of this worship experience. I was inspired to consider a pilgrimage to Taizé in France.


As the Director of Youth Ministries for my home church, I was in the process of planning a youth pilgrimage. Taking a group of teenagers on a pilgrimage journey is no small undertaking, it involves months of discernment and planning. I have found it is important to take the time to understand the dynamics of your group and to find an experience that will help them grow in their faith but will also be fun.


I got back to my office and began the process of learning everything I could about Taizé. I discovered that it is a place where people of all ages have meaningful interaction with others from different nationalities and faiths. Everyone who visits Taizé and participates in its weeklong program experiences what it is like to live in community with others. You have to learn to communicate through language barriers and to work together serving the community. Everyone is offered the opportunity to engage with their faith more deeply in a welcoming, gentle and inclusive environment.


The Taizé Experience:  The Typical Week

The programs at Taizé run a full week, from Sunday afternoon to the following Sunday, after the morning Eucharist. Be ready to take part in all of the aspects of the community life for the week. Each day includes three Taizé services, biblical lessons and reflections, small group discussions, a community service activity and afternoon electives.

Mornings

Bible introductions,are led by a brother of the community. Small Group discussions, follow the Bible introductions. The small groups that are formed the first day remain the same throughout the week. 

Afternoons

Different themes are offered as a main activity for the week. Workshops are held at the end of the afternoon on a wide range of subjects-art, poetry, music, commitment for justice and peace, ecology, and more.

Times of Prayers

Monday to Saturday

8:15 am Morning Prayer

12:20 pm Midday Prayer

8:30 pm Evening Prayer

Friday Evening 

8:30 pm Evening Prayer, followed by prayer around the cross

Saturday Evening

8:30 pm Evening Prayer, with celebration of the light of the resurrection

Sunday

10:00 am Eucharist

8:30 pm Evening Prayer

Prayers

The highlight of the community life is the prayers three times a day. Large bells at the entrance to Taizé are rung to signal the call to services. Taizé service involves short sung and chanted repetitive prayers, a liturgical reading, and a period of silence.

How to Get To Taizé

Nearest airports:

  • Paris CDG & Orly

  • Lyon Saint-Exupéry

  • Geneva

By Train & Bus:

Choose Mâcon-Loché TGV as your destination station (This is the nearest station to Taizé).

 From Mâcon-Loché TGV station there is a connecting bus to Taizé. (We recommend that you buy the ticket on the bus to save costs as tickets purchased on the internet are more expenaive.)


Bus from the UK and Paris:

  • Nuneaton Coaches runs from Nuneaton Railway Station and from London Victoria Coach Station

  • Ouibus ​runs coaches from London Victoria Coach Station to Paris-Bercy (or to Lyon). From there, there are (slow) trains to Chalon-sur-Saône or Mâcon-Ville, or you have a short walk to Paris-Gare-de-Lyon for the TGV (see above).

By Car:

Taizé - GPS coordinates: Lat/Lon: N46.51355 E4.67708 UTM: 31T 628650 5152490.  

Postal address: Communauté de Taizé, 71250 TAIZÉ, France


Find TAIZÉ on Google maps:

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Taizé+Community,+Le+Bourg,+71250+Taizé,+France/@46.513627,4.6777161,16z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x47f3099410d97def:0xeb0e54cf3c0f63b

Accommodations

Shared male or female dorms or rooms are available. You may bring a tent to sleep in during busy Holy Weeks or during the Summer. There are also rooms available nearby. Accommodations will be allocated upon arrival.

You will need to bring a sleeping bag or sheets and a towel.

Financial Contribution

What you give for your stay covers meals, accommodation and other expenses of the meetings. The suggested level of contribution is based on participants’ country of origin. Within the range given, each person chooses what contribution to make. You can pay by credit card online or in person.

Meals

The meals are simple but wholesome. Meals are served outdoors and you eat your meals at covered gathering areas.  Meals are served and clean up is provided by you and other guests as part of your community service.


