In the southeastern corner of Paris, Bois de Vincennes encompasses some 995 hectares. Originally royal hunting grounds, the woodland was annexed by the army following the Revolution and then donated to the city in 1860 by Napoléon III. A fabulous place to escape the endless stretches of Parisian concrete, Bois de Vincennes also contains a handful of notable sights, including a bona fide royal chateau, Château de Vincennes, with massive fortifications and a moat.
Paris' largest, state-of-the-art zoo, the Parc Zoologique de Paris, is also here, as is the magnificent botanical park Parc Floral de Paris, with exciting playgrounds for older children. The wood also has a lovely lake, with boats to rent and ample green lawns to picnic on.