Bois de Vincennes

By annesophie | March 4, 2011 | Filed under: Gardens

Boats on lake in Bois de Vincennes (photo:

The Bois de Vincennes is a park in the English landscape manner to the east of Paris. The park is named after the nearby town of Vincennes.

The Bois de Vincennes, like the Bois de Boulogne, is often not thought to be part of Paris proper, as it consists only of unpopulated public land. However, for administrative purposes, it is part of the 12th arrondissement of Paris.

It has an area of 9.947 km² (3.841 sq. miles, or 2,458 acres), which is almost three times larger than Central Park in New York, and four times larger than Hyde Park in London.


Originally a hunting preserve for the kings of France, it became a military exercise area after the French revolution. It was made into a public park by Napoleon III in 1860.

At the 1900 Summer Olympics, the archery events took place here.[1]

The Bois de Vincennes was officially annexed by the city of Paris in 1929 and was incorporated into the 12th arrondissement.


Bois de Vincennes

Bois de Vincennes

At the north end of the Bois de Vincennes stands the Château de Vincennes, which used to be a favorite second home for many 14th century kings. Now in renovation, it is still open to the public. In the southwest of the park stands the Redoute de Gravelle, a military redoubt constructed under the reign of Louis-Philippe in the 19th century.

The Bois de Vincennes is home to several sports venues. In the eastern part lies a hippodrome specialising in trotting races. There is also avelodrome, and the French national institute of sports and physical education.

In the west is a 14.5ha zoo, permanently established in 1934 in place of a smaller, temporary zoo constructed for the 1931 Exposition coloniale internationale. The zoo breeds Asian elephants, and its most notable feature is a 65m high monolith, home to a herd of mouflons.

The Arboretum de l’École du Breuil, in the park’s southeast corner, is a municipal arboretum established on this location in 1936.


The Bois de Vincennes is home to four lakes, fed from the Marne River:

  • Lac Daumesnil, in the west, with a surface area of 12ha, containing two islands
  • Lac des Minimes, in the north-east, with a surface area of 6ha and three islands
  • Lac de Saint-Mandé, in the northwest
  • Lac de Gravelle, in the southwest, with a surface area of 1ha

Suggested Hotel

Hotel de la Porte Dorée -

Tags: 12th, bois de vincennes, facts, garden, historical, park, walk

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