Mont-Terri Castle is a ruined medieval castle above a prehistoric hillfort on Mont Terri, located in the municipality of Cornol.
Mont Terri forms a buttress of the Lomont ridge (part of the Jura mountains), and is separated from it by a saddle called Derrière Mont Terri. The wooded summit forms a plateau four hectares in area. It is bounded on the west and southwest sides by steep cliffs, the remaining sides are protected by an ancient rampart. At the highest point of the plateau are the remains of a medieval fortified tower.
The summit of Mont Terri is known locally as 'Julius Caesar's Camp'; however, the earliest traces of habitation are from the Neolithic era. Pottery finds suggests that there was occupation during the Middle and Late Bronze Age. During the 1st century BC, a rampart was built of typical Gallic construction, a Murus Gallicus; it has been associated with the Gallic Wars, but the only firm dating for the site is a later Roman coin from the reign of Augustus. There are also finds from a further period of occupation in the 4th century AD and other finds extend into the 10th century. A stone tower was built on the site in the 13th century, probably replacing a previous wooden one, and is probably the 'Château Thierry' mentioned in contemporary texts.
The first investigation of the site was by an antiquarian and Jesuit priest, Father Pierre-Joseph Dunod, at the start of the 18th century. Writing in 1716, Father Dunod speculated that the site was the scene of a decisive battle between Caesar and the Suebi tribe led by Ariovistus. There were later excavations by the owners of the site, Koeckler and Maupassant, who were found to have planted antiquities that they had purchased elsewhere, the deception being uncovered in 1862 by archaeologist Auguste Quiquerez (1801-1882). In the 20th century, methodical excavations by Alban Gerster (1898-1986) and in 1984 by a team from the University of Basle, have uncovered a range of finds from Neolithic flint arrow heads to a 10th century dinarius coin from the reign of Louis IV of France.References:
The Château de Chaumont was founded in the 10th century by Odo I, Count of Blois. The purpose was to protect his lands from attacks from his feudal rivals, Fulk Nerra, Count of Anjou. On his behalf the Norman Gelduin received it, improved it and held it as his own. His great-niece Denise de Fougère, having married Sulpice d'Amboise, passed the château into the Amboise family for five centuries.
Pierre d'Amboise unsuccessfully rebelled against King Louis XI and his property was confiscated, and the castle was dismantled on royal order in 1465. It was later rebuilt by Charles I d'Amboise from 1465–1475 and then finished by his son, Charles II d'Amboise de Chaumont from 1498–1510, with help from his uncle, Cardinal Georges d'Amboise; some Renaissance features were to be seen in buildings that retained their overall medieval appearance. The château was acquired by Catherine de Medici in 1550. There she entertained numerous astrologers, among them Nostradamus. When her husband, Henry II, died in 1559 she forced his mistress, Diane de Poitiers, to exchange Château de Chaumont for Château de Chenonceau which Henry had given to de Poitiers. Diane de Poitiers only lived at Chaumont for a short while.
Later Chaumont has changed hands several times. Paul de Beauvilliers bought the château in 1699, modernized some of its interiors and decorated it with sufficient grandeur to house the duc d'Anjou on his way to become king of Spain in 1700. Monsieur Bertin demolished the north wing to open the house towards the river view in the modern fashion.
In 1750, Jacques-Donatien Le Ray purchased the castle as a country home where he established a glassmaking and pottery factory. He was considered the French "Father of the American Revolution" because he loved America. However, in 1789, the new French Revolutionary Government seized Le Ray's assets, including his beloved Château de Chaumont.
The castle has been classified as a Monument historique since 1840 by the French Ministry of Culture. The Château de Chaumont is currently a museum and every year hosts a Garden Festival from April to October where contemporary garden designers display their work in an English-style garden.