Between La Rochelle and Bordeaux, perches Angoulême, looking out over the plains of the Poitou Charente region in the south west of France. The patronage of the local Valois family during the 16th century made Angoulême into the cultural intellectual and artistic centre which it remains today. Internationally known for the Comic Book Festival in Angoulême, the art of the bande dessinée is firmly rooted in Angoulême: the capital of comic books and graphic novels in France.
The romanesque Cathedral of Saint-Pierre in Angoulême dominates the town from the rocky outcrop which gave the town the nickname "the south-west balcony". Paul Abadie, who designed the Sacré Cœur church in Paris, restored the cathedral in the 19th century, and also built the town hall, or Hôtel de ville in Angoulême.
To get a feel of Angoulême, follow the old city ramparts around the old town. Imagine this road during the annual Circuit of the Ramparts of Angoulême race, when 160 classic cars take this hair-raising road at high speed, hair-pin bends and all.
Angoulême has comic books in its blood… and on its walls. If you're visiting with the family, take the kids on a tour of the painted walls. Classic French comic book characters such as Titeuf, Natacha, Boule & Bill, and Lucky Luke are just a few of the colourful characters who will surprise and amuse you as you go. Each year, in January, Angoulême hosts a great parade of comic book fans and authors - the largest in the world in fact - during the Comic Book Festival in Angoulême. Find out more about the world of the bande dessinée at the International City of the Comic Book and the Image, a cultural institution which is spread over three sites. In the Comic Book Museum in Angoulême, you can follow the history of American and Japanese comics as well as French and Belgian storyboards, as the drawings come to life before your eyes. After this, you won't be able to resist the pull of the comic book and image Bookshop. The Castro Building houses the Comic Book Library and the Cité Cinema. This complex is more than a museum, it's a whole world of animated drawings and ideas.
Angoulême is famous for its numerous and varied festivals. At Les Gastronomades festival you'll find all kinds of local products and delicious specialities which takes place over a weekend in November. Taste and learn all about the local products, skills and techniques. For the children (or for the child inside you) there's Ludoland, a festival of games, toys and multimedia. The whole family will have endless fun discovering and testing new games.
It's impossible to get bored in Angoulême: there's always something new to do or see in this "city of festivals".
De gare à gare