You can start the virtual stroll at the place of your choice by selecting a key location from the list below.
Allaine (1)
We arrived at the edge of the Allaine, the river that runs through Porrentruy. Our stroll around the castle was coming to an end... except that, driven by curiosity, we continued a little further...
Allaine (2)
The Allaine is a river that rises 15 km east of Porrentruy on the French-Swiss border. It flows through the town and then northwards, crossing the border near Boncourt, merging with the Bourbeuse near Montbéliard and finally flowing into the Doubs, after a course of 58.2 km.
Allée des Soupirs
Our virtual stroll ended here, but we went for a small walk in the old town and we couldn't help but turn the camera on again two streets further on...
Castle Esplanade (1)
The large courtyard of the castle is enclosed to the north by the Residence of the Prince-Bishops of Basel and the Chancellery, separated by a stair turret under a bulbous dome. To the south, the long, low building is the Princess Christine Pavilion, adjoining the Treasury Tower. The massive Rooster Tower, at the north-east corner of the castle, is hidden from view from the courtyard.
Castle Esplanade (2)
The castle stands on the first slope of the Fahy Hill above the town. Its buildings show an architectural panorama that goes from the Middle Ages to the end of the 18th century. Here we are facing the Réfous Tower, built in the 13th century, which was part of the outer wall that has now disappeared but of which a few curvilinear 14th century ramparts remain.
Castle Esplanade (3)
Remedial work on the retaining wall of the esplanade led to the discovery of 120 stoneballs dating from the Middle Ages. These limestone balls were ammunition for trebuchet-type catapults, used between the 12th and 15th centuries, but they were discovered in an embankment built between the mid-18th and early 19th centuries... No one knows how and why they have survived the centuries!
Castle Esplanade (4)
The castle esplanade offers beautiful views of the town below, set in the hilly landscape of the Ajoie region. Here, the mountain range is much softer, we are in the tabular Jura, at 443 m altitude only.
Castle Esplanade (5)
The castle was the residence of the prince-bishops of Basel from 1527 to 1792. The prince-bishops were bishops of the Holy Roman Empire who, in addition to administering their diocese, ruled like princes over an imperial territory. They were lovers of luxury, and the architecture of the castle reflects their wealth.
Castle Gate
The castle has undergone countless transformations over the centuries. This gateway passes through the few remains of the 14th-century curved ramparts. The building on the left is the former guardhouse. Beyond the gate, nothing remains of the outer wall that protected the ramparts.
Chemin du Château (1)
We are here on the west side of the castle, facing the gateway in what remains of the 14th century ramparts. To the left of the gate, the Réfous Tower is the oldest part of the castle. It dates from the 13th century and can be visited free of charge.
Chemin du Château (2)
Behind us, Chemin du Château continues to Route de Bure, which leads to France. In front of us, the path splits in two, on the left it goes to the Cras Mouche path, which bypasses the castle and descends towards the town, and on the right it leads to the west gate of the castle, going through one of the old ramparts.
Chemin du Château (3)
Here we are in front of the western facade of the building that served as the residence of the prince-bishops of Basel. Just to the right of it, we have a passage to the castle esplanade. To see what remains of the ramparts, go right towards Route de Bure (map: to left). To go around the castle, go left towards the Cras Mouche path (map: to right).
Chemin du Château (4)
We are to the north of the castle, facing Réfous Tower, the last vestige of the 13th century fortress. To the east (to left on the panorama), Chemin du Château joins Cras Mouche, a sloping alleyway that leads down to the town.
Chemin du Château (5)
Chemin du Château ends a little further down, at the foot of Tour du Coq ("Rooster Tower"). It is continued by the steep path of Cras-Mouche, which descends to the Belfort road, a stone's throw from the Gate of France.
Chemin du Château (6)
The Rooster Tower at the northeast corner of the castle is a massive four-storey round building with central pillars supporting circular vaults. It housed the archives of the former Bishopric of Basel until 1898. Its roof is supported by an impressive framework.
Cras Mouche (1)
This rather steep path offers superb views to the north of the castle, especially to the massive Rooster Tower, which is invisible from its esplanade.
Cras Mouche (2)
As you can see from this panorama, the climb to Porrentruy Castle via the Cras Mouche path is quite steep, but the view is splendid.
Cras Mouche (3)
The large windows you see on the east and south of the Rooster Tower were only opened in 1756, when the building was converted to house the archives of the Bishopric of Basel. Previously, the tower only received light through small bull's-eyes.
Cras Mouche (4)
The Rooster Tower bears the coat of arms of the Bishopric of Basel (argent with a bishop's crook gules) and of Prince Christopher Blarer of Wartensee (argent with a rooster gules), which disappeared in the 18th century but of which enough traces remained to be redone when the castle was restored in 1960.
Faubourg de France
We are here at the foot of the castle, in front of the Gate of France. Behind us is the road to Belfort Road, which crosses the French border some fifteen kilometres to the north. On our right, the Cras Mouche path climbs up to the castle.
Footbridge over Creugenat
The Creugenat is an ephemeral river which flows into the Allaine here. It is only fed when there is enough rainfall to overflow the emissive chasm that gives it its name. The Creugenat (or Creux-Genat) chasm is part of the network of underground rivers that feed various springs in the region.
Porte de France
The Gate of France controlled the road to Belfort to the north of the town. Rebuilt in 1563 and transformed in 1744, it is flanked by two round towers and its clock dates from the end of the 17th century. Beyond the gate, Faubourg de France leads to the old town, where our stroll takes you along the banks of the Allaine, the river just below us on our left.
The Pictorial Guides

© 1988-2022
All rights reserved for all countries