Angoulême is a city that we both love and know by heart. Matthieu is from Angoulême, where his family still lives, and I studied for 2 years at the IUT in Angoulême. We regularly go there on weekends or vacations to meet our family and friends.
The city of Angoulême is known for its comic book festival , which takes place every year in January. The city is also full of small treasures, its painted walls, its medieval center, the Charente… to explore all year long !
We spent part of our summer there, after 10 months camping in Europe. We took the time to rediscover the city, and below we’ve listed our top 10 must-sees, as well as our itinerary for visiting Angoulême on foot in 1 day .
We also give you our secrets to visit Angoulême as an Angoumoisin. Enjoy your reading!
- Why visit Angoulême?
- What to do in Angoulême ? our 10 must-haves :
- 1 ◊ Painted walls: go on a treasure hunt ◊
- 2 ◊ Tower of the ramparts: get some height ◊
- 3. ◊ Saint Peter’s Cathedral: its incredible architecture ◊
- 4. ◊ The old town: its lovely alleys and squares ◊
- 5. ◊ The comic book museum: its photogenic building ◊
- 6. ◊ Enjoying the sunset from the golf course ◊
- 7. ◊ Cruising and water activities on the Charente: along the water ◊
- 8. ◊ The comic book festival: a must ◊
- 9. ◊ Marquet Island: exploring an oasis of greenery ◊
- 10. ◊ Charentaise: the souvenir to bring back ◊
- Our itinerary to visit Angoulême in 1 day on foot [carte]
- Visiting Angoulême with your family
- How to come to Angoulême ?
- Where to sleep?
- Where to eat?
- What to do around Angoulême ?
Why visit Angoulême?
Angoulême is more than just a comic strip festival. You can explore Angoulême absolutely all year round, especially to discover its beautiful painted walls and medieval center.
And if it rains, you can take refuge in the International Comics Museum. You can also sample local specialities such as pineau, cognac, truffles, melon and Angoulême chocolate Marguerite (available from Duceau chocolatier)… Now is not the time to start a diet!
What to do in Angoulême ? our 10 must-haves :
1 ◊ Painted walls: go on a treasure hunt ◊
A real open-air museum, free and very nice to do with the family! The various murals were created by the “Grand Prix of the Comic Book Festival” which takes place every year at the beginning of the year. The main frescoes are to be seen on the plateau, the upper part of Angouleme.
Before going on a treasure hunt, we advise you to download the application Murs BD Angoulême, in order to realize the “short itinerary”, of about 2km, which will allow you to observe the main works, Lucky Luke and the Daltons, “Le Baron Noir”, “Gaston”…
We found the application super successful, even though we know Angoulême well, we easily oriented ourselves with the interactive map and learned more about the works. We also walked around at night to see the projected mural.
Our two favorites:“Mémoire du XXe Ciel” of the place Saint André by Yslaire, opposite the wall you can observe the angel in height which is reflected on the wall. And of course the unavoidable“Fille des remparts” by Max Cabannes, a trompe l’oeil extremely well done. Come and see for yourself!
2 ◊ Tower of the ramparts: get some height ◊
Angoulême is situated on a plateau, surrounded by ramparts dating back to the 4th century. They were then rebuilt and enlarged in the Middle Ages.
Today, the tree-lined walk along the ramparts offers beautiful panoramic views over the town and the Charente river. In short, a must-do walk.
We recommend the following beautiful panoramas:
- After Place Turenne (at 23 rem de Beaulieu) Watch the Charente river, the comic book museum and the status of Corto Maltese located on the Hugo Pratt footbridge. General Goué took off from here with the first flying wing, the first Delta plane!
- 6 Boulevard Pasteur: admire the painted wall “La fille des remparts
- At the level of the Carnot statue: enjoy a beautiful panorama on the roofs of Angoulême and its Golf d’Angoulême.
For fans of vintage cars, the Circuit des Remparts is an event that brings together about 200 classic cars every year in September.
3. ◊ Saint Peter’s Cathedral: its incredible architecture ◊
This magnificent cathedral, the most beautiful of the Charente, dates from the 12th century (Romanesque architecture). It was then modified in the 19th century by Paul Abadie (the architect of the Sacré Coeur, not just anyone!), then its facade was completely renovated in 2019. Its equally grand interior is open to the public free of charge.
Right next to the cathedral, is the Saint Paul high school where the former president François Mitterrand went to college! His political future may be played out in these corridors 😉
Open every day from 9am to 6pm + visit of the treasure (fee required)
4. ◊ The old town: its lovely alleys and squares ◊
Once on the plateau, the heights of Angoulême, explore the historic center, its small streets and its emblematic buildings.
