Located to the east of Paris, these two communes are part of the Val de Marne department (94) in Ile de France

As many people say, it’s eastern Paris’ answer to Neuilly Sur Seine.

The wood, the beautiful old buildings and the mixture of a population that is dynamic on the one hand and ageing on the other reminds us of this town of 92.

Attached to the 12th arrondissement of Paris, they have direct access to Lac de Daumesnil and Bois de Vincennes, which makes these 2 residential communes very popular with families with young children.

Rather well served by metro line 1 and the RER A, you can be in the centre of Paris in 20 minutes.

As you can see, here you’ll live in a relaxing and green atmosphere while still being in the city. This can be compared with the districts of Belsize Park and Chiswick in London.

I’m now going describe each town separately so you can imagine yourself there!

  • Saint-Mandé :

This is a small residential town with beautiful old buildings and houses (mansions/manor houses) bordered by Lac de Daumesnil and Saint-Mandé then Bois de Vincennes to the south/south-east, Porte Dorée and Porte de Vincennes to the west and Vincennes to the east.

You’ll love exploring the woods by bike, paddling on the lake, visiting Vincennes Zoo (refurbished in 2014) and discovering the beautiful houses that line the woods.

It’s a quiet and secure area with many public and private schools including a secondary school and a high school.

In the town, the main street is Avenue du Général De Gaulles where there’s a large selection of restaurants, bakeries and local shops with fresh produce such as a butcher, a deli, a cheese maker, a greengrocer’s, etc. There’s everything you’ll need for everyday life. Thanks to the few fashion stores present, there are even some places to go shopping.

There are also many historic monuments, such as Eglise Notre-Dame, which was built in the 19th century, as well as Begin Hospital, a 16th century half-timbered guard house and the North and South cemeteries hosting many famous headstones.

To access the town, you take metro line 1 at Saint-Mandé or Bérault station or line 8 at Porte Dorée station. There are also many buses to take you to the centre of Paris day and night.

There are two markets in the town, the main one, that of La Tourelle, at the Saint-Mandé metro station on Thursdays and Sundays, and the second, the Alouette market, near the church Place de la Libération on Tuesdays and Fridays.

So if you’re looking for a town on the edge of Paris where you can relax when you come home from work and have fun at weekends after spending your week on public transport or in traffic jams, this place is made for you!

  • Vincennes :

The commune of Vincennes is larger than that of Saint-Mandé. It’s densely populated and full of activities of all kinds.

It has a rich historical and cultural heritage that fascinates both locals and tourists.

Walks are organised in the town for discovering these historic sites and buildings that make it a town like no other.

The unmissable monument is the Château de Vincennes, which is the local reference when people are looking for accommodation in the area. Having a view overlooking this magnificent Château from home is a dream for everyone.

It’s a lively and residential town with many shops, beautiful old buildings and mansions.

Because of its many public and private schools, the town is now home to lots of young executives looking for a peaceful and safe town for their families.

Vincennes is divided into 7 districts, all of them with a well defined identity and a different dynamic.

  • Saint Louis :

Its name comes from Eglise Saint-Louis, which was built at the start of the 20th century and is to be found there. It was listed as a historic monument just before the turn of the last century.

This district is very residential with magnificent old buildings and more recent quality buildings.

It’s the closest to Porte de Paris.

  • Vignerons :

It is located between the Château de Vincennes and the woods. It is the most sought-after district in the town and the most expensive, which forms a square because of its delimitation.

It is therefore known as the “magic square” thanks to the quality of the buildings that are there, whether old or recent, as well as the mansions that make up the area.

  • République :

This district is crossed by a large part of Avenue de la République, which is one of the main streets of the town after Avenue de Paris, hence its name.

It’s the closest to the RER and the metro.

Like the district of Saint-Louis, this is a mainly residential district.

  • Sorano :

It is a residential and peaceful district further to the north of the town.

It is much less crowded than the other districts and a bit further from public transport links. Like most districts, it consists of old and new buildings and small detached houses of quality.

  • Centre Ville :

This district is right in the heart of the town with its magnificent Town Hall and quality shops.

It’s a vibrant and lively district where young people like to settle.

There’s a theatre, a cinema, an auditorium, etc.

Many boutiques for shopping are clustered in this area, as well as numerous restaurants.

  • Domaine du Bois :

It is a district mainly composed of public housing. It lies to the east of the town near the town of Fontenay-sous-Bois.

A local development plan was implemented in this area in the 2000s to build many residential complexes, offices and some town houses.

  • Diderot :

It’s a working-class district with a lot of social housing that is quite far from the town centre and public transport links.

It lies to the north-east of the town and is near the town of Fontenay-sous-Bois.

It’s the least sought after and the least attractive area of the town.

There are 3 different markets in this town, the first is that of Rue de Fontenay on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday mornings; the second is the Place Diderot market on Wednesday and Saturday mornings; and the third is that of Avenue Carnot on Saturday mornings.

To get to Vincennes, you have the RER A line that stops at Vincennes station, as well as metro line 1 that terminates at the Château de Vincennes. Many buses go to the centre of Paris from the town, be it day or night.

Now you’ve got to make a choice and come and discover these two towns that will surprise many people!

Our favourite places to go and activities:

Here are some of our favourite things to do in the area:

  • Vincennes Zoo : After its long renovation that ended in 2014, the Zoo is now ready to welcome you to its beautiful enclosure.
  • Lac de Daumesnil : At Porte Dorée, Lac de Daumesnil is waiting for you to come and enjoy a pedal boat or boat ride, or even to see the swans and ducks that live there.
  • Bois de Vincennes : With its hectares of land, you can cycle around here for hours. You can make several stops, starting with the Paris Floral Park, then the Paris-Vincennes racecourse, the Pagoda of Vincennes, the farm of Paris and finish at the different little theatres that can be found there.
  • The Château de Vincennes and Sainte-Chapelle de Vincennes : This is not to be missed. There are also several festivals held throughout the year to go and see.
  • The Palace of the Golden Gate : With its magnificent Aquarium and its exhibition on immigration. It is attached to Saint-Mandé in front of the entrance to Lac de Daumesnil.
  • La Tourelle : At the exit of Saint-Mandé metro station, this bar/restaurant is in a perfect spot for enjoying a nice coffee on its sunny terrace.
  • Au Bol de Riz : A Chinese restaurant on Avenue de Paris in Saint-Mandé where the staff are friendly and helpful.
  • Chez Antoine : A recently-opened pizzeria with a green style that makes very good pizzas at reasonable prices in Vincennes by going towards the entrance of the RER.
  • UBUD : A tasteful Indonesian restaurant that has been very popular in Vincennes recently.
  • Le Tamarin : A quality Thai restaurant right next to the château that will give you some great taste experiences.
  • Aux Merveilleux de Fred : This pâtisserie located in the town centre makes delicious Merveilleux with different flavours, but we’re particularly fond of the hot brioches that are sold all day long, to the great delight of young and old alike.