Things to Do And See At The Bois de Vincennes With History And Facts Guide

  • Uncover the rich history and enchanting charm of Bois de Vincennes, Paris’s largest and most verdant oasis.
  • Embark on a captivating journey through time, tracing the park’s evolution from a royal hunting ground to a beloved urban escape.
  • Discover a treasure trove of attractions, from a majestic castle and a world-class zoo to serene lakes, botanical gardens and captivating playgrounds.
  • Embrace the park’s tranquil ambiance and engage in a variety of activities, including leisurely strolls, cycling adventures, boat rides and cultural immersion.

By the end of this blog, you Will have a comprehensive understanding of Bois de Vincennes, from its historical significance to its vibrant present. You’ll be equipped with insider tips and recommendations to plan an unforgettable visit, whether you’re seeking a peaceful retreat or an action-packed adventure.

As a travel blogger passionate about immersing myself in the cultural tapestry of destinations, I will provide you with a unique perspective on Bois de Vincennes, highlighting its lesser-known gems and offering insightful anecdotes from my personal experiences. You’ll gain a deeper appreciation for the park’s rich history, its role in French culture, and its enduring appeal to Parisians and visitors alike.

History Of Bois de Vincennes

Nestled in the eastern outskirts of Paris, the Bois de Vincennes stands as a testament to the city’s enduring love affair with nature. Spanning an impressive 995 hectares (2,459 acres), this sprawling park is often referred to as the “left lung” of Paris offering a welcome respite from the city’s bustling streets. Its verdant expanse, dotted with lakes, gardens and recreational facilities, provides a haven for Parisians and visitors alike, beckoning them to escape the urban clamor and embrace the tranquility of nature.

A Royal Legacy: From Hunting Grounds to Public Pleasure Ground

The history of Bois de Vincennes is as rich and multi-faceted as the park itself. Its story traces back to the Middle Ages, when it served as a royal hunting preserve, providing solace and recreation for French monarchs. Over the centuries, the park underwent significant transformations, evolving from a private hunting ground to a public pleasure ground under the reign of Napoleon III.

During the 19th century, Napoleon III embarked on an ambitious urban renewal project, transforming Paris into a modern metropolis. As part of this grand vision, he envisioned Bois de Vincennes as a public park that would offer Parisians a much-needed escape from the city’s growing density. Under his direction, the park underwent extensive landscaping, with the addition of canals, lakes, gardens, and various recreational facilities.

A Beloved Parisian Oasis

Today, Bois de Vincennes stands as a cherished symbol of Parisian life, a beloved oasis where city dwellers and visitors alike can commune with nature, engage in a variety of activities, and simply unwind. Its tranquil ambiance and diverse offerings have made it a popular destination for families, couples, and individuals seeking a respite from the city’s hustle and bustle


  • Bois de Vincennes is the largest public park in Paris, covering an area of 995 hectares (2,459 acres).
  • The park was originally a royal hunting ground and was transformed into a public park in the 19th century by Napoleon III.
  • The park is home to a variety of attractions, including the Château de Vincennes, a medieval castle; the Zoo de Vincennes, one of the oldest zoos in France; the Parc Floral de Paris, a botanical garden; and the Lac Daumesnil, a large lake.
  • The park is also a popular spot for cycling, jogging, and other outdoor activities.

Things to Do and See

  • Explore the Château de Vincennes: This imposing medieval castle was once the residence of French kings and queens. You can tour the castle’s grand rooms, admire the intricate tapestries and stained glass windows, and learn about its rich history.
  • Visit the Zoo de Vincennes: Discover a diverse array of animal species from around the world, including lions, elephants, penguins, and gorillas. Stroll through spacious enclosures, observe animal behaviors, and learn about conservation efforts underway to protect endangered species.
  • Take a boat ride on Lac Daumesnil: Rent a rowboat or pedal boat and glide across the tranquil waters of the lake, enjoying panoramic views of the surrounding greenery and the iconic Château de Vincennes. Relax on one of the park benches and soak up the tranquil atmosphere.
  • Immerse yourself in the Parc Floral de Paris: This botanical wonderland showcases a breathtaking array of flora from around the globe. Meander through themed gardens, each offering a unique sensory experience, from the serene tranquility of the Japanese Garden to the vibrant exuberance of the rose garden.
  • Discover the Jardin d’Acclimatation: This family-friendly amusement park offers a variety of rides, attractions, and shows, including a Ferris wheel, a carousel, a mini-golf course, and a petting zoo.
  • Take a stroll through the Sous-Bois Enchantés: This hidden gem is a tranquil oasis tucked away within the Bois de Vincennes. Wander through a labyrinth of winding paths lined with lush vegetation, discover hidden sculptures and fountains and find a quiet spot to relax and enjoy the serenity of the surroundings.

Is the Bois de Vincennes free to visit?

Yes, the Bois de Vincennes is free to enter and explore. However, there are some attractions within the park that do charge admission fees, such as the Château de Vincennes, the Parc Floral de Paris, and the Zoo de Vincennes.

Is Vincennes worth a visit?

Absolutely! Bois de Vincennes is a hidden gem of Paris, offering a welcome escape from the city’s bustling streets. Its vast expanse of greenery, coupled with its diverse attractions, makes it a perfect place to relax, explore, and immerse yourself in the beauty of nature.

Why is the Bois de Vincennes important?

Bois de Vincennes plays an important role in Parisian culture, serving as a beloved oasis for locals and visitors alike. It offers a space for recreation, cultural experiences, and quiet contemplation, contributing to the city’s vibrant and diverse tapestry.

What is Vincennes France known for?

Bois de Vincennes is best known for its rich history, expansive greenery, and diverse attractions. It is a popular destination for families, couples, and individuals seeking a peaceful retreat, an action-packed adventure, or a cultural immersion.

What is the hardest to pronounce in French?

Vincennes is actually a relatively easy word to pronounce in French. The most difficult French words to pronounce often involve combinations of consonants that are not typically found in English, such as “ch” and “ou”. Some examples of challenging French words include “oiseau” (bird), “cochon” (pig), and “chaussure” (shoe).

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