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Château de Vincennes

| History | Time line

11th century

1025-58 : First mention of a rural dwelling at Vincennes.
In 1037, Henry I grants the Saint-Maur Abbey user rights in his forest of Vincennes.
From 1075 to 1140, the sovereigns grant user rights to various Parisian abbeys in the forest of Vincennes.

Henri Ier

From 1137 to 1180

Reign of Louis VII

In 1158, a Grandmontine priory is created in the forest.
In 1162, Louis VII has part of the forest closed off.
In 1178, Louis VII executes a deed at Vincennes.
Louis VII

From 1180 to 1223

Reign of Philippe Auguste

From 1182 to 1190, the abbey of Montmartre followed by other Parisian abbeys
surrender their user rights of the forest to the King.
In 1183, Philippe Auguste builds a wall around part of the forest.
From 1190 to 1200, Philippe Auguste executes several deeds at Vincennes.
Philippe Auguste

From 1226 to 1270

Reign of Saint-Louis

In 1239, Louis IX receives the first part of the relics of the Passion at Vincennes, purchased from the Emperor of Constantinople.
In April 1248, inauguration of the Sainte-Chapelle of the Palais de la
Cité in Paris; creation of a Chapellenie by Louis IX in the
Chapelle Saint-Martin de Vincennes.
In June 1248, Louis IX leaves Vincennes for his first crusade.
In 1270, Louis IX leaves Vincennes for his second crusade.


From 1270 to 1350

1273-1276: Philippe III (1270-1285) extends the forest and
creates the Conciergerie de Saint-Mandé.
1296-1301: Philippe le Bel (1285-1314) commissions building work at Vincennes.
1336-1338: Philippe VI (1328-1350) commissions building work at Vincennes.
1338: Birth of the future King Charles V at Vincennes.
Philippe le Bel

From 1350 to 1364

Reign of John the Good

September 1356: John the Good (1350-1364), defeated at the battle of Poitiers, is made prisoner.
1357-1358: Parisians' revolt under the leadership of Etienne Marcel.
1360: Start of the conversion of the Hôtel Saint Pol by Regent Charles, later to become Charles V.
End of 1360: Peace Treaty with the English; Jean II the Good is freed;
start of the set-up of a comprehensive tax system.
In April 1361: Start of the construction of the donjon of Vincennes.
8 April 1364: Death of John the Good in London; he is succeeded by Charles V.
Jean II le Bon

From 1364 to 1380

Reign of Charles V

In 1364, probable start of the construction of the Châtelet of the donjon;
the pace of the building work intensified in 1365.
1365-1367: Restoration of the manor of Vincennes.
In 1367, the King set ups residence in the donjon with his coffers.
1369: Resumption of the war; completion of the donjon.
In 1369 starts a period of serious financial problems for the monarchy; completion of the Châtelet, enceinte of the donjon and buildings adjoining the wall.
1371: The monarchy's financial situation is restored.
1372: Victorious military campaigns in the mid-west.
1373: Start of the construction of the castle enceinte and bailey on the north side of the castle.
1373-1377: Purchase of plots of land to create the Parc de Beauté and
construction of the Manoir de Beauté.
1375: The war moves away from Paris.
In January 1378, visit of the Emperor Charles IV at Vincennes and the Manoir de Beauté.

1379: Sainte-Chapelle foundation charter at Vincennes.
1380: Completion of the construction of the château enceinte;
death of Charles V at the Manoir de Beauté.

Charles V

Executory order from Charles V - Click to enlarge
Executory order from Charles V to pay the wages of the guards of his 'chastel' of Vincennes - 9 August 1377. Coll. B.N.F.

From 1380 to 1422

Reign of Charles VI

1385: End of the construction of the bailey on the north side of the castle.
1392: Beginning of Charles VI's madness.
1393: First confirmation of work at the Sainte-Chapelle.
1396: Completion of the choir and sacristy of the Sainte-Chapelle; the king's coffers are definitively removed from the donjon.
1405-1410: Probable stop of work on the Sainte-Chapelle.
1407: Murder of Louis d'Orléans.
1418: The Bourguignons seize Paris and chase away the Armagnacs.
1420: Treaty of Troyes which gives the kingdom to Henry V (1413-1422).
1422: Henry V dies in the donjon of Vincennes.
Charles VI (g.) - Henry V (d.)

15th and 16th centuries

In 1436, the troops of Charles VII (1422-1461) seize Vincennes and Paris.
In 1520, resumption of work on the Sainte-Chapelle, which is inaugurated in 1552, under the reign of Henry II.

The Kings of France at the time of the Sainte-Chapelle
The Kings of France at the time of the Sainte-Chapelle - Click to enlarge

17th century

Reigns of Louis XIII and Louis XIV

In 1610, murder of Henry IV; Mary of Medicis seeks out safety at the Château of Vincennes, where her son Louis XIII (1610-1643) spends his youth.
From 1654 to 1661, Le Vau renovates the château where Louis XIV
(1643-1715) resides on a regular basis until 1671.
In 1667 the parish of Vincennes is created.
Louis XIV

18th century

The king and his court leave the château, which houses the budding Ecole Militaire (1753-1756), a porcelain workshop (1740-1756) and arms workshops as well as prisoners such as Mirabeau, the Marquis de Sade and Diderot.
1790: Events known as  the 'Affaire de Vincennes'.
1796: The Directoire transfers the Paris arsenal to Vincennes.

1790 : l'affaire de Vincennes - Click to enlarge
1790 : l'affaire de Vincennes.
Seeing that the prisons are overpopulated following the destruction of the Bastille, the National Assembly votes a decree which puts the donjon of Vincennes at the disposal of the city of Paris. Work starts and the rumour spreads of the construction of a new Bastille; hordes of workers from Faubourg Saint-Antoine march on Vincennes to destroy the donjon; the arrival of General Lafayette puts an end to the acts of vandalism.

19th and 20th centuries

1804 : Execution of the Duke of Enghien on 21 March.
1814: Daumesnil, governor of the Château since 1812, valiantly defends it against the allied troops.
1840: Adoption of a law for the fortification of Paris; Vincennes becomes a second-line fort to defend the capital. Construction of Fort-Neuf, East of the château in the years that followed.
1848: Imprisonment of Raspail in the donjon.
In 1936-1940, the castle becomes the headquarters of the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces.
From 1940 to 1944, German troops occupy the castle; they inflict considerable damage to the castle upon their departure on 24 August 1944.

1948: The Historical Service of the Army, soon to be followed by its counterparts from the Navy and Air Force, set up premises at the Château.
1988: Following the filing of the Lecat report, creation of the Inter-Ministerial Commission of the Château, which reinstates the restoration of the Château.
'General Daumesnil refusing to surrender Vincennes' (detail), oil on canvass by Gaston Mélingue, 1882.

Crédits et partenaires | ©Ville de Vincennes

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