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Joux Castle Travel Guide
Fort de Joux, Franche Comté (© laurent |
Château de Joux.


Known alternatively as the Fort de Joux or Château de Joux, this castle perched on the edge of a cliff in the Jura mountains commands the mountain pass "Cluse de Pontarlier" between France and Switzerland.



First built in wood in the 11th century, the castle was rebuilt in stone in the next century. After passing into the hands of the Ducjy of Burgundy, then of the Habsburgs Empire, a new fortress was planned by Vauban, Louis XIV's celebrated military architect, in 1690.

During the 18th and 19th centuries, including the French Revolutionary period, the fortress was used as a state prison, among whose most famous residents were Mirabeau, André Rigaud, Heinrich von Kleist and Toussaint Louverture (who died there from cold and malnutrition).

In 1879, Captain (later General) Joffre, then a military engineering officer, modernises the citadel by installing casemates that could accommodate 155 mm cannons, the largest pieces of artillery at the time.

Fort de Joux, Franche Comté (photo by Bresson Thomas - Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license)

The fortress currently houses a museum of arms that exhibits more than 600 rare weapons dating from the early 18th to the 20th centuries.

Opening Hours & Admission

Fort de Joux is only accessible through guided tours. It is open daily between 1st April and mid-November, from 10:00 am to 11:30 am and from 2:00 to 4:30 pm (continously from 9:30 am to 6:00 pm in July and August). Tours start at 10:30, 11:15, 14:30, 15:15 and 16:00. In July and August tours are held every half hour from 10:00 am to 5:30 pm.

Admission is 6.5 € for adults, 5.5 € for concessions (students, disabled) and 3.5 € for children from 6 to 14 years old.

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