A Guide to Angouleme in Charente, Poitou Charentes, France

Geography and Transport Links

Angouleme is the Capital of the Charente, and is located to the South and East of that Department (at an altitude of 27m to 130m), near to the borders with Haute Vienne (Limousin) and Dordogne (Aquitaine). The RN10 (Poitiers-Bordeaux) passes by the West of the City, and the RN141 runs along the West-East axis carrying traffic between Cognac and Limoges. Angouleme has an airport to the North, with flights direct to the UK 3 times per week. The City is also on the TGV mainline, with connection to Paris possible in 2h20min. Angouleme has an area of 21.85km2, and the Charente River runs through the centre, with this being the most inland navigable port of the river. We have many More France Vacation Information, Travel Review and Attractions Articles Now Available.


Climate here is Maritime, and therefore temperate with clearly defined seasons. Average Summer temperatures are between 24C to 27C (13C-15C night), and in Winter this drops to 9C to 10C (3C night). As with much of Poitou Charentes, the Autumn can be warm, with average temperatures in Sept of 23C and Oct 19C. October and November are usually the wettest months. Angouleme is part of a zone which receives over 2000 hours of sunshine per year.


Established late in the 10th Century, the town is encircled by the Remparts [boulevards] above the old city walls, with the northern offering the best view of the Charente Valley below. The town has significant architecture such as Cathedral Saint-Pierre which is a Romanesque-Byzantine structure from the 11th and 12th Century, and the 19th Century Hotel de Ville. There is a covered market at Les Halles on the site of an old Jail that was restored in 2004. Nearby, is the Chateau La Rochefoucauld [20km], considered one of the most magnificent in France.

Every year in January the town hosts the Festival International de la Bande Dessinée (Comic Strip), which attracts more than 250,000 visitors. Also to visit is the “Cité International de la Bande Dessinée et de l’Image” a comic museum, open Tuesday to Sunday. July sees the Garden NEF Party Festival, where around 17,000 people gather at the Ferme des Valettes near the centre of the town to see top rock music bands. September sees the annual classic car rally on the Circuit des Remparts, a 1.3km street racing circuit. In November the town hosts Ludoland, a multimedia festival dedicated to toys and games (4 day event). Also in November is the Gastronomades (now in its 12th year), an international festival of flavours, hosted at 7 venues around the town centre. The event includes competitions, tournaments, debates and exhibitions, and attracts around 100,000 visitors.


Since the 14th Century Angouleme has been connected with the paper-making and printing industry, with the most famous export being RIZLA+ tobacco rolling papers. Currently the largest businesses in Angouleme are Leroy-Somer (3 branches manufacturing alternators and pumps) and Sajon (Intermarche Supermarkets). Angouleme is part of the Angouleme economic zone, which has an unemployment rate of 9.7%, compared against the regional rate of 8.6% and the national rate of 9.1% (INSEE 2006).


As you would expect from a city of this size all amenities are available. There are over 50 restaurants offering all kinds of cuisine including seafood, Indian, Vietnamese, Italian, Japanese and Mexican. The nearest swimming pool is a St Yriex sur Charente (3.5km away). Angouleme CFC plays its football in the Division d’Honneur of Ligue Centre Ouest, and the rugby team SC Angouleme plays in the Championnat de France – Federale 3. Activities available include table tennis, gymnastics, athletics, canoeing, badminton, billiards martial arts and parachuting.


There is a choice of 32 state Nursery/Primary schools, 6 state High School (College), and 1 state College (Lycee). In addition there is 1 private option from Nursery to College, through the Catholic Institution Saint Paul and 1 private option from Primary to College, Sainte Marthe Chavagnes, plus 1 other Catholic primary school. There are a number of options at Lycee level, with a number of professional colleges available. A European School of Visual Arts here offers a Comic Strip Masters Degree. We have many More France Vacation Information, Travel Review and Attractions Articles Now Available.

Key Stats

Population: 43171(INSEE 1999)

Postal Code: 16000

Rail Link: Yes (TGV)

Nearest Airport: Angouleme, Brie Champniers – (12km/8mi – 18mins)

Nearest Channel Port: Caen (484km/301mi – 4h42mins)

Nearest Seaside Beach: St Georges de Didonne (106km/66mi – 1h46mins)

Commerce: Many shops, bars, restaurants and facilities

Economy: Paper, Manufacturing, Commerce

To visit: Cathedral Saint Pierre, Chocolatier Letuffe (Trois Palis)

Events: Bande Dessinee (Jan)

Garden NEF Party (Rock Festival) (July)

Circuit des Remparts (Sept)

Ludoland (Nov)

Gastronomades (Culinary Festival) (Nov)