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Château de Vincennes





Location: Vincennes, Val-de-Marne   Map

Constructed: 1340-1410

Official site




History of Château de Vincennes

Château de Vincennes is a royal palace located in Vincennes, Val-de-Marne in France. It originally started as a modest hunting lodge for French king Louis VII in the middle of the 12th century. Surrounding area was covered by forests, but in 1337- 1410 a new bigger Vincennes Castle was erected to defend the borders of the French kingdom. It was also about this time when Philip VI of France added donjon tower that dominates these military fortifications. At a height of 52 meters it was the tallest medieval fortified structure in Europe. In the 17th century the fortress underwent a reconstruction that turned it more into a royal palace rather than a military fortress. Many royal weddings were held on its grounds, several kings were born. But it became particularly famous as a site of execution of Duke of Enghien in 1804. One of the young Bourbons he was abducted by the troops of Napoleon Bonaparte, brought here and finally executed. During World War II the castle was briefly held by the French army for its headquarters. After the defeat German turned it into their military base. Although it is hard to tell how many people were executed within its walls at least 40 hostages were killed by the German soldiers here. Today Vincennes Castle is open to the public.


Château de Vincennes is most famous for setting of execution of Louis Antoine Henri de Bourbon, Duke of Enghien on 21 March 1804 on the orders of the First Consul of the French Republic Napoleon Bonaparte. French dragoon managed to cross the Rhine into Ettenheim in Baden and arrested the duke. Trumped up charges of counter revolutionary activities, illegal border crossing and swift execution shocked the continent. Willow on the painting is a spot at the entrance to the castle where execution actually took place.








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