Chateau de Vincennes - Vincennes Castle
The impressive Vincennes Castle is defined as one of the few strongholds of the Middle Ages that to this day has a central place in French history. Vincennes is also well known as the Chateau de Vincennes and was raised in the 12th century located in the town, which nowadays is no longer a suburb but is the French capital - Paris. The medieval castle is located east of downtown.
The history of the castle began in the 12th century, when it was originally a royal hunting lodge. It was built by order of Louis VII around 1150 in the forest of Vincennes. However, it appeared in the 13th century with significant structure thanks to Philip Augustus and Louis IX, the latter of which departs from Vincennes to his crusade from which he never returned.
In the following centuries the palace continues to be royal seat. In it were born several French kings - Louis X in 1316, Philip V - 1322 and Charles IV appeared in 1328. In the late 14th century, Vincennes had significantly strengthened and expanded. French King - Philip VI added to the structure of the palace a 52-meter tower, which for that time was the highest fortified medieval structure in Europe.
Massive amounts of Vincennes reached more than a kilometer in length. With a scale of 330 x 175 m Vincennes had a rectangular shape with six towers and three gates, each of which initially reached a height of 42 meters. On the west side of the palace there was a steady 52-meter fort which was secured by a moat.
Today, the construction of the 14th century only leaves remains. The high towers at that time are now the height of the wall after being demolished in 1800. The only surviving watchtower is located in the northern part of the complex.
The palace ensemble of Vincennes fell along with two large pavilions, known as the Pavilion of the King and the Queen's Pavilion, which were built in the 17th century. These two buildings were the best example of Renaissance architecture in France. As a royal residence the castle stops functioning in the 18th century after which for some time had been consistently a prison and monastery.
Since the beginning of 1990 a major restoration of the castle took place. After 17 years of repairs, which were controlled by the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Culture, the palace was reopened for public visits in 2007. Castle Vincennes was then declared a national monument of France.
Vincennes Castle is open year round for visitors. You can book a private tour or join one of the two, which are organized every day. One tour is short, about 45 minutes and one tour lasts an hour and 15 minutes. The maximum number of people for a group tour is 30 people.