Perched on a rocky outcrop overlooking a meander of the Charente, Angoulême is a city that has managed to combine past and present and is resolutely turned towards the future. If its fame comes mainly from the comic strip and its famous festival, Angoulême is nevertheless a city rich in history that has much to offer. The testimonies of the past rub shoulders with the recent developments and form a city full of charm which attracts many visitors each year. Come and discover the city of the Valois thanks to the audio-guided tours offered by the city!
View of the city
Former capital of the Angoumois region, Angoulême was an important crossroads of communication routes and has long been a coveted stronghold. Although it has undergone many sieges and had a tumultuous past, it became an intellectual and artistic center in the 16th century, thanks to the Valois family.
The 19th century will be synonymous with prosperity, in particular thanks to the development of industries (paper mills, foundries...), which today make the city of Angoulême one of the most industrialized towns in the region.
Because of its strategic location, the Angoulême spur has been inhabited since the Stone Age and several fortified enclosures were built as early as the Gallo-Roman period to reinforce its natural defensive position. Several times destroyed, rebuilt and reinforced, the ramparts were levelled and the gates demolished in the 19th century to allow the expansion of the city. Today, only a few remains dating from the 4th, 13th and 16th centuries are still visible throughout the city. Some of these ramparts have been converted into a promenade and offer a very nice view on the Charente.
Unlike many cities in France, Angoulême has a Romanesque cathedral and not a Gothic one. Built in the 12th century, the Saint-Peter cathedral owes its preservation to the architect Paul Abadie Jr who undertook a vast restoration campaign in the 19th century. A real architectural jewel, classified as a historical monument since 1840, the cathedral impresses with its western façade, decorated with rich sculptures and bas-reliefs. The most curious will not hesitate to push the doors of the building to discover an interior all in amplitude and light.
On your way, you will also cross the city hall, formerly residence of the counts of Angoulême. Mixing medieval, classical and Renaissance styles, the building only retains the Lusignan keep and the Valois tower from the former castle. It is in the latter that Margaret of Angoulême, sister of François I, was born. The building was transformed into a town hall in the 19th century and has been classified as a historical monument since 2013.
Capital of the 9th art
In the heart of a region with a paper-making tradition since the 18th century, Angoulême was destined to become the capital of the comic strip. The love story between the city of Angoulême and the 9th art began in the 1970s with the creation of the first comic book festival. Since then, every year, professionals and enthusiasts meet for four days to celebrate their love of this plural and popular art.
If the festival takes place only once a year, the 9th art can be found at the four corners of the streets of Angoulême. Your stroll will take you to the discovery of the twenty or so frescoes honoring comics that adorn the walls of the city: Lucky Luke, Titeuf, Blake and Mortimer... discover all your favorite heroes in the alleys of the city center but also in the more outlying districts. Do not miss, among others, the magnificent trompe-l'oeil entitled "The girl of the ramparts" which integrates elements of the environment such as the stone railing or the windows of the house.
The Comics Museum
The route is also lined with several statues in tribute to comics, including that of Lucien, the hero of Margerin, or that of Corto Maltese, which welcomes visitors to the Comics Museum. Located in the buildings of the Magelis winery, it houses a unique collection of drawings, original plates and related objects in Europe. The museum is part of the Cité internationale de la bande dessinée et de l'image which also includes a library, an art cinema, exhibition galleries, etc.
Along the water
The Charente river
Beyond its historical and cultural heritage, Angoulême has an exceptional natural heritage. Crossed by the river Charente, the city offers a bucolic setting for numerous water sports and recreational activities, but also for beautiful walks or bike rides. The "Au bord de l'eau" route will allow you to discover the rural landscapes of the river's banks, notably by taking the old towpath which has been converted into a green corridor.
Your walk will also take you to the discovery of the Marquet Island, a natural jewel of the city, rich of a long history. Home in turn to allotments, a sawmill and a plaster mill, this natural reserve of nearly 8 hectares is home to a rich fauna and flora.
Find all the routes in the city of Angoulême on the JOOKS application.
Run, walk or cycle with JOOKS, from the Comics Museum to the Saint-Peter cathedral!