Bois de Vincennes
The Bois de Vincennes is beloved as Paris’ largest green space, and it remains a popular urban retreat for harried Parisians. The park, which sprawls across 2,459 acres (995 hectares), is roughly three times the size of Central Park in New York and is home to a wide array of attractions. The Château de Vincennes hints at its regal past, while the Vincennes Hippodrome de Paris and the Vélodrome de Vincennes (also called La Cipale) both date to the 19th century. The Parc Floral de Paris is both a beautiful botanical garden and event venue, while the Parc Zoologique de Paris is the largest zoo in town. Other highlights include a Buddhist temple, the Ferme de Paris (a working farm), and INSEP (National Institute of Sport, Expertise, and Performance).
The Bois de Vincennes is free to all visitors and can easily be explored independently, though individual sites and events are ticketed. The Paris Pass includes entry to the Château de Vincennes.
Things to Know Before You Go
There are several restaurants in the Bois de Vincennes, including Le Plateau de Gravelle and Le Chalet des Iles Daumesnil.
Boat rentals are available at Lac Daumesnil for a small fee.
Many on-site attractions are ticketed, but the Ferme de Paris, only open on Saturdays and Sundays, is free to enter.
How to Get There
Bois de Vincennes is part of the 12th arrondissement and is located just across the ring road (Périphérique) from the city center. Take Métro line 8 to the Porte Dorée station, located at the park’s western edge. You can also take the RER A and B to Vincennes or Métro line 1 to Château de Vincennes, both of which stop adjacent to the fortress. The Bois de Vincennes is largely closed to cars, but it is crisscrossed by miles of biking and walking trails.
When to Get There
Bois de Vincennes is free to enter and is open throughout the year; it’s at its busiest during warm, sunny days and during festivals and other events. The venues within all have varied opening hours, so it’s worth researching in advance if there are particular attractions you’re looking to visit.
Popular Events in Bois de Vincennes
Bois de Vincennes is host to several high-profile, annual festivals, most of which are held in the Parc Floral de Paris. The Paris Jazz Festival, held in June and July, is a major highlight, as is the Classique au Vert, a classical music festival held in August and September. We Love Green, a contemporary music event with an eco twist, is held in the park in June.
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