Bois de Vincennes

The Bois de Vincennes is one of the two partially designed as an English landscape park forests city of Paris. With an area of ​​995 acres or 9.95 km ², it is one of the most important recreational areas of the city and popular tourist destination.

The forest is located in the 12th arrondissement and forming the easternmost foothills of the city. It is bounded on the north by the town of Vincennes with its castle and from Fontenay -sous- Bois, in the east of the bend in the River Marne, south of Charenton- le -Pont and west of the beltway Périphérique and Saint- Mandé. This roughly corresponds to the area, which occupied this time royal domain in the 11th century.

The attraction of the Bois de Vincennes, which attracts many hikers in the woods, justified, apart from the forest land (365 acres ), with its hiking trails (60 km) and riding trails (19 km), the three man-made lakes and their islands and the Floral Park Parc Floral (28 hectares), the high range of sports facilities and other leisure, amusement and entertainment venues. Here you will find, among other things Trabrennbahn Hippodrome de Vincennes, the Sports Institute INSEP ( Institut National des Sports et de l'Education Physique ), several riding clubs, which is currently closed for renovations Vincennes Zoo, the Théâtre de la Cartoucherie and other educational and research institutions, including the Botanical School Ecole Du Breuil and its arboretum, a model farm and a school for the training of guide dogs. There are bicycles for rent and rowing boats, with which you can translate to the islands. For guests' refreshment numerous coffee gardens and restaurants.


The meaning of the name is not known. This area was first mentioned under the name Vilcena in a document of the Abbey of Saint -Maur from the year 847, it has not been able to find a credible explanation for the origin of this name.


The Bois de Vincennes is one of the last remnants of the forest crown, which surrounded the ancient Lutetia in earlier times.

Middle Ages

In the 9th century it belonged to the diocese of Paris, came in the 11th century to the Crown and was henceforth used as a royal hunting ground.

Louis VII led in 1164, the settlement of monks from the monastery of Gramont in Limousin. Already in 1183, his son Philippe -Auguste surrounding abbeys, who had seized a large part of the forest estate, back in their place. He protected the reduced to an area of ​​50 acres of forest by a 12 km long wall, let suspend deer and replace an already existing at that time royal hunting pavilion by a manor house at its facility to be built in the 14th century the Castle of Vincennes. The following kings sought the integral restoration of the forest, whose surface, although the parliament ( Supreme Court ) had arranged fellings during the Hundred Years' War, to relieve the distress caused by the severe winter of 1419, under Louis XI. was increased to 200 acres. 1475 Olivier le Daim, the king ordered to have planted 3,000 oak trees.

Early Modern Times

1551 allowed Henry II to reforest the forest ahead and sow acorns.

17th and 18th centuries

Louis XIV enlarged the forest again and let beautify and extend the lock. His successor, Louis XV. entrusted Alexandre Lefebvre de la Faluere with a re- afforestation, in the course of which the previously naturally grown forest, which so far still served as a hunting ground of them, though at first very slowly developed into an artificial park. There have been pulled straight paths, circular courses applied to its hybrids, some of which were designed artistic, such as today's " route du polygons " with an obelisk (1731 ). Louis XV. eventually also left six portals break in the wall and opened the forest for the audience.

19th and 20th centuries

In the 19th century the forest became a military training ground. A part of the forest was cleared for the construction of barracks, firing ranges and maneuver grounds. 1860 was Napoleon III. the Bois de Vincennes with the order, similar to the City of Paris make it to the Bois de Boulogne in the English style new.

Baron Haussmann transferred the contract to the landscape architect Jean -Charles Alphand, who knew the taste of the Emperor well. He left the site largely quilted afforest and provided with artificial hills and three lakes. The Lac de Gravelle is fed from the Marne and serves as a reservoir for the Lac Daumesnil, the Lac de Saint- Mandé and the artificial rivers that run through the park. In 1863 the racecourse " Hippodrome Du Plateau de Gravelle ," opens today Hippodrome de Vincennes. Haussmann tried as in the Bois de Boulogne, to generate revenue through the sale of non-core land of the revaluated large green space here, but with less success ( because of the social Ostgefälles West of Paris ). In the III. Republic was the military use of the Bois de Vincennes again intensified after 1871. It was not until 1947, a bigger artillery position and a parade ground were incorporated into the park.

For the Summer Olympic Games of 1900 that sports facilities and the roads were expanded. 1919 Pershing Stadium was built, took place in the major sports competitions in the 1920s.

In 1931 the Paris Colonial Exhibition held in the park, which numbered 33 million visitors. Most pavilions in the style of the architecture of the colonial peoples were removed after the event, the architectural testimony only unit of the exhibition is the Palais de la Porte Dorée at the western end of the Bois, which now houses an aquarium and the Immigration Museum Cité nationale de l' histoire de l'immigration is.

1929, the Bois de Vincennes was officially incorporated into the city of Paris, but as part of the Bois de Boulogne is not really the city, as the land is state-owned. According to the lower social status of the Bois de Vincennes is now also affected by the Ring Road Boulevard périphérique stronger than in the Bois de Boulogne in the " posh " west of the city.

See also:

  • Vincennes
  • Castle of Vincennes
  • Vincennes Zoo