Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Vincennes - Home to Kings.

Wednesdays in France:
What can I say - Sorry but we've been in Tasmania and then an unplanned trip to the Gold Coast in Queensland to visit Jack, my father in hospital. Things are working out OK now and Jack is back with my sister now.

OK, back in the system now and Wednesdays in France continues with our 2010 trip celebrating my 60th birthday. It seems like awhile ago and in fact it was because in a week I'm 63. Wahooo!
Spending 2 weeks in Paris allowed for us to relax a little more and not have to rush things too much. I had the chance to ride my bike with my two friends who live in Paris. Leigh is an expat Melburnian and Michel is a true Parisian whom I met at the 2007 Masters Track Cycling World Championships in Sydney.

I'd previously ridden around the parklands of Vincennes where many Parisian cyclists go to do their training and both Leigh and Michel took me there passing by the historic buildings on the edge. After previous visits, we had never visited the castle grounds and so I was determine to have this on the agenda during our stay.

The stairway leading down to the dungeon
Just the place to warm yourself in a drafty old palace.
No spray cans but graffiti nevertheless
The Holy Chapel - not open due to renovations on this occasion

The parklands were the hunting forests of the Capetian monarchs of France in the 12 century. Today as you ride through the parklands you can imagine Royalty on their horses with hunting dogs in the name of sport. That is until you see the homeless amongst the forest in their small tent cities. One must wonder how they survived the harsh recent winter as it was still cold as we approached the northern hemisphere spring.
The castle grounds today contain the Keep, the Holy Chapel, and the classical pavilions which were built later during the 1600s. About 250 metres apart, these huge buildings were the separate abodes for the King and Queen. Sue said that we also needed such a situation where she could leave her shoes anywhere she felt and the same with me concerning my Cds and bike stuff.
As well as being overawed by the big picture, certain details took my interest. Graffiti is carved into the dungeons by the prisoners, including the Marquis de Sade, Diderot and Mirabeau. Later the prisoners were transferred to the Bastille.
In the mid 1600s King Louis spent time there before moving to Versailles. During the 1800s Napoleon used it as a military base.
The Classical Pavilions house statues in each archway. The male statues lost their genitalia during the revolution I believe.

Its difficult to stop taking photos in the surroundings of where the kings and queens of France lived their lives more than 800 years ago. I'm pleased in a way that on previous trips that I didn't decide to look through the grounds on those earlier training rides. It was a delight to share the experience with Sue.

With my Parisian friend Michel, Masters World Champion at the famous Cipale Velodrome on the edge of Vincennes
Our two week stay in Paris was drawing to an end. Its strange, you feel you want to stay longer and yet you are looking forward to home and familiar surroundings. We still had a couple of more "Must See" items before going home though.
One of those places follow next week. 
It's where we see the resting place of French royalty.

PS - Have a happy and safe Easter.


  1. So pleased to hear that your Dad is back with your sister and out of hospital. Good news.

    Great selection of photos here, I wonder why I used to hate history at school and now I enjoy it! Blogger must be better teachers than the one I had at school!!

    Have a good weekend and enjoy the Easter break. Take care D & N

    1. Diane,
      I was the same - Figure I've absorbed more history in one overseas trip than I ever did with school. I think the difference now is that we want to learn rather than Have To!

  2. Glad to hear that your Dad is still with you. Gives you more time to enjoy him.

    Enjoyed the photos and seeing parts of France I am never likely to visit. Helps me to get to know this land I now call home.

    1. Vera,
      You are quite welcome to continue to travel France with us every Wednesday.


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