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Parisian woodlands- Bois de Boulogne & Bois de Vincennes

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Situated on either sides of Paris- Bois de Boulogne in the South-West and Bois de Vincennes to the North-East borders of the city, these two enormous woodlands offer the much needed fresh air and a natural landscape to dot Paris.



Both the areas were a conglomeration of forests and used as hunting grounds by French royalty over centuries.Today, they are used by Parisians as a retreat to the nature and for various leisure activities. 

Le Bois de Boulogne

The woods of Bolougne were the ancient hunting grounds for the kings of France from as far back as the King Dagobert (629-639) when it used to be an enormous forest comprising the forest of Montmorency, forest of Saint-Germain-en-Laye and the woods of Chaville and Meudon. King Philippe le Bel (1268-1314) created a small chapel here after his pilgrimage to Boulogne-sur-Mer. That's what gave it the name of woods of Boulogne. King Francis I built the Château de Madrid here in 1526. 

Spread over more than 840 hectares, the bois de Bolougne retains some of its historical heritage to this date. Discover its various sites by following signs indicating the Grande Cascade (big waterfall), l'étang réservoir (the reservoir lake), L'abbaye & Château de Longchamp, les berges de la Seine et le Moulin, Château de Bagatelle, l'hippodrome de Longchamp (horse-race course of Longchamp), Jardin d'Acclimatation (Acclimatation garden), la porte de Bolougne et les pavillons Davioud, Pré-Catelan (Catelan garden), Armenonville, Mortemart, Lac Supérieur et lac inférieur (upper and lower lakes), Mare Saint-James (marsh Saint-James), La Muette etc.There is 28 km of pedestrian way and 15 km for cycles to discover.

Bois de Boulogne is an important place to observe the natural flora and fauna of Ile-de-France. There are playing spaces for children, bikes on rent at the entrance of Jardin d'Acclimatation and at lac Inférieur (the lower lake), fishing at lac inférieur (after authorisation from l'APNLE), boating, clubs, 10 restaurants, 8 kiosks, guided visits etc.

Jardin d'Acclimatation, situated on the northern side of the woods, is a children's amusement park spread over 20 hectares. It has a narrow-gauge train, pony rides, puppet theater, miniature road system for children, an art museum for children etc.

Entrance/ Tariff

Entrance to the park is free. Pony rides, rented bikes, boating etc are charged.

Address & contact details

Bois de Boulogne, 75016 Paris
Info hotline Paris: 3975 

How to reach

Bois de Boulogne
Metro: Porte Dauphine-Marechal de Lattre de Tassigny (Line 2)/ Rue de la pompe-Avenue Georges Mandel (Line 9)/ Porte d'Auteuil (Line 10)/ Les Sablons or Porte Maillot (Line 1)
Bus: 241, 244, PC1
RER C: Avenue Foch/ Avenue Henry Martin/ Boulainvilliers/ Neuilly-Porte Maillot


des arbres


Le Bois de Vincennes

As with the Boulogne woods, the woods of Vincennes were the hunting grounds for French royalty from 11th century. Several kings from Louis VII to Philippe-Auguste made and remade their hunting lodges and castles here. By the time of Louis XIV, the French capital was at Versailles, as a result of which the importance of this place diminished a little. But Louis XV launched a fervent reforestation drive making it once again a favourite place for walks among the woods. It was made into a public park by Napoleon in 1860. The woods have seen the French revolution and the world wars as well which left it somewhat neglected over a period of time. The city of Paris has restored it since to its present day.

Spread over more than 900 hectares, some of the sites of interest within the woods are Jardin d'agronomie tropicale René Dumont, Buddhist Temple, Parc Floral de Paris (flower park of Paris), Théâtres de la cartoucherie among others. For children, there is 'Jardin des papillons' (butterfly garden) in Parc Floral de Paris, the ornithologic reserve, théâtres des marionettes (puppet theater) and the Ferme Georges-Ville (Farm of Paris) to spend hours at.

There are as many as 6 restaurants in the woods and 7 kiosks for snacks, in addition to walking, cycling and roller skate tracks, bikes/ small boats/ canoes/ sun-decks on rent, pony rides, guided visits, puppet theater, merry-go-round etc.

Entrance/ Tariff

Entrance to the park is free. Pony rides, rented bikes, boating etc are charged.

For Boating at Lac des Minimes (Lake of Minimes)

Rent for small boat or canoe: 10.80€/ hour (1-2 person/s), 11.80 €/hour (3-4 persons). Security Deposit : 10 €
Open from March till November end, Wednesdays and Saturdays from 01:30 PM and on Sundays from 11:00 AM. Open everyday during school vacations. Seasonal closing.

Boating at Lac Daumesnil (Lake Daumesnil)

Rent for small boat: 10.80€ / hour (1-2 person/s), 11.80 €/hour (3-4 persons). Security Deposit : 10 €.
Open everyday from 09:30 AM- 08:00 PM (last boat rented at 07:00 PM)
Further information from +33 (0) 1 43 8 19 20

Address & contact details

Bois de Vincennes, 75012 Paris
Info hotline Paris: 3975 

How to reach

Metro: Porte-Dorée/ Charenton-Ecoles/ Libertés (Line 8)/ Château de Vincennes/ Saint Mandé-Tourelles/ Bérault (Line 1)
RER A: Fontenay-sous-bois/ Vincennes/ Nogent-sur-Marne/ Joinville-le-Pont
Bus: 46, 112, 114, 325


Editor's note:

Paris Municipality website (French) has further information on both these parks including maps dotted with easy to follow pedestrian itinerary useful for locating tourist or historical landmarks. Click on these links to Paris official website to download the maps in PDF format for Bois de Boulogne and for Bois de Vincennes

Photos non binding. For illustration purpose only.