Château de Vincennes

History

Today, the Château de Vincennes consists of a chapel (Sainte-Chapelle de Vincennes), two towers, and a 14th century keep.The Château de Vincennes was originally used in Feudal France as a royal residence French monarchy during medieval times until King Louis the16th eventually moved the monarchy’s residence to Versailles. 

During the Hundreds Years’ War (1337-1453), during the reign of Charles the 5th (Charles the Wise), the castle stood as a fortress that protected the capital and the royal family. Under Napoleon in the 18th century, it once again served as a fortress that protected Paris against outside threats. From the 16th to the 19th centuries, it served as a prison to many, including the infamous French writer Du Marquis De Sade. After World War Two, the structures were restored after withstanding significant damage. Today, the monuments serve as both a tourist attraction and a host of French historical armed forces services.

Artistic and Architectural Features

When visiting the Château de Vincennes, a visitor will discover both the castle/fortress/prison itself – along with an additional building that served as a chapel. 

The castle has interesting remnants of intricate paintings that long-ago lined the walls. Inside the former prison cell walls, old writing from former prisoners eerily remains – a few centuries later.

When visiting the Château de Vincennes, a visitor will discover both the castle/fortress/prison itself – along with an additional building that served as a chapel. 

The castle has interesting remnants of intricate paintings that long-ago lined the walls. Inside the former prison cell walls, old writing from former prisoners eerily remains – a few centuries later. 

Key Terms:

  • Château – French word for a feudal castle or a structure built for defense (fortress).
  • Moat – A deep trench around a castle that is usually full of water. 
  • Arrow Slit – An arrow slit is a vertical slit in a fortress, where an archer can launch arrows. 
  • Quoin – In French, quoin literally means “corner”. Usually decorative, a quoin can be found on an exterior or in an interior of a building (usually on the exterior). 
  • Turret – A turret is a small tower that is connected to a larger tower or a castle.
  • Charles the Wise – French king from 1364 to 1380.

Some of the more interesting architectural features of the castle include areas resembling where moats may have once stood, gargoyle-like animal structures in the quoins inside of the castle, and small turrets on the roof of both the castle and the chapel. Interestingly, small arrow-slits can be seen throughout the ‘king’s hallway’ within the castle, where real archers may have shot arrows several centuries ago! The chapel itself is a beautiful, Gothic style royal chapel that is intricately adorned with very large stained-glass windows. Many of the windows display Biblical scenes of Revelations, as well as Henry the Second himself, kneeling in prayer.

French chapel 7

You will need:

  • Paper plate
  • Scissors 
  • Sticky back plastic
  • Colored tissue paper 
  • Paper or markers to decorate the frame 
  • Any stickers or other decorative items to decorate the frame

To decorate:

  1. Take a paper plate and fold in half.
  2. Cut out the middle to make a wreath shape.
  3. Place the sticky plastic on the back of the paper plate. 
  4. Decorate! Put small pieces of tissue paper on the sticky side of the wreath. Decorate the frame.

Works Cited:

  • Bureau, Paris Convention and Visitors. “Château De Vincennes – Paris Tourist Office.” En.parisinfo.com, https://en.parisinfo.com/paris-museum-monument/71070/Chateau-de-Vincennes. 
  • “Charles V.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., https://www.britannica.com/biography/Charles-V-king-of-France. 
  • “Chateau of Vincennes – 2021 All You Need to Know Before You Go (with Photos).” Tripadvisor, https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g790302-d194189-Reviews-Chateau_of_Vincennes-Vincennes_Val_de_Marne_Ile_de_France.html. 
  • “Château De Vincennes.” Centre Des Monuments Nationaux, https://www.chateau-de-vincennes.fr/en. 
  • Craven, Jackie. “Quoins in the Corners – a Common Architectural Detail.” ThoughtCo, ThoughtCo, 9 Apr. 2020, https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-a-quoin-177497. 
  • “Sainte-Chapelle De Vincennes.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 21 Nov. 2021, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sainte-Chapelle_de_Vincennes.