Angouleme is a large fortress town and capital of the Charente Department. This ancient town, with wonderful ramparts, overlooks the Charente valley below. Angouleme has many good restaurants. Both international and French cuisine is served throughout the city.Ryanair have now started flying into Angouleme from London Standsted Airport (april 2008)
Angouleme covers a hilltop between the Charente and Aguienne rivers. The town was the centre of the French paper industry in the 17th century, a tradition that carries on today: Angoulême remains the centre of French comic-strip production.
Angouleme is split into two parts. The historical Angouleme sits majestically on a hill above the Charente, while the modern, industrial Angouleme lies in the valley below. It is in this bustling part of the city that you will find a rich labyrinth of winding alleys and streets. The writer Balzac wrote of Angouleme: “Up above the Nobility and Power, below, commerce and money. Two social zones that can’t stop viewing each other as enemies.”
- Ramparts from 4th century extend into a 3km fortification.
- Saint Pierre Cathedrale build during the 12th century. This romanesque cathedral has an interior rich in art and history.
- Saint Andre Church re-build in early 1800s. Its interior mixes the romanesque and baroque styles with harmony.
- Hotel de Ville - great town hall where the sister of Francois I, Marguerite was born. This fortified castle with its two remaining towers dates back to XII century.
Birthplace of French Aviation
Angouleme earned its place in history in 1806 when a local took France’s first motor powered flight. His accomplishment seemed well worth the broken leg he had to endure afterwards. If you walk around the ramparts you can find the plaque that marks the infamous spot.
For enthusiasts of French comic books and cartoons a visit in the ‘Musee de la Bande Dessinee’ (National Comics and Image Center), a former papermill that has been turned into a museum is highly recommended. It is worth going just to admire the beautifully renovated building itself.
Angouleme enjoys a healthy lifestyle and a pleasant climate. Bikes can be hired on arrival and it is well worth it with so many splendid cycle paths around. The coastline is an easy excursion away and is certainly not to be missed. Its long sandy beaches are world-renowned and attract many surfers. Golfers will find a number of fine courses to practice their swing on. The region is considered an ideal place to have a summer vacation.
Atelier Musée du Papier is a fantastic working paper museum.
Chocolaterie Letuffe is a chocolate factory located on the outskirts of Angouleme.
Each year, Angouleme hosts a number of events. Among them are:
- Festival de la Bande Dessinée (International Festival of Comics) every January.
- International Jazz Festival every June
- Circuit des Remparts old cars rally around the Ramparts every September.
Angouleme has many good restaurants. Both international and French cuisine is served throughout the city.