Château de Vincennes

Time to resume blogging! Thanks for your very kind comments on the preceding post! ... and of course, all the best for 2010!
Maybe a glimpse of what the Champs Elysées looked like when I crossed it on my walk home well after midnight, early January 1.
So, now, today's subject, the Vincennes castle.

The first kings of France moved a lot, from one castle or fortress to another, not necessarily in Paris; some provincial castles were then and also later frequently used, e.g. along the Loire valley, but also close to Paris - Fontainebleau, St.Germain-en-Laye....

After some more preliminary installations, around the year 1000 the Palais Royal on Ile de la Cité was created, today with some remains in the Palais de Justice (see previous post), including the Sainte Chapelle (see previous post). The Louvre (see previous posts) was made to a royal castle, then rather a fortress, during the 14th century.

During the 12th and 13th centuries, the royal family had also a preference for Vincennes, more or less as a summer and hunting residence. A bit later, the Château de Vincennes became, about simultaneously with the Louvre, a fortified castle, with a keep, walls and moats, thus constructed during the 14th century. It was frequently used by the royals for centuries.

If the original Louvre castle has been destroyed (the foundations can still be seen underground), the Vincennes castle is to a large extent saved as it was during medieval times. The donjon, the walls, the moats (today without water) and the drawbridges are still there. The donjon, which is the highest remaining construction of this type in Europe, was initially inhabited by the royals. It has of course some thick walls, dark rooms, steep stairs (well used)... During the centuries other more comfortable buildings were added, now disappeared.

The last addendums were made by the young Louis XIV, who added the King’s and the Queen’s pavilions in the beginning of his reign, using the same architects and artists that later were involved in the creation of Versailles (Le Vau, Le Nôtre for the gardens...). He and his court spent considerable time here until they abandoned as well the Louvre as Vincennes for Versailles in 1682.

The Vincennes castle has also its Sainte Chapelle, commenced during the 14th century, but completed only in the middle of the 16th century. It’s at present under restoration and the photo of the inside is actually a photo which I photoed.

When the royals abandoned the Vincennes castle, it was used for different things including manufacturing of chinaware, weapons... Especially the keep / donjon has frequently been used as a prison. I will not make the list of all famous prisoners, it’s long; perhaps just mention the Marquis de Sade, who spent some six years here. One can see a letter that he addressed to his wife in 1780.
It may be interesting to know that General De Gaulle for a while considered installing the presidential palace at Vincennes.

Paris is a rather small circle with two appendixes, the Bois de Boulogne in the west (see previous posts) and the Bois de Vincennes in the east. Actually, the Château de Vincennes is today situated just outside the Paris border.

As we can see, the Vincennes castle was well outside the city (the map from the 17th century), surrounded by forests, lakes and gardens, which to a large extent have been saved; the Bois de Vincennes (on which I may make a post or two, when the leaves and flowers are back).


feasting-on-pixels (terrie) said...

Merci beaucoup Peter, for the wonderful tour of Château de Vincennes...really beautiful images and great histoire of the Château.

Bonne Nouvelle Année, mon chêre…!
Bisous XXX

Owen said...

A pleasure to refresh my memory of previous visits to Vincennes...

Peter I hope you passed some wonderful holidays wherever you were, in Sweden or Paris or elsewhere... and it is clear you are all warmed up now to roll into some more fine blogging in 2010... my chapeau to you good sir...

Harriet said...

Welcome back. We've missed you.

Ruth said...

You made a grand re-entrance via Vincennes, dear Peter. That is a majestic place, and the clouds gave you some gorgeous backdrops for the white edifice.

Happy New Year, I hope you are well rested and all is well.

Virginia said...

TIme for you to get back to work Peter! We've all been slaving away in your absence. :) Now I'm madly posting future ones for my absence while I'm in Paris!

A bientôt!

Cheryl said...

Welcome back and happy New Year! Hope you had a great holiday.

Your Champs Elysees photos make me wish I'd been there. In 2010, I hope. ..

Rakesh Vanamali said...

Marvelous edifice! Superb pictures! Wishing you a wonderful year ahead!

James said...

Great post Peter! One of these days I'll take the long metro ride to Vincennes.

Happy 2010!

Vagabonde said...

I hope you had a great time on your vacation. I knew of the chateau de Vincennes but I have never been there. It really looks good, your pictures are great. I’ll try to visit it next time I am in Paris as I like historical structures like castles, plantations, old mansions, etc. Actually I did not really know that I liked these types pf buildings until I realized how many posts I wrote on them.

BLOGitse said...

if the walls could tell...so much seen...

thanks for sharing,
Happy New Year from sunny, +22 Cairo!

Olivier said...

tu as fait le jour de l'an sur les champs elysées, il parait qu'il y avait moins de monde que d'habitude. Superbe ce château de Vincennes, j'ai travaille pendant un certain temps juste a coté

BLOGitse said...

Please come and check what happened to one of my pictures - it was stolen and misused!
Blogposting dated 4.1.2010


Nathalie H.D. said...

