Last Sunday I decided to visit Château de Vincennes, a 14th and 17th century castle that began as a hunting grounds. There wasn’t actually that much for me to see – I didn’t feel like going into the castle to visit at first, because the weather was nice and there were grass fields to sit in, and by the time I thought about seeing the insides of the castle (around 5PM), things were closing. I got to hang around the castle for a while though.
After I had had my fill of sitting outside the castle gates, I walked in and was struck by how empty the whole place was, in the sense that it wasn’t crowded with buildings but actually had a lot of open, empty space.
I’m not sure if it’s because the old buildings all got destroyed or if in olden times people just enjoyed being in nature more. Château de Vincennes began as a hunting lodge (much like Versailles), as it’s right next to Bois de Vincennes, which could explain a lot.
There was an old couple sitting on a bench and some other people just lying on the grass, chillin’. A very tranquil scene.
It was too bad that the chapel wasn’t open that day – something about renovation – because apparently at one point the chapel held a fragment of the true cross and a thorn from Christ’s crown of thorns. It’s also known for its stained glass.
Across from La Sainte-Chappelle was le Donjon (the keep), the only royal residence in France that still remains from the Middle ages and the tallest surviving keep in Europe, standing at 52 meters tall.
Unfortunately for me, I couldn’t get in because by the time I got there it was already past the time for the last visit. Would’ve been cool to see the place where Henry V died.
I continued through the castle grounds to the Bois de Vincennes side, and was greeted by an archway, lined with sculptures. I’m not sure what/who they were of, or even when they were built, because there were no labels, but I’m guessing they were probably built during the 1500s and 1600s.
And that’s it! Nothing spectacular, but it’s very humbling when you realize how old all of these things were, and how they managed to build it with middle-age technologies.