VINCENNES, a town of France, in the department of Seine, 4 miles east of Paris, with which it is connected by a railway and two tramways. The castle, formerly a royal residence, was begun by Louis VII. in 1164, and rebuilt by Philip Augustus, Philip of Valois, and Charles V. Catherine de' Medici added two pavilions, finished in 1614, which Louis XIV. connected by two covered galleries, one of which has been destroyed and the other hidden by casemates. Napoleon altered the castle into a vast magazine of war materials. Louis XVIII. added an armoury ; and under Louis Philippe numerous casemates and a new fort on the east side were constructed. The population of Vincennes, 20,530 in 1881, was 22,237 in 1886.
The old castle is a rectangle of 1253 feet by 735. The enclosing wall was originally flanked by nine towers, which were cut down to its level between 1808 and 1811, and now serve as bastions, Vincennes is at once a barracks, a fortress, an arsenal, and a school of artillery, and is the scene of most new artillery experiments in France. The donjon is a square tower 170 feet high, with walls 10 feet thick.
The chapel, begun by Charles V. in 1379, continued by Charles VI. and Francis I., and finished by Henry II. in 1552, has been recently restored. In the sacristy is the monument erected in 1816 to the• memory of the duke of Enghien, who was shot in the castle moat in 1804. Vincennes possesses a military hospital with 642 beds, and a statue of General Damnesnil, erected in 1873. The wood of Vincennes contains various military establishments, an experimental farm, and the redoubts of Gravelle and La Faisanderie. In the latter is the normal school of military gymnastics. The wood, which now belongs to Paris, was laid out during the second empire in imitation of the Bois de Boulogne. In the Lake of Gravelle the waters of the Marne are collected hi a reservoir, holding upwards of 700.000 cubic feet. The Name flows 130 feet below. On the south border of the wood near Charenton is the asylum of Vincennes (500 beds), founded in 1855 for the benefit of convalescents from the hospitals.