Angoulême, located in southwestern France, is a charming city known for its rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning architecture. Whether you’re a history buff, an art lover, or a food enthusiast, Angoulême has something to offer everyone. Here are some of the best places to visit and things to do in Angoulême:
1. Angoulême Cathedral (Cathédrale Saint-Pierre)
Start your exploration of Angoulême by visiting the magnificent Angoulême Cathedral. This Romanesque-style cathedral dates back to the 12th century and boasts impressive architectural features. Take a moment to admire its beautiful stained glass windows and intricate stone carvings.
2. Angoulême Old Town
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Stroll through the narrow, winding streets of Angoulême’s Old Town, also known as the Ville Haute. The picturesque medieval quarter is filled with charming buildings, quaint shops, and cozy cafes. Don’t miss the stunning views of the Charente River and the surrounding countryside from the ramparts.
3. Musée de la Bande Dessinée (Comic Strip Museum)
Angoulême is famous for its connection to the world of comic books. The Comic Strip Museum celebrates this art form with a vast collection of original comic book artwork, exhibitions, and interactive displays. It’s a must-visit for comic book enthusiasts and those interested in the history of graphic storytelling.
4. Le Nil Obelisk
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Marvel at the impressive Le Nil Obelisk, a 20-meter-high monument located in the heart of Angoulême. Erected in the early 19th century, it commemorates Napoleon’s victorious campaign in Egypt and serves as a symbol of the city.
5. Hôtel de Ville (City Hall)
Visit the Hôtel de Ville, the beautiful town hall of Angoulême. This 19th-century building features an elegant facade adorned with statues and intricate detailing. Step inside to admire its grand interior and learn about the city’s governance.
6. Les Halles d’Angoulême
Indulge your senses at Les Halles, the central market of Angoulême. This vibrant covered market offers a wide variety of fresh local produce, cheeses, meats, and other delicacies. Take the opportunity to taste regional specialties and experience the lively atmosphere.
7. Balade des Remparts
Enjoy a leisurely walk along the Balade des Remparts, the city’s ancient ramparts. These fortified walls provide a scenic path with panoramic views of Angoulême and the surrounding landscape. It’s a great spot to capture some memorable photographs.
8. Angoulême Street Art
Angoulême has a thriving street art scene that adds color and creativity to the city. Take a self-guided tour to discover stunning murals, graffiti, and installations scattered throughout the streets. The art pieces showcase a range of styles and themes, contributing to Angoulême’s artistic ambiance.
9. River Cruise on the Charente
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Embark on a relaxing river cruise along the Charente River. Enjoy the picturesque scenery, pass under historic bridges, and soak in the tranquil atmosphere. It’s a delightful way to experience the beauty of Angoulême from a different perspective.
10. Angoulême International Comics Festival
If you’re a fan of comics, plan your visit to coincide with the Angoulême International Comics Festival, one of the largest comic book events in the world. Held annually in January, the festival attracts renowned artists, publishers, and enthusiasts from around the globe. You can attend exhibitions, book signings, panel discussions, and even see the prestigious awards ceremony.
11. Museum of Angoulême
Immerse yourself in the city’s rich history and culture at the Museum of Angoulême. Located in an elegant 19th-century building, the museum showcases archaeological artifacts, historical objects, and art collections spanning different periods. From prehistoric artifacts to medieval sculptures and contemporary artworks, the museum offers a comprehensive glimpse into Angoulême’s past.
12. Angoulême Public Gardens
Take a break from sightseeing and relax in the beautiful Angoulême Public Gardens. This peaceful oasis features lush green spaces, colorful flower beds, and tranquil water features. It’s an ideal spot for a leisurely stroll, a picnic, or simply to enjoy the serene atmosphere.
13. Regional Gastronomy
Indulge in the regional gastronomy of Angoulême and its surroundings. The region is known for its exquisite Charentais cuisine, featuring dishes like cognac-infused sauces, fresh seafood, goat cheese, and traditional pastries. Don’t miss the opportunity to try local specialties like “galette charentaise” (a buttery cake) or “éclade de moules” (mussels smoked on pine needles).
14. Nearby Vineyards
Angoulême is located in the heart of the Cognac region, renowned for its world-famous brandy. Take a short drive from the city and explore the picturesque vineyards and distilleries. You can join guided tours to learn about the cognac-making process, sample different varieties, and appreciate the art of blending.
15. Day Trips
Use Angoulême as a base to explore the surrounding area. Take a day trip to the nearby town of Cognac and visit famous distilleries, or venture further to the charming towns of Aubeterre-sur-Dronne or La Rochelle, known for their historical sites and coastal beauty.
16. Sporting Activities
If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, Angoulême offers various activities to keep you engaged. Rent a bike and cycle along the picturesque Charente River, or go canoeing and kayaking on its gentle waters. You can also enjoy hiking trails in the surrounding countryside or try your hand at golf on one of the nearby courses.
