Chateau de Vincennes and its park (Paris)

By: Tatyana Kogut.
Bois de Vincennes is one of the favourite places the Parisians like to spend their time at. The park is located south-west from the centre of the city and boasts its branchy trees. Besides, there are three lakes, one with a boating station where visitors can rent a boat and make a small voyage on the lake. Many come to the park for a picnic and spend most of their time lying on the green grass and chatting. There are also a Four Seasons park, a zoo, a Buddhist centre and a summer attraction park found at Bois de Vincennes. At about 1150 king Louis VII bought the forest and built a hunting lodge here. Next king built a bigger manor, then there was a small temple erected... this way each monarch added something new that suited his tastes and ambitions most: defensive constructions, rooms, living and non-residential premises etc. It was a royal residence and a royal prison, a fortress and military barracks. It was the symbol of oppression and power. Much of the work to enlarge the castle was done during the 14th century.

One of the things that was added to the castle at the time was its well-known donjon, remarkable for its looks, size and history. The structure is the largest among the Medieval European donjons. Construction of the donjon started in 1340 by Philippe VI, the first of Valois, then continued by his son, and finished by his grandson Charles V Le Sage. The castle became the residence for the royal family of Valois, just like Versailles was the residence for the Bourbon dynasty. Starting from the 16th century, during religious wars between the Catholics and the Protestants, this small country castle, which by the time had turned into a huge well-reinforced stronghold, served as a shelter for the nobility, most of whom, however, preferred Castles of the Loire. In the 17th century royalties lost their interest in Vincennes as a country residence, but, to make some use of it, they turned Château de Vincennes into a state prison. Many famous people were imprisoned in it. Marie de' Medici started construction of the new classic-style pavilion and settled there with her son, future king Louis XIII, during her regency. In the end of the 17th century there was the Queen's pavilion added to the construction and this way the whole architectural ensemble got two wings (the king's and the queen's). The beginning of the 18th century brought another change in the castle's specialization, and for the next 20 years it served as a royal porcelain manufacture. Then the king wanted to sell it but those who lived and worked there strongly opposed to this decision and the castle stayed a symbol of royal powers, which was then, during the revolution, distorted into the royal tyrany. During the times of the Napoleon its main function was to defend, and the castle turned into a fortress. After this time of great battles and glorious victories there were barracks founded thereComputer Technology Articles, for some time the castle also served as military headquarters. Napoleon III turned the Bois de Vincennes and its château into a public park.

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