From hunting lodge to headquarters at the royal residence
The castle of Vincennes is a very important and unavoidable site of the Val-of-Marne department. It is a veritable fortified city that used to serve as a royal residence. In the past, game was abundant in the forest of Vincennes. The Capetian kings had a hunting lodge that King Louis VII developed from 1150. Under the reign of Philip Augustus (King of France from 8th of September 1180 to 14th of July 1223), the building was transformed into a manor house for crowned heads.
In the 14th century, Charles V began a new development and the royal family began to take a keen interest in the castle. Philip III married at the time of his second wedding, while the kings Louis X (1316) and Charles IV (1328) died there. It is Philippe IV of Valois who begins the fortification of the site and engages the construction of Donjon. Charles V had brought about the greatest changes in the castle. He was born there and transformed it into a residence and a seat of his government. The enclosure, the gates and the towers were erected successively. The Sainte-Chapelle of Vincennes begins to be built at the same time.
From prison to the Historical Defense Service
The castle of Vincennes gradually becomes a residence of passage for the kings. It became the third royal residence. Louis XIV preferred the castle of Versailles. In the first half of the year 1600, the dungeon was transformed into a prison to imprison prisoners of high birth. The Duke of Beaufort, Nicolas Fouquet, the Marquis de Sade and Diderot are among the important guests of this state prison. In the eighteenth century, the castle became the seat of the Manufacture de Vincennes before this porcelain production was transferred to Sèvres. In 1796, the castle was converted into an arsenal. This site has been classified as a historical monument since 1993. It currently houses the Department of Architecture and Heritage and the Historical Defense Service.
What to see around the castle of Vincennes
The size and location of the castle alone arouse curiosity and admiration. It is the largest French fortified castle. It is the tallest in Europe with 52 meters of its dungeon. The castle of Vincennes is located on a plain and it is not near a river. It is the only castle that is near Paris. There are many collections from several eras. Visitors will be entitled to several visit formats such as free visit with document, audio-guided tour, guided tour, visit-conference, visit privilege and visit on request.
The Vincennes Zoo
The Vincennes Zoo, now called the Zoological Park of Paris, is an area of 14.5 hectares housing more than 1000 animals from 180 different species. It records 900,000 visitors per year. He is one of the top 5 zoos in France. In 1860, Isidore Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, director of the National Museum of Natural History wanted a space to study the behaviour of animals. 16 hectares of the Wood of Vincennes were ceded to the city of Paris and converted by the Muséum as a vegetable and animal reserve. The real zoo did not happen due to lack of financial resources.
In 1931, the colonial exhibition required the creation of a temporary zoo to expose exotic animals from the colonies. At the closing of the exhibition, a definitive zoo was installed. Paul Lemoine, geologist and director of the Museum from 1932 to 1936, is in charge of the design of the Zoological Park of the Wood of Vincennes. The zoo was closed between November 30, 2008 and April 12, 2014 due to age. The renovation works began on December 7, 2011. When it reopened, it took the name Zoological Park of Paris.
The Animal Collection
It is a favourite place of the Francilians. In 1968, it recorded a peak of attendance never reached with 1,500,000 visitors in 1 year. After its restoration, the new park is divided into 5 bio-zones including: Savane-Sahel with 44 species on 45215 m², Guyana with 67 species out of 12 530 m² and Madagascar with 30 species on 9 655 m². Other bio-zones are under construction and will be developed later. The zoo also includes greenhouses and aviaries. It hosts boarders such as amphibians, reptiles, primates and mammals. They include pumas, white rhinoceros, fossas from Madagascar, wolves and giraffes.
The Market of Rungis
The market of Rungis is a Market of national interest, property of the French State but managed by the Joint-stock company of mixed economy of management and management of the market of national interest of Rungis. It is located in the municipality of department 94. This market covers an area of 234 ha of which 72.7 ha are covered and of which 47 ha are commercial buildings. It is a vast market intended for professionals that aims to supply one in five French people. Goods from other French regions, from Europe and the rest of the world arrive by plane via Orly airport, by train or by truck. In 2010, the Rungis Market saw 797,388 tons of fruits and vegetables, 166,312 tons of milk and cereal products, 298,933 tons of meat and 200 million cut flowers, and 15 million potted plants.
Although the market is intended for professionals, it is worth a deviation. Individuals can opt for a guided tour from 4:30 am. Please note that each product has its opening hours. It is the seafood pavilions that open and close very early from 2h to 7h, while those dairy products open the longest from 5h to 13h. Inside this huge complex are banks and restaurants.
How to get from Vincennes to CDG Airport by car
The distance by car between the zoological park of Vincennes and Charles de Gaulle airport is 25.6 kilometers. The journey takes an average of 33 minutes. Those who want to go directly to the airport after the visit of the zoo pass through the Rue de Montreuil and change department. Indeed, Vincennes is part of the department of Val-de-Marne while Montreuil is a commune of 93 on Seine-Saint-Denis. It is the second most populous city in the department. Then you have to go through the Avenue de la Résistance to take the direction of Roissy-in-France. Here again, one enters the department of Val-d'Oise (95). The airport is 2.9 kilometers from the city exit.