17. Angoulême Underground
Delve into the underground tunnels of Angoulême and discover its hidden secrets. Join a guided tour that takes you beneath the city’s surface, where you can explore the ancient passages, crypts, and caves. Learn about the historical significance of these underground spaces and gain a fascinating perspective on the city’s past.
18. The Circuit des Remparts
If you’re a fan of vintage cars and motorsports, don’t miss the Circuit des Remparts. Held annually in September, this thrilling event transforms the streets of Angoulême into a racetrack, where classic cars race through the city’s ramparts. Experience the excitement of witnessing these beautifully restored automobiles in action.
19. Les Chemins de la Découverte
Embark on Les Chemins de la Découverte (Discovery Paths), a series of walking trails that guide you through the natural beauty surrounding Angoulême. Explore picturesque landscapes, forests, and vineyards, and enjoy the tranquility of the countryside. These trails offer an opportunity to connect with nature and take in the stunning scenery.
20. Theatre and Performing Arts
Angoulême boasts a thriving performing arts scene, with theaters and venues offering a diverse range of productions. Catch a play, ballet, concert, or opera performance at one of the city’s cultural institutions, such as Théâtre d’Angoulême or La Nef. Immerse yourself in the world of performing arts and enjoy a night of entertainment.
21. Shopping in Angoulême
Explore the city’s shops and boutiques, where you can find a mix of local artisans, fashion, and unique products. Rue Hergé, named after the famous comic book artist, is a popular street for shopping, with a variety of stores offering comics, graphic novels, and related merchandise. Don’t forget to browse the local markets for fresh produce, regional delicacies, and souvenirs.
22. Parc de Frégeneuil
Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy a peaceful retreat at Parc de Frégeneuil. This sprawling park offers ample green spaces, walking trails, and picnic areas. It’s an ideal spot for relaxation, outdoor activities, or enjoying a leisurely day with family and friends.
23. Château de La Rochefoucauld
Take a short drive from Angoulême to visit the magnificent Château de La Rochefoucauld. This stunning Renaissance castle is known for its exceptional architecture and beautifully landscaped gardens. Explore the castle’s rich history, admire its grandeur, and enjoy the serene surroundings.
24. Festivals and Events
Throughout the year, Angoulême hosts a variety of festivals and events that showcase its vibrant culture. From music festivals and street performances to food and wine celebrations, there’s always something happening in the city. Check the local event calendar to see what’s on during your visit and immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere.
25. Angoulême Botanical Gardens
Discover a serene oasis at the Angoulême Botanical Gardens. These beautifully landscaped gardens feature a wide variety of plants, flowers, and trees. Take a leisurely stroll along the winding paths, rela on the benches, and enjoy the peaceful ambiance. The gardens also host occasional exhibitions and events related to botany and horticulture.
26. La Cité de l’Huître
For seafood lovers, a visit to La Cité de l’Huître in nearby Marennes is a must. This interactive museum and oyster farm offers a fascinating insight into the oyster farming industry in the region. Learn about the history, cultivation techniques, and taste the fresh, succulent oysters straight from the sea.
27. Angoulême Chocolate Museum
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Indulge your sweet tooth and delve into the world of chocolate at the Angoulême Chocolate Museum. Discover the history of chocolate, learn about the production process, and of course, savor delicious samples. The museum also hosts workshops where you can try your hand at creating your own chocolate creations.
28. Nightlife in Angoulême
As the sun sets, Angoulême’s vibrant nightlife comes alive. The city offers a range of bars, pubs, and nightclubs where you can enjoy live music, dance, and socialize with locals and fellow travelers. Experience the lively atmosphere and discover the city’s energetic after-dark scene.
29. Maison des Vins de Cognac
Explore the flavors of the region at the Maison des Vins de Cognac. Located in the nearby town of Cognac, this interactive museum and tasting center introduces you to the world of Cognac production. Learn about the different Cognac appellations, the aging process, and sample a variety of Cognacs to develop your palate and appreciation for this renowned spirit.
30. Cultural Events
Angoulême is a city that embraces cultural diversity and hosts numerous events throughout the year. From music concerts and dance performances to art exhibitions and theater shows, there’s always something happening in the city’s cultural calendar. Check the local listings to see if any cultural events coincide with your visit.
31. Adrenaline-Fueled Activities
If you’re seeking an adrenaline rush, Angoulême has exciting activities to offer. Try your hand at go-karting on the city’s racing circuit, or head to nearby Adventure Parks where you can enjoy zip-lining, tree-top courses, and other thrilling outdoor adventures.
32. Explore Charente River
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The Charente River is not just a beautiful backdrop to the city; it also offers opportunities for recreational activities. Rent a canoe or kayak and paddle along the river, enjoying the scenic views and tranquility. Alternatively, take a leisurely boat cruise to relax and soak in the natural beauty of the surroundings.
33. Maison des Auteurs
If you’re a budding writer or artist, visit the Maison des Auteurs (House of Authors) located in Angoulême. This unique residency program offers artists, writers, and cartoonists the opportunity to live and work in a creative environment. Explore the facility, interact with fellow artists, and get inspired by the artistic atmosphere.
Places and Things To Do