The site of a 14th-century fortified chateau, the Chateau de Vincennes, the Bois offers seemingly endless space to stroll, picnic, boat, and unwind. Even though the wood is located at the city's borders, a day at the Bois de Vincennes is enough of a getaway to count as a day trip from Paris.
Location: Main entrance at Avenue de Paris, Vincennes (just east of Paris' 12th arrondissement)
Metro: Chateau de Vincennes, Porte Doree, Porte de Charenton (Line 1, 8, 12)
Bus: Line 46, 56
- The man-made Daumesnil lake at the wood's west end features two islands (including one with a cafe atop it) and is a fantastic place to take out a boat and picnic. An artificial grotto adds to the romantic, if caricatural, effect.
- Also on the west side, the Bois de Vincennes Buddhist Center (open spring-summer only) features an imposing Buddha statue and an impressive colonial-era wood pavilion.
- At the sprawling park's east end, the Parc Floral features hundreds of varieties of flowers and botanical plants, including camellias, rhododendrons, dahlias and irises. Contemporary statues contribute to the park's contemporary appeal. In the spring and summer, jazz concerts and plays are performed on the park's central stage. A small entry fee is charged at the Parc Floral. For more information, see this page.
- Also in the east, the Lac des Minimes is another poetic lake which once housed a convent. Today, a bridge leads to an island on the lake, where a restaurant provides scenic dining.