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
Fort de Joux is located in France
Fort de Joux
Fort de Joux
Coordinates46°52′21″N 6°22′27″E / 46.8725°N 6.3742°E / 46.8725; 6.3742Coordinates: 46°52′21″N 6°22′27″E / 46.8725°N 6.3742°E / 46.8725; 6.3742[1]
TypeCastle, fort
Site information
OwnerCommunauté de communes du Larmont
Open to
the public
Tour, events.
Site history
Built11th century
Built byLords of Joux, Dukes of Burgundy, Charles Quint, Vauban, Joffre.
In useuntil 1958 (1958)
MaterialsLimestone and tufa
Battles/wars1814, 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 department in the Jura mountains of France. It commands the mountain pass Cluse de Pontarlier.


Château de Joux

During its long history, the Château 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 keep and the external fortifications in stone. Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, bought it in 1454 to transform it as a border fort. He added a moat and barracks. The château passed to Charles the Bold, Mary of Burgundy, Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor (Habsburgs), Margaret of Austria, and Charles Quint. Each successive owner made improvements. It was finally annexed by France in 1678 by Louis XIV.[2]

While others have improved, or at least repaired, the castle during the course of its history, the château'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 Marshal) Joffre, then a military engineering officer, modernised it and transformed it into a fort included in the Maginot line to prevent German invasion from Swiss territory.

It served as a prison for successive French governments between the 17th and 19th centuries. In this capacity, the château 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, the château 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 once the deepest in France. Cut with a horizontal gallery and partially filled, it is now the third deepest at about 101 metres (331 ft).[3]

Since 1949, the French Ministry of Culture has listed the château as a monument historique.

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

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Co-ordinates verified on Géoportail (France) and Google Maps
  2. ^ Thiébaud J-M et al. Le château de Joux (1987) (in French)
  3. ^ Official web site (in French)


External links[edit]