Chateau de Vincennes and the castle

Whenever I take the No 1 metro line in an easterly direction, the final destination is Château de Vincennes and amazingly it has taken me all this time to realise there really is a château and a famous castle at the end of the line. It was a light bulb moment to say the least.

I hope I am forgiven by French blog readers,  I did not go to school in France.

As soon as you alight from the Metro you see that not only is there a château but also a 14th century castle built by Charles V and its own exquisite church – Saint Chapelle and several other handsome buildings.

John on the rear entrance bridge. 

The huge park behind the Château de Vincennes grounds.

The trees inside are ancient chestnuts and John is here caught in the act of gathering some on the ground to take home.

It is a significant monument for the nation and yet it just is not promoted enough to tourists. The remains of the outside walls.

The church stone walls inside and out is like the castle built in puritanical white stone and is as pristine as it would have been when originally built.

On the day visited there were few tourists and we seemed to be the only non-French ones. Saint Chapelle in background.  Look no one else in the picture!

We recommend taking the audio tour as the guided tours are conducted in French.

The Ministry of Culture and Defence occupy most of the buildings today including the Château but still it seemed a quiet place with only the occasional staff member walking through the grounds and a handful of tourists.

The original moat area is grassed.

You can imagine the soldiers keeping guard up here on the top floor.Major fireplace you can stand in, fit for a king.

Even this fireplace is stunning, in one of the rooms used as a prison.

By the way the Marquis de Sade was imprisoned here. His family was complicit in having him put away. Also he was not mad, he was incredibly lucid and his literary prowess is testament to that fact. He just had a sexual peccadillo that was not palatable then or even now!

A typical door in the Keep – known as a Donjon here. You just could not reproduce these doors or latches today without major expense. Nicolas Fouquet was imprisoned here. I wrote about him last year when we visited the Vaux-le-Vicomte  château he built but he was found to be an upstart in upstaging the king and since he was in charge of finances they suspected he had purloined some and so they found him guilty of embezzling or at least that is what the charges were.

The stone staircase and along the way little windows with wooden shutters. At this time they did not have glass  and when it was invented windows looked more like the cut off ends of bottles bound together with lead.

Some remaining wall decoration often done by prisoners.

A bit of trivia, back at the apartment John trying his best to make a meal of the chestnuts.

All this so close to Paris.


  1. #1 by australiss on October 2, 2010 - 9:07 am

    This place looks very interesting. I would love to visit. I have always found chestnuts to be a major disappointment. They look and smell so delicious when being roasted, but the floury texture puts me off.

  2. #2 by mary D on October 3, 2010 - 3:06 am

    Fantastic Roz!
    I’m a great believer in going to the end of the line!
    I wonder how those chestnuts turned out?

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