The town of Vincennes

The City Hall (Hôtel de Ville) of Vincennes was designed by an architect named Eugène Calinaud and was inaugurated in October 1891. It was enlarged in the 1930s and was inscribed as a French Historical Monument in 1999.

Vincennes City Hall

Here’s a closer view of the Vincennes City Hall, from the Place du Général Leclerc. General Leclerc, whose real name was Philippe François Marie de Hauteclocque, was a graduate of the French Military Academy in Saint-Cyr. He was a French general during the Second World War with the Free French under General de Gaulle.

Location, aerial view and photo of the Vincennes City Hall on

Rue du Midi, Vincennes

The Rue du Midi could be translated “Street of Noon” or “Street of the South”, but I don’t know which one they meant. Maybe both. It’s a pleasant place to walk, in any case, without much car traffic.

Rue Villebois-Mareuil in the Central District of Vincennes

From the photo you can see that an inordinate amount of public space on this street is taken up by parked cars. To me it looks more like a repository for superfluous vehicles rather than a neighborhood for people.

A sign at the beginning of the Rue Villebois-Mareuil says that the Central District was laid out in the early 20th century. “Tall luxury apartment buildings with richly ornamented facades and charming detached houses replaced the large properties with gardens, pools and aviaries which had survived the building of the railway.”

The railway in question was the line from Paris-Bastille to Marles-en-Brie, sometimes known as the “Line of the Bastille”, the “Line of Vincennes” or “Line V”. This line was inaugurated in 1859 and was used for over a century before being replaced by the RER A line. The Paris-Bastille terminal was demolished in 1984 to make room for the Opéra Bastille. Most of the old railway line in Paris has been transformed into a “green corridor” now called the Coulée Verte René-Dumont, formerly known as the Promenade Plantée.

Avenue de Paris, Vincennes

The car-clogged street in front of Vincennes Castle is called Avenue de Paris. If you look east up the Avenue de Paris you can see the Eiffel Tower off in the distance, about 12 km away.

Waiting for the Métro train to Vincennes

Unless you go by bicycle, the cheapest and easiest way to get to the Vincennes Castle is to take the Métro line number 1 to its easternmost station, which is right in front of the castle entrance and is called “Château de Vincennes”. You can use a normal Paris “t+” Métro ticket for this. Line number 1 is now a fully automatic line with glass walls separating the tracks from the platforms.

Sign outside the Métro station Château de Vincennes

When you come up out of the Métro station you see this sign encouraging you to visit the castle but also some of the other points of interest in Vincennes.

Vincennes station of the RER A line

Vincennes also has a station on the RER A line, but this is rarely used by tourists because it is several blocks away from the castle and also slightly more expensive than the Métro. To get here from Paris you would need a point-to-point ticket (Billet Origine-Destination) costing € 2.75. The initials RER stand for Réseau Express Régional (Regional Express Network). There are five RER lines, designated A through E, which run in tunnels through Paris and then mainly on surface tracks far out into the suburbs. The RER A line is one of the world’s busiest railway lines (outside of East Asia), so it’s best to avoid the morning and evening rush hours if possible.

My photos in this post are from 2015. I revised the text in 2018.

See also: Château de Vincennes.


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