From the brochure I got at the castle:
"The Capetian monarchs established a hunting lodge in the forest of Vincennes in the 12th century. ... John II initiated work on a keep nearby, which his son, Charles V completed circa 1370. ... During the troubled periods of the 16th and 17th centuries the monarchs took refuge behind the huge castle's walls. Further building work marked Louis XIV's sporadic presence before he finally settled in Versailles in 1682."
Here is the view of the entry of the Chateau. You see it almost immediately upon exiting the metro.
Tour du Village
After going through that gate, you walk a bit into a courtyard and come upon the original keep:
Le Donjon/The Keep
Across the courtyard from the Keep is the Sainte-Chapelle. It is modeled after the Church Sainte-Chapelle in Paris, near Notre Dame.
You can see this courtyard from the Keep. It (and the surrounding walls/buildings/arch) was built starting in 1654 at the request of first Mazarin and then Louis XIV. The King and Queen each had their own building on each side of the courtyard:
Les pavillons classiques
After my chateau tour (which included the cell that imprisoned the Marquis de Sade), I took a brief walk around the city of Vincennes. Check out the cool park they have leading up to the Hotel de Ville, in the background:
Hotel de Ville
At this point in my adventure, my entire day had been conducted in French. Absolutely no one had immediately taken me for an American and broken out into English. That was pretty cool. So after a lunch in this lovely park, I headed back to the apartment to do some light shopping and wait for the other voyageurs. They had their own chateau adventure.
After a sit down and some tennis-watching, we took a brief walk around the city, upon finding that the Musee de l'Orangerie was in fact NOT open late like the guidebook said. We ended up here:
Place du Vendome
There are some seriously pricey jewelry stores around this hotel, as well as the Hotel Ritz. Finally, on the way home to find some dinner, we tried yet another elevator photo:
We've just returned from some lovely dinner at Kadoya in Paris' Japantown. I think a good time was had by all.