Je ne connais du chateau de Vincennes que les tours que l'on distingue un peu sortant des arbres lorsqu'on se ballade au zoo de Vincennes. Inutile donc de dire que j'avais tout à en apprendre ! Merci pour cet excellent post.

Je vois que tu as blogué tard hier soir, il n'y a pas que les soirs de réveillon que tu te couches à point d'heure.
Un jour il faudra que je sois à Paris pour le 1er janvier, ça me dirait bien de voir le feu d'artifice depuis la tour eiffel !

Bon retour sur la toile et plein de bons voeux à toi pour 2010 ! (l'occasion de se retrouver bientot j'espère)

Nathalie H.D. said...

PS - ta première photo est étonnante : si propre avec les couleurs douces et un peu saturées et pas un promeneur que j'ai cru un moment à une gravure ancienne, une illustration de livre d'histoire... Regarde, tu verras !

Nathalie H.D. said...

Et ta série de plans commentés est excellente, on visualise vraiment les lieux - bravo !

ANNA-LYS said...

Ett Gott Nytt År, Peter!

(Hur var Göteborg?)

Adam said...

Happy new year Peter - good to see you starting the year with a post up to your usual standard!

hpy said...

Merci Peter pour cette visite au château de Vincennes que je n'au jamais pris la peine de visiter. Et une très bonne année à toi!

alice said...

Bonne et heureuse année, cher Professeur! (c'est vrai, tu nous as concocté un véritable cours d'histoire pour démarrer l'année! Mais pas d'interro, hein, on est d'accord?) Je t'embrasse.

Catherine said...

Une visite très documentée dont j'ignorais et où j'apprends maint détails, bien sûr, comme souvent lorsque je te lis...En fait, j'avais visté le chateau, une visite "en aveugle", il m'en manquait toutes ces informations essentielles. C'est certainement très interessant de te suivre lors d'une de tes visites...faudra qu'on se retrouve un jour si tu es d'accord.
Que cette année soit un grand cru pour ton blog, donc pour nous tous.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful way to start the New Year.
Looking forward to all you have to share with us in 2010.

JPD said...

Welcome back and bonne année!

Thérèse said...

Amusante cette anecdote sur le général de Gaulle!
Bon retour et savoure bien Paris pour nous en faire profiter comme tu sais si bien le faire.

Karin B (Looking for Ballast) said...

Welcome back, Peter!

And wow -- another fantastic and informative post here with the Château de Vincennes. I was just at Versailles not long ago and am I just so amazed at the history that is abundantly preserved in this city. It's actually pretty overwhelming sometimes. I am looking forward to a future journey to the Château de Vincennes, something I was just *barely* aware of before reading this post (as in, I knew it was there, but I had no idea it was *this* big and this interesting!).

Thank you!

Leif Hagen said...

Godt Nytt Ar! I enjoyed catching up on your blog again! What a FEAST of fotos of Paris! Valdigt bra gjort!
Halsningar fran Hagen

Rob said...

Welcome back into the new year! I had no idea there were so many palaces for the royalty.

margarida said...

Welcome back!!!!!!
(I'm reading Stiegf Larsson and I'm pretty well impressed with Sweden!)

EMNM said...

Welcome back Peter and happy New Year!!!!!

sonia a. mascaro said...

Hi Peter,
Welcome back! I hope you had a great time on Holidays.
I wish to you and your loved ones a Happy New Year!

Love seeing your Champs Elysees photos. They look fantastic. I wish I'd been there some day...

Beautiful photos and interesting reportage about the Vincennes Castle. Thanks for this great post.

le banc moussu said...

a very instructive walk Peter. Can you believe I've never been there.
Have a happy new year.

cathyswatercolors said...

What a walk(after midnight in paris) What a life,lucky you!

Eli said...

Thanks Peter - its been on my 'to-do' list for a long time and now that the chapel is re-opened I hope to get there over Easter weekend.

Just finished 'The Four Queens' about the 4 Provencal sisters who all became queens - and the chateau features heavily in Marguerite's story.

Happy New Year

Parisbreakfasts said...

My sister at one point had an apart on Bvd de Vincennes but I never made it all the way down to the parc..
Another "Peter's Paris" must-do!

Marie-Noyale said...

Une entree Royale dans la nouvelle annee!!
Je te souhaite tous mes meilleurs voeux pour 2010.

Leah. said...

so beautiful!!

lasiate said...

Tu es une véritable encyclopédie parisienne. Meilleurs voeux

Starman said...

We haven't yet made it out to the Château de Vincennes. Maybe some WARM day in the future.

claude said...

Coucou Peter !
C'est, je dois dire, un endroit assez méconnu de moi sur Paris. Pourtrant c'est une assez belle bâtisse.
Un autre prisionnier célèbre qui y fut fusillé sur ordre Napoléon Buonaparte, c'est le Duc d'Enghein.
Il me semble que pendnant la dernière guerre mondiale il y avait beaucoup de prisonniers résistants tenus par les allemands, dont certains je crois, on été fusillés dans ce que l'on a appelé les fossés de Vincennes.

