Chateau de Joux, Haut-Doubs, Jura, Franche-Comte

Written by on June 26, 2018 in Franche-Comte

If you like your castles to be brooding, dark and dramatically handsome, then the Chateau de Joux in the Jura, Franche-Comté is for you.

Visit to the Chateau de Joux

Sandwiched between the mountains of the Vosges in the north and the Alps in the south, the Jura is a land of pinacled spires and soaring plateaux. There’s no better place to pop a castle than on top of one of these towering mountains to make impregnable. The Chateau de Joux is perched on one such rocky peninsula along one of the ancient major trade routes of Europe and it tells a tale of a thousand years of military history.

A visit here is not for the faint-hearted, those who have mobility issues and definitely no pushchairs. There are no lifts or ramps, you have to get into the castle via steep stairs. It’s worth it though because this isn’t like any other castle. “Here we dream of history” said Francois Miterrand when he visited and he’s right, this place feels alive with the past – 1000 years worth.

A dramatic, stark chateau

It was also once a prison: “the little sister of the Bastille” says the guide. It made the hair stand up on the back of my neck just to think about those who have been locked up in this chateau. There have been many, including the unfortunate Berthe de Joux, wife of a crusader. Believing herhusband was dead, she fell in love with one of his companions. Alas the husband returned, killed the lover and locked his wife in a tower where she stayed for years until he died.

You can visit the cell where prisoners were held. When the guide turns out the light, the darkness weighs like a tangible horror, totally without light and silent, you can’t help but shudder. And, when the guide pours water down the well, in complete darkness, it takes several seconds until you hear the splash…

There are no glamorous furnishings, no pretty gardens to walk through – this is the bad boy of castles with seriously impressive views to match and kids will love its dramatic story. Parents might like to visit nearby Pontarlier afterwards where absinthe is made!

Open April – November, guided tour only, see the website for events and night time tours. Audio guides in several languages are available.

For more tips on what to see and do in the area see the tourist office website:

Related Articles

Château d’Arlay, Jura, Franche-Comte

The Chateau d’Arlay in the Jura department, Franche-Comté is close to the border with Burgundy and well worth a detour for its authentic beauty, gorgeous gardens and fabulous wine. History of the Chateau d’Arlay Chateau d’Arlay was built in 1774 on the site of a fort which dates back to 1150 and was home to […]

Continue Reading

Biking in Burgundy, along the famous EuroVelo 6

The long-distance cycling route, EuroVelo 6, runs 3,653 km from the Black Sea to the Atlantic, following the course of Europe’s major rivers. Rupert Parker gets on his bike and tries a short stretch along the Saône through Southern Burgundy. EuroVelo 6 from Dole As I’m setting out, the lady from the B&B Maison Curie […]

Continue Reading

5 officially best places to visit in France

Ask any Frenchman or woman about going on holiday and you’ll find that an astonishingly large number of them will tell you they stay in France. It’s estimated that more than 60% of all French people don’t leave France for their holidays despite the proximity to neighbouring European countries. The reason for the happiness to […]

Continue Reading

Mont d’Or Cheese of France

Mont d’Or Cheese of France

Written by on September 11, 2015 in Franche-Comte, Gastronomy

There’s no other word for it, Mont d’or cheese is unctuous, so much so, and here is a weird cheese fact – it’s one of only  a few French cheeses you have to eat with a spoon! Gooey, runny, sticky and liquescent (and that’s not a word you’ll often see applied to cheese) Mont d’Or […]

Continue Reading

5 Reasons to add Besancon Franche-Comte to your bucket list

Besancon is the capital city of the Franche-Comte district in the East of France that is often named the French Switzerland for its emerald green fields, sloping hills and a variety of local cheese. Many people skip Besancon as it’s not on the traditional tourist route, yet the city is absolutely worth paying a visit […]

Continue Reading


If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed

Comments are closed.