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Chateau de Vincennes

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Chateau de Vincennes


The largest medieval castle

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Why you will love it?

The Chateau de Vincennes is the largest royal medieval fortress still standing in France, with characteristic towers, moats, a dungeon and a gothic chapel. A perfect opportunity to visit a medieval royal fortress and get a glimpse of life in the 14th century. And this just only a stone’s throw away from Paris.

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About this place

Avenue de Paris, 94300 Vincennes
Line 1 - Château de Vincennes

Monday : 10:00 am - 17:00 pm
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Monday : 10:00 am - 17:00 pm Tuesday : 10:00 am - 17:00 pm Wednesday : 10:00 am - 17:00 pm Thursday : 10:00 am - 17:00 pm Friday : 10:00 am - 17:00 pm Saturday : 10:00 am - 17:00 pm Sunday : 10:00 am - 17:00 pm
1 January 1 May 1 November 11 November 25 December

Our Insiders' Article

Chateau de Vincennes

The sight of the Chateau de Vincennes is impressive. Massive moats and drawbridges, high towers and thick stone walls, a dungeon and a chapelAlthough many royal medieval castles still stand in France, the Chateau de Vincennes is the largest of them all, and it is located only 8km to the east of Paris’ city center, in the town of Vincennes. Most of the castle is now used for administrative purposes, and only the dungeon and the chapel can be visited.

Making the Most of it

The terminal station of Metro Line 1, Chateau de Vincennes, brings you directly to the foot of the building. Once you enter the castle, walking over the large moat using the drawbridge, walk straight towards the clearly marked ticket booth located in the center of the castle grounds. The dungeon and Chapel are a bit further away.

There is no best season or time to visit the Chateau de Vincennes, but if you don’t like the cold, don’t come in winter as this old castle is not equipped with heaters.


With a height of 50m (164ft), the dungeon of the Chateau de Vincennes is the tallest dungeon in Europe, and is the only remaining medieval royal residence still standing in France. Only the king’s living quarters and the castle’s kitchen are open to the public.

Facing the dungeon is Sainte-Chapelle de Vincennes, a flamboyant gothic chapel inspired by the Sainte Chapelle in Paris. Inside, you can see the original medieval bell that once hung in the dungeon.

The rooms of the dungeon and the chapel are empty. Don’t expect to see any furniture.


Here are some curiosities worth mentioning about the Chateau de Vincennes:

  • The only central pillar supporting the whole tower!
  • The Medieval latrines on each floor, very rare back then
  • The King’s bedroom, library, treasure room, music room and huge chimney on the second floor,
  • Graffiti from prisoners dating back to 1789
  • The massive wooden doors in front of the castles well were those of Queen Marie Antoinette’s prison cell at the Prison du Temple (the doors were moved here when the prison was brought down in 1808).


The simple hunting lodge set up by King Louis in 1150 slowly grew to become a secondary royal residence for the French kings. In 1337, king Philippe VI decided to fortify the area and build the dungeon, and his successor, King Charles V, used the Chateau de Vincennes as his primary residence, installing the royal court and administration within the castle walls in 1371.

When the Chateau de Vincennes was abandoned by the kings of France, the dungeon became a prison. Among them were philosophers Diderot and Voltaire, author Marquis de Sade imprisoned for his erotic novels, and politicians Nicolas Fouquet and Mirabeau


If you are planning to spend a nice sunny day in the Bois de Vincennes, the biggest park in Paris, it would be a shame not to spend 1 hour to discover the dungeon and chapel of the Chateau de Vincennes, for its curiosities and historical interests. Start by visiting the castle before walking through the Parc Floral and end up at the recently re-opened Paris Zoo

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