VINCENNES HIPPODROME OF PARIS
The Vincennes Hippodrome located near the Vincennes Palace in Paris is one of the most famous racetracks in the world. It is here you will find the World Trotting Championships as well as Harness Racing World Triple Crown. The track dates back to 1863 and is one of the largest in the world. It has a seating capacity of over 60,000 in the clubhouse and grandstands. It also has an infield area for parking and other spectators. The restaurants will seat 1,800 people.
Of the three days I was in Paris at the end of October, I was lucky because one evening of those days they had racing at Vincennes Hippodrome. On the way to the race track, one of my transfers was closed. An attendant directed me to another subway line going to where I was headed. My maps gave me another stop to get off and a transfer by bus to within a 10 minute walk. It was interesting because the walk took me by way of a hiking trail. Still it did bring me to the “race track”. Actually it brought me to the back side of the track and the parking lot there was closed. The entrance was a mile away. For the record, if my internet had been working, I would of found that there was a shuttle from the bust stop to the racetrack, I was just early.
My walk around the outside of the track took me pass the paddocks. The paddocks are on the front side of the track away from the barns, next to the clubhouse. For those not familiar with horse racing, the paddock at a racetrack is the staging area for the races. Horse must be inside the paddock a prescribed time before the start of the race. It is here that the horses are prepared for the races. They looked outstanding, much better than any I have ever seen elsewhere.
I arrived about 15 minutes before the gates open. The gates seem to be from the original track built in the 1800s.
The first thing I did notice is that the owners have their own entrance, in fact, it seems
they have their own club house. Looking in from the outside it was very upscale. However, even the portion for the general public was outstanding.
As I mentioned, I was there early. I would have been the first one inside, however, the girl at the ticket counter had no change. The entrance fee is 3 €, the smallest I had was a 10. so I had to wait until she sold some tickets. When I stepped inside I was impressed by the size. I had been there once before years ago, but that was a day of a major race and there were over 50,000 people there that day so did not really get to look around much. Now, there were only a hand full of people at this time.
As you entered the building, you were in a hall with four levels of grandstands in front of you.
Food and Drinks
While some of the food outlets were closed, there were at least 5 that were open. From simple sandwiches to 5 course dinners.
After watching a few races outside ( more on the races in another article) I went looking for a place to eat. Was not up to the fine dining. On the ground level were a couple of places with sandwiches and hot dogs, but I went up to a pub.
I decided to grab a soft drink and get a hot dog as I watched a few races from inside the Pub
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I will write an seperate article about the track and the racing, but here is a preview of the track area itself.