The Bois de Vincennes is the largest public park and a green lung bordering Paris. This is the biggest green space in the city, and the place where Parisians love to go during the long, hot summer days. But the Bois de Vincennes is not only the place to picnic in the thick shade under the beautiful, old trees, here you can also enjoy jogging, cycling, hiking, horse riding and rowing. In this former hunting preserve of the kings of France, you can see some very rare and interesting plants and flower species in Parc Floral, visit Chateau de Vincennes and even see a play at the Cartoucherie.
This former royal hunting preserve, transformed into a military training ground in 1794, finally became a public park thanks to the French Emperor Napoleon III. The Bois de Vincennes was created between 1855 and 1866, and it has a total area of 995 hectares, which means that his green space occupies ten percent of the total area of Paris. The idea of the park was to provide a green space to the working-class population of eastern Paris, similar to the Bois de Boulogne, whose construction started in 1852 on the west side of Paris. In this beautiful place, you can still see and admire the remains of the rich French history, like Chateau de Vincennes. Built in the 14th century, this is the largest royal fortress in France that is still fully intact. Its 52-metre high donjon tower will leave you breathless.
The Bois de Vincennes is a perfect place for the entire family. The four artificial lakes will make your visit even more enchanting. The biggest lake is Lac Daumesnil, located in the western end of the park. This lake has two islands L’ile de Reuilly and L’ile de Bercy, connected by bridges. All around the lake you will find beautiful paths frequented by many joggers. The Parc floral de Paris is a public park and a botanical garden created in 1969. This park offers many free events, especially in summer, like major annual flower shows and Paris Jazz Festival organized every July. The Bois de Vincennes is also a place where you can enjoy some interesting theatre plays in the Cartoucherie, a former ammunition factory, which was turned in 1970 into a theater center, by the Theatre du Soleil (“The Theater of the Sun”), a Parisian avant-garde collective. Today, this place hosts many small theatre companies.
The Bois de Vincennes is free to access, but you will have to pay the entrance in Parc Floral during the events. The Bois de Vincennes is open every day and all day long, and Parc Floral from 9.30 am to 6.30 pm in winter and from 9.30 am to 8 pm in summer. The visits to Chateau the Vincennes are regularly organised, and visits to the fortress and donjon are free every first Sunday of the month from November 1st to March 31st.
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