The capital of the Charente, Angoulême is a lovely hillside town that’s full of character and has a lively nightlife thanks to its many bars, cafés and restaurants that spill out on the streets in the warmer months. Once known for its industry, especially paper, it is now famous for its international festivals…
The historic heart of Angoulême is easily discovered on foot and blends medieval buildings with those from the 18th and 19th centuries, when the local paper industry brought great wealth. Around the town today are over 20 cartoon-style murals by talented artists (pick up a map at the Tourist Office), a reference to Angoulême’s Comic Strip festival and museum, which attract both creators and fans from far and wide.
For a more in-depth article on Angouleme, click here.
Dominating the skyline is the Cathedral of St Pierre, built in the 12th century and embellished 700 years later by Paul Abadie, architect of the Sacré-Coeur Basilica in Paris. Angoulême’s cathedral is celebrated for its ornate Romanesque façade - make sure you see the depiction of the Last Judgement, before turning to admire sweeping views across the Charente valley from the medieval city remparts. The Hôtel de Ville (town hall) dates back to the 13th century and has recently been confirmed as a National Historic Monument.
Once the driving force behind the paper making industry, today the Charente river is a place of leisure which can be explored by boats. Alternatively, follow the towpath (Coulée Verte) along the riverbanks to the Plan d’eau de la Grande Prairie stopping at one of the many picnic spots along the way. The well-equipped lake at St Yrieix is set in 50 hectares of park and has a sandy beach and swimming area as well as facilities for many other water sports.
Angoulême has three museums which are
all well worth a visit:
Musée de la Bande Dessinée (comic strip museum)
Le Nil Paper Museum
For your Guide to Angoulême
Office de Tourisme Pays d’Angoulême, 7 bis rue du Chat, Place des Halles, 16000 Angoulême,
+ 33 (0)5 45 95 16 84,