After posting my recent thoughts about Parisian Parks I decided to make the most of a beautiful summer Sunday and the suggestion of some keen friends by visiting the Chateau de Vincennes and the quaint little town situated on the Bois de Vincennes.
Being under 26, a visit of the Chateau de Vincennes cost me no more than the 3 euros 50 cts. of my ticket-jeune. At full price tickets are 8 euros but there are several concessions based upon age, student-status, income and group excursions so it would make a reasonably inexpensive day out for a family with young children. The Chateau de Vincennes is a fourteenth and seventeenth century fortified castle that has throughout the ages been a strategic base for military feats. This is evident not only due to its location outside of the city of Paris, giving access to the surrounding countryside but also in it’s extremely tall and machicolated keep. Today there is even a military headquarters within the walls to the East of the castle – Fort Neuf de Vincennes, containing the archives to the French Ministry of Defence.
Despite the looming keep, it was the chapel which immediately stole my attention upon arrival, with it’s numerous spires and gothic architechture. But nevertheless we marched on ahead to begin our tour of this magnificent castle, saving the temptation of this impressive place of worship until last.
This visit was certainly worth the venture to end of the metro line. The castle staff were extremely friendly and we were invited to make use of modern technology in the ancient surroundings to enhance our experience. Upon arrival, we entered into a room full of barcodes which recreated images of the past, later we were transported to a music hall, flooded with the sound of lutes and bagpipes as Louis VII supposed favourite songs were playing.
When we had finished our tour of the castle, lasting around an hour, we decided to explore the, chapel and the grounds before heading off to the ‘Parc Floral de Paris’. I was awed by the large white lettering upon which we could climb and take Hollywood-esque photos of PARIS. Sometimes the best in things in life actually are free! or perhaps it was a case of simple things pleasing a simple mind…After enjoying a quick picnic and an even quicker nap it was off to explore the small town of Vincennes. About a ten minute walk from the metro led us into the pretty little town where we stumbled upon a relaxed, family-owned cafe with ample outdoor seating and a delicious selection of ice-cream. I was mostly impressed by the friendly service and significantly lower prices than in Paris. All in all a very successful (and inexpensive) day out.