Constructed in Paris under commission of King Louis VII of France in 1170, Chateau de Vincennes was initially a basic castle, comprising of 6 primary defensive towers and “double” walls. It's current “Grand” appearance was renovated in the 13th Century. Gabled roofs were added to the defensive structures as was a massive (and tall) central Donjon (or Keep structure). Roughly 140 feet tall, this Donjon was at one time one of the tallest structures in The Medieval World. It features 3 Drawbridges. Vincennes was always in a state of “constant” renovation – incorporating each new fortification innovation was developed. The Castle saw 3 French Kings die within it's walls. English King Henry V died at Vincennes as well in 1422.
Vincennes once held an impressive collection of Medieval religious relics (including the purported Crown of Thorns – worn by Christ). It also featured an impressive Gothic-style Cathedral (famed for it's intricate stained glass art windows) Abandoned for Royal use in the 18th Century, Vincennes was a porcelain factory, a State Prison and a religious training facility. Revolutionary forces severely damaged Vincennes in 1791. Almost ruined, a Loyalist force under the famed Marquis de Lafayette stopped further damage. Later in Vincennes history, she served as an Armoury (once holding over 100,000 rifles and 152 cannon) and a military Hospital. The Chateau fell under Nazi occupation was used as a regional Army Headquarters. Currently it is a museum and center for The French Historical Society.