- The magnificent Halles d’Angoulême where the covered market is held every morning (except on Mondays) with numerous fruit, vegetable, fish, meat and cheese vendors and a restaurant section (we recommend“Le triangle des halles” and its excellent burger)
- The street of the 3 ladies and the alleys around, with all its bars and restaurants
- Thecity hall of Angoulême stands on the site of the former castle of the counts, of which only the keep of the Lusignans (13th century) and the tower of the Valois (15th century) remain.
Don’t forget to look at the street signs, in the shape of bubbles, comics are everywhere in Angoulême!
5. ◊ The comic book museum: its photogenic building ◊
The comic book museum is housed in a huge industrial building that has been extremely well renovated.
It houses permanent and temporary collections. The works are presented chronologically, including some original plates. The museum takes around 2 hours to visit. We’ve been there several times, as Matthieu is a comics fan and the temporary exhibitions change regularly.
For the youngest, the museum may lack a little interaction, to compensate for this pleasant reading corners have been installed. The place is usually full of children!
At the very least, we advise you to come and see this magnificent building, which is extremely photogenic, and then cross the Hugo Pratt footbridge where Corto Maltese, in bronze, proudly poses, his gaze directed skywards!
The museum is located on the lower part of the city, next to the river Charente, and can be reached by car from the bridge on the rue de Saintes, or on foot from the city center via the Hugo Pratt bridge (Magelis bridge). Full price 10€, more information on the official website, address : Quai de la Charente 16000 Angoulême and library in the VaisseauMœbius at 121 rue de Bordeaux 16000.
6. ◊ Enjoying the sunset from the golf course ◊
For those who enjoy this sport, an 18-hole course overlooking the city offers a breathtaking view of the Angoulême plateau.
For our part, we’re going to Calvary cross located on the outer edge of the golf course, you can park in front of the Chambres d’hôtes de Champs-Fleuri (parking Calvary Père le Bideau), then settle down on the grass to enjoy the beautiful sunset lights (the famous golden hours) on the plateau.
Don’t forget to pack your picnic to enjoy the view and have a great time!
Si vous souhaitez dormir dans un endroit calme et arboré, aux portes de la ville, nous vous conseillons la Chambres d’hôtes de Champs-Fleuri.
Les chambres rustiques sont décorées avec gout et surtout depuis la piscine vous aurez une vue panoramique sur les remparts.
7. ◊ Cruising and water activities on the Charente: along the water ◊
In order to discover the wild and wooded banks of the Charente, you can take a 1h30 commented cruise. You will follow the old towpaths and you will also cross locks.
It is always a pleasant moment to let yourself be carried along the water in order to observe the surrounding nature. The crew will give you details and explanations about the history of the Charente and Angoulême.
You can also rent a motorboat, pedalos or canoes to explore the banks of the Charente on your own. An activity that always pleases young and old alike!
8. ◊ The comic book festival: a must ◊
This festival is the largest event dedicated to comics in France. It attracts nearly 200,000 visitors each year in January. More than 2,000 authors come to the festival during 4 days.
In 2023, the festival will celebrate its 50th anniversary, if you want to participate in the event, think of booking your hotel in Angoulême very quickly.
The different spaces (heated) spread out in the city propose, exhibitions which present the work of the authors, signing sessions (with often a lot of waiting), workshops of initiation to the comic book, shows, local associations…
When we were students at the IUT of Angoulême, we exhibited during the festival to present an association, animate a stand on oral protection and collect funds for it! A great experience, four intense days with always a lot of people on our stand!
In short, a must for all readers of comics (adults or youth), comics and manga!
9. ◊ Marquet Island: exploring an oasis of greenery ◊
We were always amazed to see this little corner of nature, so close to the center of Angoulême and 2 minutes walk from the National Comic Strip Center, accessible from the Magelis footbridge, at the level of the Corto Maltese statute.
It is an area classified Natura 2000, some people find it a bit overgrown. Indeed, it is sometimes necessary to raise the feet to avoid brambles or nettles, it is a will of the town hall to let the nature take again life.
It is also a bathing area, not regulated, especially near the lock, because the water is extremely clear.
It takes about 1 hour to walk around the island, starting from thelock, then through the bamboo forest, the old allotmentsand finally exploring the opposite shore. Along the route, explanatory panels have been placed to learn more about the history of the island.
We particularly appreciated this green lung during the heat waves!
10. ◊ Charentaise: the souvenir to bring back ◊
We couldn’t make a top 10 without including the most famous product of Angoulême: the famous Charentaise, made according to the sew-and-turn technique. Unfortunately there is no longer a workshop in Angoulême itself.
The nearest workshop is located in La Rochefoucauld-en-Angoumois ” L’Atelier Charentaises, the french slippers “.
the Charentaises workshop can be visited on Mondays from 1pm to 5:30pm and on Fridays from 9am to 12pm (the workshop is closed in August).
