We both love and know very well Angoulême. Matthieu is from Angoulême, his family still lives there, and I studied 2 years at Angoulême. We often go there during weekends or vacations to meet our family and friends.
Angoulême city is known for its comic book festival, which takes place every year in January. The city is also full of small treasures, its route of painted walls, its medieval center, the Charente river… places to explore all year!
The city is very well located in France only 1h30 from Paris and 40 minutes from Bordeaux by train.
We spent a part of our summer there, after our 10 months in a camper. We took the opportunity to discover again the city, and we share with you, below, our 10 must-sees and do, and our best itinerary to visit Angoulême by foot in 1 day .
We also give you our secrets to visit Angoulême as a local, Angoumoisin (name from people living there). Enjoy your reading!
- What to do and see in Angoulême ? our 10 things to do absolutely :
- 1 ◊ Route of the painted walls ◊
- 2 ◊ Tour of ramparts: unique point of view ◊
- 3. ◊ Saint Peter’s Cathedral: its incredible architecture ◊
- 4. ◊ Old town: walk and taste local products ◊
- 5. ◊ Comic strip museum in industrial building ◊
- 6. ◊ Enjoy best sunset from golf ◊
- 7. ◊ Cruising and water activities on Charente rive ◊
- 8. ◊ International Comic Strip festival ◊
- 9. ◊ Marquet Island: exploring an oasis of green◊
- 10. ◊ Famous slipper “Charentaise”: best souvenir to bring back ◊
- Our itinerary to visit Angoulême in 1 day by foot [map]
- How to come to Angoulême from Paris, Bordeaux by train or car…?
- Where to sleep?
- Where to eat in good restaurants?
- What to do around Angoulême ?
What to do and see in Angoulême ? our 10 things to do absolutely :
1 ◊ Route of the painted walls ◊
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 Wall 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”…
Application is very usfull, even if we know well Angoulême, tanks to interactive map it’s easy to find the way, 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 ◊ Tour of ramparts: unique point of view ◊
The city of Angoulême was built on a top of a hill, surrounded by ramparts, built in the 4th century, during Roman period. They were then rebuilt and enlarged in the Middle Ages. Today, walk along ramparts offers beautiful views of the city and the river. A walk that is a must.
Don’t miss 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” Max Cabannes
- 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 ◊
It’s 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 sacred heart), 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!
Open every day from 9am to 6pm + visit of the treasure (fee required)
4. ◊ Old town: walk and taste local products ◊
Once on the plateau, the heights of Angoulême, explore the historic center, its small streets and its emblematic buildings.
- Superb Angoulême Halles, 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!
In order to explore the city center you can download the geocaching application Terra Adventure: Zegraff makes his comic trip simply great with or without children! Count 2h30 to realize the whole course which passes by the emblematic places of Angoulême.
5. ◊ Comic strip museum in industrial 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 in chronological order with some original plates. The museum can be visited in 2 hours. We have already been here several times because Matthew is a comic book 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!
We advise you at least to come and see this magnificent building, extremely photogenic, and to cross the Hugo Pratt footbridge where Corto Maltese, in bronze, poses his glance directed towards the sky!
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. ◊ Enjoy best sunset from golf ◊
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 go to the Croix du Calvaire located on the outer edge of the golf course, you can park in front of the Champs-Fleuri B&B (parking Calvaire Père le Bideau), then settle on the grass to enjoy the beautiful light at sunset on the plateau.
Don’t forget to pack your picnic to enjoy the view and have a great time!
If you want to sleep in a quiet, tree-lined location, at the gates of the city, we recommend you Bed and Breakfast Champs-Fleuri. Rustic rooms are tastefully decorated and especially from the swimming pool you will have a panoramic view of the ramparts.
7. ◊ Cruising and water activities on Charente rive ◊
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 without a license, pedal boats, canoes, to explore the banks of the Charente by yourself. An activity that always pleases young and old alike!
8. ◊ International Comic Strip festival ◊
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 green◊
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. ◊ Famous slipper “Charentaise”: best 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 by foot [map]
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!
How to come to Angoulême from Paris, Bordeaux by train or car…?
You can get Angoulême by car or public transports, several options are available to you:
- By TGV–train, 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
You can book your train ticket on official SNCF website
- If you wish to visit the surroundings of Angoulême you can hire a car at the train station.
- You can also come by Blablacar, an ecological and economical solution or by bus.
Where to sleep?
We recommend you to stay at the AppartsHotel Villa on old city center, this old house who has been tastefully renovated, its comfortable and very well located, next to the town hall in the historic center. You can visit Angoulême only by foot. That’s perfect accommodation!
The apartments are equipped with a kitchen, you will have choice of having your meals in the accommodation or outside.
Once again we recommend that you book your accommodation several months in advance during the comic book festival.
Where to eat in good restaurants?
- 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, it is the starred of Angoulême, the kitchen is delicious, refined and the setting is magnificent! Go ahead and make a reservation!
What to do around Angoulême ?
- Visit the 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-style 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 an excellent stay in Angoulême! Do not hesitate to leave us a comment to tell us if you plan to get there, to leave us 5 stars or to ask any questions you may have, we will answer you with pleasure!