We could also visit the center of the city of Toulouse. The river la Garonne, that flows in the middle of the city, is crossed by four bridges, each was build during a different century. We enjoyed the city on day but on night too, with light jewelries.
The quays were always full of people, tourists, but also students or inhabitants. There was « a sommer holiday feeling » that was contrasting with the all day life in Mirail area : two different worlds.

We went to St-Sernin basilica, dedicated to St-Saturnin (the first bishop of Toulouse), to the Capitole, visited churches, saw the relics of St-Thomas d’Aquin in the jacoban closter. There were deckchairs around the little square garden, so visitors could relax and chat. It was probably more noisy than it was a long time ago.

Most of the buildings in Toulouse center are in brick with blue painted metal balconies. That’s why it’s called  » la cité rose « , and give an identity to the area. That’s not the case of the Mirail, that sadly looks like every suburb.


K, M & C



In Toulouse, maybe because of the France history and the short distance with North Africa, there is many muslims.

We could meet some muslims students during Maraude where they work hand in hand with christians, we also played with muslims children in the street in Mirail. We heard great things about imams in the neighborhood and reconciliation with christians. Some also want to come to Taizé! Human being like us, we discover some muslims with the same spiritual sensibility and questions than us, sometimes other answers, but with a strong and beautiful love in God.

There is a lot of different cultural backgrounds, different faces and colors in the same religion, like christianity. Sadly, there is a lot of prejudice against them in Switzerland, France and Poland. People don’t know them, and are afraid. Like between christians, we should discover what we have in common, it’s much more than our differences.

In Toulouse, it was a sign full of hope that a common meeting, with a step forward of both sides, is possible.

« I am sure I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living,
Yes I shall see the goodness of the Lord, hold firm, trust in the Lord
. »


K, M & C




The buildings in the neighborhood of Bagatelle were build in the 60ies, but became a kind of « ghetto » for poor people after other habitants move out. It became a dangerous place, and, as f.Gerard told us, was known in the newspaper because of the story of a young man killed by the police.

That’s why the city of Toulouse decided to invest the area : Thanks to the subway, there is a good connection to the city center. Old buildings were demolish and new ones were build in a very modern way, to attract a new kind of inhabitants. The neighborhood looks like a mosaic of new and old blocks. They is also a big effort in the urbanism to make the area more welcoming and let the people meet each other: new road connections, new green park, community centers, shared gardens.
The area has a lot of qualities but it has still for inhabitants of Toulouse not a good reputation, the habits of the people who live here is difficult to change and the poverty is still visible.

In the Reynerie area, we made an unexpected discovery. In the middle of high buildings, there is a palace and a beautiful garden from the 17th century! We feel like to be in the Versailles gardens. Most people around respect the park and are proud to have it.

Is it always a good thing to have different religions, habits and social levels in the same neighborhood? Could it make the situation worst or is it always a mutual enrichment?


During our stay in Toulouse, we went to local Taizé prayers:

The first one was in the student parish in the church  » Saint-Pierre des Chartreux ». The group is very dynamic, composed of approximately 40 students who meet once a month. Most of them are roman catholic.

We helped to install carpets and icônes for the prayer. There is less students in Sommer in Toulouse,( we were 10) but with the great acoustic and athmosphere of the church, we could almost sing all night together. After the prayer, they share with us tea and sweets.

We went also to prayers organised by the group  » psalite deo » in the Cathedral St-Etienne. The group meets every Monday evening to pray together, but organise also activities and travels together. The group is composed of people from different christian confessions. Some are inhabitants, some are travelers or Erasmus students, and sometimes persons in wheelchairs are coming too.

A particularly during the prayer is that they like to stop it in the middle and to share about a bible text or a reflexion. Thanks to the different confessions, the point of views weren’t the same and we could let our faith grow.

It remind us also of the Bible sharing after the Bible introduction in Taizé with other young christians.


Pendant notre séjour à Toulouse, nous sommes allées à des prières de Taizé locales :

La première était dans la paroisse étudiante St-Pierre des Chartreux. Le groupe est très dynamique, composé d’environ 40 étudiants qui se retrouvent une fois par mois pour prier. La majorité est catholique romane.

Nous avons aidé à installer les tapis et les icônes. Il y a moins d’étudiants à Toulouse en été (nous étions 10 personnes), mais grâce à l’acoustique et l’atmosphère de l’église, nous aurions pu chanter jusqu’au bout de la nuit. Après la prière, nous avons partagé du thé et des friandises.

Nous sommes également allées aux prières organisées par le groupe « psalite deo » dans la cathédrale St-Etienne. Le groupe se rencontre chaque lundi soir pour prier mais organise ensemble des activités et des voyages. Le groupe est composé de plusieurs confessions chrétiennes. Il y a des habitants de Toulouse, des voyageurs de passage, des étudiants Erasmus et parfois des personnes en chaise roulante.

Une particularité est qu’au milieu de la prière il y a un partage sur un texte biblique ou une citations. Les points de vue sont divers, grâce aux différentes confessions, et cela a permis à notre foi de grandir.

Ceux-ci nous ont rappelé les groupes de partage après l’introduction biblique à Taizé.