Cergie said...

Oui Paris est petit, même sur une ligne, il nous est arrivé plusieurs fois de descendre à pied les Champs Elysées avec nos enfants entre deux années ; et d'arriver à la place de la Concorde pour ensuite prendre le RER à Aubert.
Ce château de V. ressemble à un château de conte de fée. Tu n'as photographié le dragon, c'est dommage...

Baglady said...

I adore your Champs Elysee photo - so pretty with the lights too :)

Am a big fan of castles (I love crenellations). So pretty and kind of romantic, if you know what I mean.

La Belette Rouge said...

Happy New Year, Peter! I thank you for a beautiful year of Paris posts. I look forward to another one.

Unknown said...

Wonderful castle! The first pic is fantastic!
Also enjoyed the New Year's Eve shots!
Happy New Year, Peter!

P.S. So you've been to Tikal too! :-)

Cezar and Léia said...

Thanks for showing this, so far I hadn't known about this castle and it is so beautiful!
We really should go to Paris... :)
God bless you!

amatamari© said...

Gread and good start with this wonderful post!
Very interesting this castle and truly remarkable - not only for its height - but for a splendor that still emanates: really magnificent!

PeterParis said...

Bonne Année et bises à toi aussi! :-)

Thanks, I will do my best! :-)

I missed you all also! Nice to be back! :-)

PeterParis said...

The clouds were coming and going...
Yes, I think I have rested enough! :-)

You are really serious in your blogging, pre-programming for your absence; that's more than what I do! :-)

I also sincerely hope you can do it in 2010! :-)

PeterParis said...

V Rakesh:
The same to you! :-)

It's an easy ride! Straight on with metro line no. 1 or RER A! :-)

Blogging can wake up new interests, that's for sure! :-)

PeterParis said...

Maybe I should book a flight! :-)

J'ai juste traversé sur mon chemin de retour! :-)

BLOGitse bis:
I saw! Stealing is not nice, but I'm perhaps less worried about copyrights. Of course I would appreciate if people tell me if they make use of my pictures. :-)

PeterParis said...

Toujours pas de feux sur la Tour Eiffel pendant le réveillon! La déception! Oui, j'espère aussi qu'on se reverra bientôt! :-)

Nathalie bis:
Merci; je n'avais pas remarqué; je n'ai pas fait exprès! :-)

Göteborg var OK... men kallt! Jag önskar dig ocksà Gott Nytt!

PeterParis said...

Thanks, I do my best!

Maintenant tu as au moins fait une visite virtuelle! :-)

Si, je vais te poser des questions la prochaine fois qu'on se voit! :-)

PeterParis said...

De me balader avec toi; avec grand plaisir! Bises! :-)

You put pressure on me! :-)

Thanks... and the same! :-)

PeterParis said...

... et je crois qu'on en parle encore aujourd'hui! :-)

I'm happy if I manage to open your eyes for some of the nice and interesting things to see! :-)

Leif Hagen:
Thanks and I wish you the same! (I should visit your site more often; sorry)! :-)

PeterParis said...

The list is long! :-)

Already on volume three? Difficult to stop once you got started! :-)

Thanks! I wish you the same! :-)

PeterParis said...

One day you WILL be there; it's a must! :-)

Le banc moussu:
Of course I beleive you! It's defintely not much visited, compared to Versailles etc... ! :-)

It was COLD!! :-)

PeterParis said...

The chapel is still closed, but should be open for Easter! :-)

Not a place for macarons! :-)

Merci, et te souhaite la même chose! :-)

PeterParis said...

Hilltop House:
Yes, quite spectacular! :-)

Merci Google, Wikipedia etc... ! :-)

Maybe than during your next visit? The weather will remain cold still for a couple of days, I'm afraid! :-)

PeterParis said...

Coucou! Oui, tu as raison, mais je trouvais que j'avais déjà fait un peu long (encore une fois)! :-)

Le dragon était en congé! :-)

I guess I know what you mean! :-)

PeterParis said...

La Belette Rouge:
I will do my best also in 2010! :-)

Yes, I have been to "Tika", but missing so many countries compared to you! :-)

Yes, you really should! ...and don't forget Léia! :-)

BLOGitse said...

If you book a flight I'd be your guide in Cairo! :)
Jag kan ackso tala Svenska...VERY little, I understand more than I can speak! :)

PeterParis said...

Thanks for this kind offer! ... and the language will not be a problem! :-)

Jeanie said...

Welcome back from holiday, Peter! I'm glad you've returned -- I needed my "Paris Fix!"

Happy New Year!

PeterParis said...

Happy if you appreciate! :-)

Trotter said...

Ohlala! Un Chateau pour commencer l'année... Ça commence bien... ;)

PeterParis said...

Après, il faut essayer de suivre! :-)