Even taking into account that some of Parisians do not include Bois de Vincennes (as well as Bois de Boulogne) to the territory of the city we could not go by this wonderful place in the French capital. Maybe Parisians are right, because Bois de Vincennes is located in close proximity to the town of Vincennes (east of Paris), due to it the forest got its name, but according to the official administrative division of the city this beautiful landscape park belongs to the twelfth district of Paris.
The area of the Bois de Vincennes by official data is a little less than a thousand hectares. Of course, it’s not much for forests, but this is compensated with other advantages, which attract crowds of locals and motley army of foreign tourists.
Many years ago, the forest was the property of the royal family of France, and the King Philip Augustus, a lover of hunting in this place, had ordered to build a hunting lodge in the forest. Another regal person the King Louis The Saint moved further in the matter of building the forest and became “the culprit” a small chapel’s creation. According to the French legend, he had lived a big part of his life here under the century-old oaks.
The fourteenth century was marked in the history of Bois de Vincennes by the fact that the first monarchs of the dynasty of Valois founded the castle at the site of the ancient chapel of Louis. Today this castle is the main tourist attraction and value of the park.
Three centuries later the royal castle in the Bois de Vincennes got new luxury pavilions, built in the classic style of the medieval architecture, surrounding a central courtyard of the castle.
In the history of Bois de Vincennes there is the remarkable fact what was important for history not only of France but of Europe. One of the most famous French kings Louis XIV (he had ruled during 72 (!!!) years) spent in the woods a honeymoon after marrying a Spanish princess Maria Theresa. The regent of the king – no less famous person in the history of the country cardinal Mazarrini – went into another world here.
In the middle of the nineteenth century the Emperor Napoleon III gave Vincennes and Bois de Boulogne to Paris authorities. And since that time they became open for all residents and visitors of Paris. Further the city prefect Osman has worked with the park, he was a noble transformer of appearance of the capital. Due to his desire the park was turned into an exemplary English park with landscape delights.
Now there is a popular among the Parisians horse race track in Bois de Vincennes, a cycle track, as well as the National Sports Institute. For the guests with children the park offers an own zoo, covering an area of about fifteen hectares, and its main “residents” are mouflons and Asian elephants. The lovers of trees can visit an arboretum. After its reconstructions Bois de Vincennes has four lakes: Saint-Mande, Minim, Domesnim and Gravel.
As we think, the trip to Paris would not be complete without visiting of Bois de Vincennes. Enjoy your holiday in this beautiful place!