department: charente (16)
region: Nouvelle-Aquitaine [poitou-charentes]


First impressions in Angouleme are misleading, not least because it's a two-part town, and you have to pass through the lower, industrial part before reaching the more historic, walled upper town.

But then you discover that the city is encircled by boulevards above the enclosing walls, from which there are fine views in virtually all directions. Most of the town streets are narrow, and the Old Town has been preserved and largely pedestrianised, with a cobbled, restaurant quarter, where there are several galleries and boutiques.

The town is principally renowned for paper-making and the printing industry, with which the town has been associated since the 14th century, but today the economy is supplemented by annual tourist events and festivals. Angouleme has long been associated with animation, illustration and the graphic arts. The Centre internationale de la Bande Dessinée et de l'Image (Quai de la Charente, 16012 Angoulême. Tel: 05 17 17 31 00) includes an exhibition space and cinema in a converted brewery down by the river. Opened in 2009 in an old wine warehouse beside the Charente, its unique collection includes 8,000 original drawings.

Strip cartoons (Bande Dessinée) are an important entertainment here, whatever your age, and the town's Cartoon Festival owes its origins to an exhibition first staged in the 1970s.

As you wander the streets, you can explore four themed areas covering the history and technical complexities of the comic strip, with exhibits rotated three times annually. There are always temporary exhibitions and you can browse the extensive shop for your favourite characters.

The exhibition centre is a wacky kind of place, but you don't have to go there to see cartoon graffiti: you’ll find cartoon characters depicted in over 20 giant wall paintings on the sides of buildings all over town – pick up an annotated map from the Tourist Office. Even the street names are contained within speech bubbles!

Notable (former) residents are Jean-Louis Guez de Balzac, one of the original members of the Académie-Française, and Honoré de Balzac, a novelist and playwright.

And while you are here, discover the town’s fascinating heritage on themed walking tours. Stop off at the splendid Romanesque cathedral; enjoy the eclectic collections of the town museum, and don’t miss the panoramic views from the ramparts, scene for the annual Angouleme Rampart Race for historic cars.


Visit the Chateau de la Rochefoucauld, to the north-east of the city.


Custom Search


7 bis, rue du Chat, Place des Halles, 16007 Angoulême
Tel: 05 45 95 16 84

Ask at the tourist information office for a map of the best cartoons and trompe l'eoil, or visit the

Recent Articles

  1. Best Places to Visit in France Top 10 Bucket List

    May 20, 19 03:16 AM

    Whether you're a first time traveller or confirmed Francophile we've put together our top 10 bucket list of places to visit in France you simply must see.

    Read More

  2. Canal du Midi Boating Holidays What to See Boat Hire

    May 18, 19 06:06 AM

    The Canal du Midi is the best boating holiday in France. Our guide explains what to see, why it's the best choice for beginners and Canal du Midi boat hire.

    Read More

  3. Eiffel Tower Facts And Eiffel Tower Information If You Visit Paris

    Apr 28, 19 01:12 PM

    20 amazing Eiffel Tower facts and alll the essential Eiffel Tower information you need if you're planning to visit this astonishing Paris landmark.

    Read More