A short distance outside Paris, towards the North East, you’ll find the village of Vincennes. From the center of Paris, it is at the end of the Metro Line 1. To call Vincennes a village, is like saying London is a “town”. Vincennes is currently a bedroom community of that great metropolis that is Paris.
Vincennes started in the 11th Century as a hunting retreat of the great and famous of the French nobility, and eventually becoming the retreat of the great King Louis XIV, the Sun King! Here was young King Louis kept by his mother to shelter him from the intrigues of Paris and the possibility that he would not reach his maturity and take possession of his realm.
The Chateau created at Vincennes by the kings of France is truly magnificent. It contains one of the oldest and tallest keeps in Europe still in use.
A visitor to Paris can do well to reserve a room in the “village”, and stroll the wide avenues and many small streets to get a flavor of the French way of life. The metro station is a short distance from the center of town, and its neighborhoods of working middle class citizens provide for security and every amenity necessary for a protracted stay in the Paris metropolitan area.
Crossing the street from the “village tower” entrance to the Chateau, is the restaurant “Le Drapau”. Here you can find genuine French cuisine at reasonable prices. The service is great, and the food excellent. Nearby you can also sample good French cooking at several other restaurants, including one across the street from the entrance to the Metro sporting a likeness of Monsieur Anton Ego, from the movie Ratatouille.
Several days each week the “village” hosts street markets along its main boulevard. You will find almost anything your heart desires at these sidewalk tents, from fruits and vegetables to shoes and music cd’s.
If a trip to Paris is in your future, this “village” is worth exploring for the possibility of finding a reasonably priced hotel room within easy access to the sights and sounds of Paris.