The Gesu Church
Hidden away in the Carmes district of Toulouse, the Gesu church, built in 1860 by the Jesuits, now belongs to the City of Toulouse. The building no longer functions as a church and is now dedicated to music, serving as a venue for several cultural associations related to classical music: Toulouse les Orgues, L’Ensemble Baroque de Toulouse, Les Sacqueboutiers, Antiphona and Les Arts Renaissants.
The Gesu Church is open on Heritage Days and during the events held by each of the organisations, but is closed to the public outside of these activities.
The Gesu Church takes its name from the Jesuits, who originally built it. In 1853 the Company of Jesus bought the old Sénéchaussée building together with a large plot of land. After the Sénéchaussée and a long stretch of the former Gallo-Roman city wall were demolished, the Company commissioned the architect Henri Bach to build a large church in the neo-Gothic style, and a school for novitiates.
The church was not attached to a parish and was alternately open to the public and then closed and then re-opened and closed again. The Jesuits later met in a section of the St Stanislas novitiate school. As the community got smaller, it ceased all its activities and sold the church to the City and the old novitiate school to the Diocese. After some restoration work, the City ensured that the structure met modern safety standards and turned it into a centre for music and especially the organ. The Gesu now hosts concerts and is a place of work and rehearsals for musical ensembles and organisations all year round.