  • Lunch and Supper: Throughout the week you can expect lentils, pasta, chicken, ham, cous cous, rice & vegetables. These meals come with bread, fruit and a cookie. There is a vegetarian line for people who don't eat meat.

  • Breakfast: Every morning you will have french bread with two sticks of dark chocolate and a cup of hot chocolate.

Oyak a non-profit cafe is open daily in the early afternoon and after evening prayer until 11 pm, sells snacks, burgers and drinks, including wine and beer. This is the only place at Taizé where you can drink alcoholic beverages.

Practical Community Work

Between prayers and Bible introductions you will be on a team doing community chores.  You will wash dishes, serve the meal, collect trash, sweep the common areas, clean the bathrooms or help with communication/translation.

Regional Meetings

Twice a week there are regional meetings for people from the same country to share questions, ideas and experiences.

Night Time Activity

The Oyak  the non-profit cafe is open until 11 pm in the evening after the prayers. There are always conversations going on, games or instruments being played and sometimes singing and dancing.  


Quiet is observed at 11:30 pm until morning.

The Taize Experience: The Typical WeekDay Schedule

8:15 am Morning Prayer, followed by breakfast

10:00 am Bible introduction, followed by quiet reflection or small group discussions

12:20 pm Midday Prayer, followed by lunch

During the afternoon, international small groups or practical community work.

2:00 pm Optional Taize song practice  of the prayer music

5:15 pm Tea Time

5:15 pm Theme workshops, from Tuesday on, @3:15 on Saturdays

7:00 pm Supper

8:30 pm Evening Prayer

11:30 pm Quiet

Sunday Schedule

8:45 am Breakfast

10:00 am Eucharist

1:00 pm Lunch

7:00pm Supper

8:30 pm Evening Prayer

11:30 pm Quiet

If you cannot manage to come from Sunday to Sunday, try and come from Thursday or Friday evening until Sunday. It takes time to enter into the rhythm of the meetings. Saturday to Sunday is too short!

Families Traveling with Children  

Families with children under 15 are welcome at certain times of the year which are designated family weeks. Families wishing to come outside of the family weeks can stay for a maximum of three nights, only between Easter and the end of September. 


The group bible and discussion program for families meets daily at Olinda, a 10-15 minute walk from Taizé. Each day begins with a time of bible reflection for parents. This is followed by sharing groups with other parents, during the same time, volunteers run groups for children, according to age. 


In the afternoon, there are activities for parents and children together. 

Teen Groups

15 and 16 year olds may only take part if accompanied by group leaders.


The meetings run a full week, from Sunday afternoon to the following Sunday, after the morning Eucharist. If you can’t come for a full week, try coming for a weekend. Arrive in this case on Thursday or Friday and stay through to Sunday.


Groups need to register in advance and there needs to be one contact person preferably  aged 25 and older for every seven teens. This contact person will lead one of the small groups, made up of around ten young people who came with other groups. This person should be prepared to share and supervise accommodations of the young people.

Young Adults (17-29)

Young adults are welcome throughout the year and will meet in same age groups. One week a year is reserved specially for 18-35 year-olds.  If you are under the age of 18 you must have written parent authorization and someone over 18 must be with you during your stay. 

Adults over 30

Adults may come individually or as a couple.

Adults are asked to try and avoid busy periods like Holy Week, Easter Week, Ascension week, and from mid-July to the end of August. Adults over 30 are welcome to join during the week reserved for 18-35 year-olds


I have traveled to Taizé twice with groups of teenagers and adults. It is truly a special place. Everyone from my group returned home with a deeper appreciation for other cultures and made a significant spiritual transformation. Many of us still keep in touch with the friends we made at Taizé from Switzerland, France, Finland and other places around the world. If you are ever inspired to take a pilgrimage alone or in a group, consider Taizé, it is the ultimate pilgrimage destination.

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