Fort de Joux

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Fort de Joux
Château de Joux
Part of Maginot line
La Cluse-et-Mijoux
Near Pontarlier in France
Fort de Joux
The Fort de Joux
Location of the castle.
Location of the castle.
Fort de Joux (France)
Type Castle, fort
Site information
Owner Communauté de communes du Larmont
Open to
the public
Tour, events.
Website Official site
Site history
Built 11th century
Built by Lords of Joux, Dukes of Burgundy, Charles Quint, Vauban, Joffre.
In use until 1958 (1958)
Materials Limestone and tufa
Battles/wars 1814, 1871, 1940

The Fort de Joux or Château de Joux is a castle, transformed into a fort, located in La Cluse-et-Mijoux, in the Doubs département, in the Jura mountains of France. It commands the mountain pass "Cluse de Pontarlier".

During its long history, Fort de Joux has gone through successive transformations. The first structure, in the 11th century, was made of wood. In the next century the lords of Joux rebuilt the dungeon and the external fortifications in stone. Philip the Good bought it in 1454 to transform it as border fort. He made duging a ditch and barracks. Fort de Joux passed to Charles the Bold, Mary of Burgundy, Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor (Habsburgs), Margaret of Austria and Charles Quint. All made a lot of constructions, repairing and improvements. It passed, along with all of Franche-Comté, in hands of the Habsburgs and the Spanish. It was finally annexed by France in 1678 by Louis XIV.[1]

While others have improved or at least repaired the castle during the course of its history, Fort de Joux's most famous remodeler was Vauban, who modernized it between 1678 and 1693. The Austrians captured it in 1814. Later, the construction of the forts at Larmont during the 19th century provided reinforcement. In 1879, Captain (later General) Joffre, then a military engineering officer, modernised it and transformed it into a fort included in the Maginot line to prevent german invasion from the Swiss.

It served as a prison for successive French governments between the 17th and 19th centuries. In this capacity, Fort-de-Joux is best known as the site of imprisonment for Toussaint Louverture, who died there on 7 April 1803, Mirabeau and Heinrich von Kleist.

In addition to being used as a prison, Fort-de-Joux has played a part in the defence of the region until the First World War.

The fortress currently houses a museum of arms that exhibits more than 600 rare weapons dating from the early 18th to the 20th centuries, including a rare 1717 rifle. The castle also has a well which, at 147 metres (482 ft), was one the deepest in France. Cut with a horizontal gallery and partially filled, it is now the third deepest at about 101 metres (331 ft).[2]

Since 1949, the French Ministry of Culture has listed Fort de Joux as a monument historique.

The Fort de Joux dominating the main road between France and Switzerland for centuries.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Thiébaud J-M and all. Le chateau de Joux 1987 (the most recent book in 2015)|language=fr
  2. ^ site|language=fr


  • Caroit, Jean-Michel "Independence of the first black republic - January 1, 1804" 02.01.04, appeared in Le Monde website contains translation and apparently the original. [1]
  • Francerama (travel website) [2]

External links[edit]

This article incorporates information from the French Wikipedia article « fr:Fort de Joux » specifically from this version.

Coordinates: 46°52′22″N 6°22′25″E / 46.87278°N 6.37361°E / 46.87278; 6.37361