Our itinerary to visit Angoulême in 1 day on foot [carte]
Morning: the historic center, its painted walls and its beautiful views
Start your exploration of the city center by the Saint Pierre d’Angoulême cathedral (A) then continue to the Carnot statue (B) along the ramparts. Then walk through New York Square (C), watch the theater on your right, and exploreCity Hall (D). Go down the rue Hergé (E), without missing the fresco “Natacha et le P’tit bout d’chique”, up to its statue then join the painted wall“La fille des remparts” (F) by going down the rue d’Aguesseau.
To finish, enter the market hall (G) and then continue through the alleys of the old town (H) to the mural“Memory of the XXth Heaven” (I) and end with the mural Titeuf (J).
Then eat in one of the many restaurants in the city center (our recommendation below).
It takes about 2 hours to complete the 2km course!
Afternoon: the comic book museum
In the afternoon, you can reach the Hugo Pratt footbridge (Magelis) by crossing the garden under the ramparts (about 1km on foot). Then you can visit the museum of the comic strip and finally you can explore theIle Marquet, the green lung of Angoulême!
Visiting Angoulême with your family
To explore downtown Angoulême with your family, you can download the Terra aventure mobile geocaching app: Zegraff fait son comics trip, simply brilliant with or without children!
How does Terra Aventura work? the application proposes routes in different places in New Aquitaine, players visualize their position on the map and must answer the riddles to advance from stage to stage. We love the idea of this application, which is a real treasure hunt, as we are guided to explore the cities and learn all sorts of things about history, architecture, gastronomy… All this in a fun way, for young and old alike!
Allow 2h30 for the entire route, which takes in some of Angoulême’s most emblematic landmarks.
How to come to Angoulême ?
Angoulême is a city well served by public transportation, several options are available to you:
- By TGV, with the high speed line, Angoulême is easily accessible and the station is located 10 minutes walk from the city center:
– Paris Montparnasse – Angoulême: count 1h45 (shortest travel time)
– Poitiers – Angoulême: about 45 minutes
– Bordeaux – Angoulême: about 40 minutes
If you wish to visit the surroundings of Angoulême you can rent a car at the train station.
- You can also come by Blablacar, an ecological and economical solution or by bus.
Where to sleep?
➡️Nous We recommend you stay at the Austerlitz residence in Angoulême, located in a beautiful building next to the town hall. We opted for an apartment with a very pleasant patio for aperitifs. The apartment was very clean and the bedding was of a high standard. Excellent value for money (around €78/night).
The apartments are equipped with a dining area, which is an important criterion for us in order to give us the choice of having our meals in the accommodation or outside.
➡️Nous also recommends AppartsHôtel Villa côté plateau, in a tastefully renovated former town house, for its comfort and excellent location on the plateau, next to the town hall in the heart of the historic center. You can visit Angoulême entirely on foot. In short, ideal accommodation! (approx. €100 / night)
Once again we recommend that you book your accommodation several months in advance during the comic book festival.
Where to eat?
- Siam gourmet: an excellent Thai restaurant (Thai pasta, curry) located in a lovely street in the city center, very good value for money (13€ on average per dish)
- La Cour: also in the city center, offers fresh and well-cooked products in a beautiful garden + Sunday brunch for 25€.
- A la cantonaise: a very good Chinese restaurant, cooked with fresh products from the starter to the desserts (10€ on average for a dish)
- The unmissable Black Cat and Blues Rock café for a drink on the terrace
- Les Sources de Fontbelle is Angoulême’s Michelin-starred restaurant, where chef Guillaume Veyssière and his team offer delicious, refined cuisine in magnificent surroundings! Go ahead and make a reservation!
What to do around Angoulême ?
- Visit the gabarrier village of Saint Simon and the abbey of Saint Etienne de Bassac, then sleep in the sublime Tiny House La Petite Garenne. We loved the calm of the place, the beauty of the tiny and its Nordic bath, about 30 minutes from Angoulême.
- Explore the 11th-century Renaissance Château de La Rochefoucauld, about 30 minutes from Angoulême.
- Taste Cognac in the heart of the vineyards and learn more about the distillery techniques. Book online your tasting (duration 2h30) ! about 45 minutes from Angoulême
- Don’t miss one of the “Most Beautiful Villages in France” Aubeterre-sur-Dronne, with the highest underground church in Europe, about 50 minutes from Angoulême
- Stroll through the lovely village of Confolens which has preserved many medieval buildings the Donjon, the beautiful half-timbered houses, and its Gallo-Roman bridge, about 55 minutes from Angoulême
- Visit the city of Périgueux, its markets, its Saint Front cathedral as well as its numerous Gallo-Roman and medieval buildings! In short, a must-see, about 1h15 from Angoulême.
We wish you a wonderful stay! Feel free to drop us a line below to let us know if you’re planning this trip, ask any questions you may have here or on Instagram, we’ll get back to you with great pleasure.