K, M & C

On Friday, we were invited to eat in Odette’s house. Odette is a women we met in the mass. She lives near the place where someone was killed three weeks ago by a man disguised in a mueslim woman. Odette is a very nice person, and she wanted to show us the life in the district of « Le Mirail ». We walked together in the streets, and she showed us the church, the market, and the park of « La Reynerie ». This is a very big park, and it is very surprising to find it in the middle of a district full of big buildings. In the middle of the park, there is also a lake where the children can go on small boats during the summer, and there is a castel and a water jet.
During the lunch, she talked to us about her life experiences, especially her commitment in prison : once a week, she welcomes the children who are coming to visit someone. She spoke also about her visit in Taizé in 2005, she went to accompany a group of young people and she discovered the value of the silence.
We are very thankful for the time we had with her, we had a very nice moment together !

Vendredi, nous avons été invité à manger chez Odette. Odette est une femme que nous avons rencontrée à la messe. Elle habite près de l’endroit où quelqu’un a été tué il y a trois semaines par un homme déguisé en femme musulmane. Odette est une personne très sympa, et elle voulait nous montrer la vie dans le quartier du Mirail. Nous nous sommes promenées dans les rues, et elle nous a montré l’église, le marché et le parc de la Reynerie. C’est un immense parc, et il est très surprenant de le trouver au milieu des très grands immeubles du quartier. Au milieu du parc, il y a aussi un lac où les enfants peuvent aller sur des petits bateaux pendant l’été, et il y a un château et un jet d’eau.
Pendant le déjeuner, elle nous a parlé de ses expériences de vie, en particulier de son engagement en prison : une fois par semaine, elle accueille des enfants qui viennent rendre visite à quelqu’un. Elle nous a aussi parlé de son séjour à Taizé en 2005, elle venait pour accompagner un groupe de jeunes, et elle y avait découvert la valeur du silence.
Nous sommes reconnaissantes du temps passé avec elle, nous avons passé un super moment avec elle !


On Thursday jesuits from Toulouse invited us for a common dinner. They live on the top of a very high building, so they have very nice view of all main places in Toulouse and of the Pyrenees mountains (!)
The brothers prepared tasty meal from India. It was a good time during which we could share our experience. They talked about living in poor area and in a building with muslims, jews and other christians. They told us, that they often organise a « sharing meal » with dishes from around the world with the neighbors to bring them together and to know each other.
We can help people to meet each other.

[FR]Jeudi, nous avons été invité chez des jésuites vivants à Toulouse pour partager un repas. Ils vivent au sommet d’un HLM et ont une vue magnifique sur les lieux principaux de Toulouse, ainsi que sur la chaîne des Pyrénées (!)
Les frères nous ont préparé un délicieux repas indien. Nous avons passé un bon moment durant lequel nous avons partagé notre expérience à Toulouse. Ils nous ont parlé de leur vie dans un quartier pauvre et dans un immeuble avec des musulmans, des juifs et d’autres chrétiens. Ils nous ont raconté qu’ils organisaient souvent un « repas partagé » avec les voisins pour les faire se rencontrer et apprendre à se connaître.
Il suffit de peu pour devenir un moteur de rencontres.


K, M & C



On Tuesday, we went to the FARE (Families Supported in Network of Mutual aid).The FARE has been created by a team of volunteers in 2013 and it is supported by an employee of Caritas. As the number of people living in a big poverty in Toulouse is growing up, Caritas Ariege-Garonne decided to make stonger his commitment for those people. In the FARE, the volunteers welcome migrant families who have children that are younger than 3 years old. It is a user-friendly place where the mothers can be listened. One person helps them in the administrative procesure to have papers. The FARE also give them some nappies, some milk,…

We had lunch with two volunteers. The families started to come at about 1.30 pm and they stayed until 5 pm. We were here to play with the children, and we are going to come back on the two next Tuedays. The usual volunteers enjoyed our presence because they were more available to be with the mothers.
For us, it was a new opportunity to meet people living in a very poor situation. But when we play with the children, we don’t see their difficulties, they are always joyful. We felt that it was a real being of Holy Spirit, even the people who don’t speak the same language could have some contact thanks to their experience of life.


Hier, nous sommes allées au FARE (Familles Accompagnées en Réseau d’Entraide). Le FARE a été créé par une équipe de bénévoles en 2013 et est accompagné par un salarié du Secours Catholique. Étant donné le nombre croissant de personnes vivant en grande précarité à Toulouse, le Secours Catholique Ariège-Garonne a décidé de renforcer son engagement auprès de ce public.

Au FARE, les bénévoles accueillent des familles migrantes ayant un ou des enfants de moins de 3 ans. C’est un lieu convivial où les mamans peuvent être écoutées. Une personne les aide dans leurs démarches administratives pour avoir des papiers. Le FARE leur donne aussi des couches, du lait en poudre…

Nous avons mangé à midi avec deux bénévoles. Les familles ont commencé à arriver vers 13h30 et elles sont restées jusqu’à 17h. Nous étions là pour jouer avec les enfants, et nous y retournerons les deux prochains mardis.

Pour nous, c’était une opportunité de rencontrer des personnes vivant en grande précarité. Mais quand nous sommes avec les enfants, nous ne voyons pas toutes leurs difficultés car ils sont toujours heureux. Nous avons senti la réelle présence de l’Esprit Saint car même les personnes ne parlant pas la même langue peuvent créer des liens en raison de leur expérience de vie.