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Angoulême coat of arms
Angoulême (France)
region Nouvelle-Aquitaine
Department Charente ( prefecture )
Arrondissement Angoulême
Canton Angoulême-1
Community association Grand Angoulême
Coordinates 45 ° 39 ′  N , 0 ° 10 ′  E Coordinates: 45 ° 39 ′  N , 0 ° 10 ′  E
height 25-130 m
surface 21.85 km 2
Residents 41,740 (January 1, 2017)
Population density 1,910 inhabitants / km 2
Post Code 16000
INSEE code

View over the city of Angoulême

Angoulême ( Occitan Engoleime or Engoulaeme ) is the capital of the Charente department in western France in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region and has 41,740 inhabitants (as of January 1, 2017). The average altitude is 100 meters above sea level.

Angoulême is known as the city of comics through the Cité internationale de la bande dessinée et de l'image and the Festival international de la bande dessinée . The city was awarded the state title Ville d'art et d'histoire ("City of Art and History") and attracts numerous tourists.


Angoulême is located on a hill about 100 m high above the Charente at an altitude of about 50 and 130 meters above sea level. d. M .; the next larger city is Cognac, about 45 km (driving distance) to the west .

Population development

year 1800 1851 1901 1954 1999 2013
Residents 13,000 21,155 37,650 43,170 43,171 41,970

The population growth in the 19th and 20th centuries is essentially due to immigration from the rural regions in the area. After the peak in the 1960s, many residents migrated to the surrounding communities because of the significantly lower property prices in the countryside.


The city has always been a place for trade, crafts and services of all kinds. In the 15th and 16th centuries, the city played an important role in exporting wine to England, Holland and the cities of the north. At the same time - due to the abundance of wood and water on the Charente and its tributaries - several paper mills and manufacturers were built. The iron foundries in the suburb of Ruelle-sur-Touvre , which operated from the 17th to the first half of the 20th century , should also be mentioned. In the 20th century, the city developed into a center of French comic and animation production.


Already in pre-Roman times there was a small oppidum of the Gauls at the site of today's Angoulême on a mountain spur dominating the Charente . The later Gallo-Roman settlement was called Iculisma (or Ecolisma ), raised in the 4th century AD at the expense of the Santons to the capital of its own civitas and incorporated into the province of Aquitania secunda . In the 4th than in the 3rd century it became the seat of a diocese founded by St. Ausonius . In 419 the Visigoths conquered the city, from which the Frankish King Clovis I wrested them in 507 and founded a cathedral there.

In the 9th century, the Normans sacked Angoulême. In the first half of the 9th century, the city became the capital of the Angoumois who had been raised to a county . The first two attested counts were Turpion († 863) and his brother Emenon († 866). Charles the Bald then appointed Vulgrin I († 886) as Count of Angoulême, who also owned the Périgord and possibly the Saintonge and the Agenais . Vulgrin I was able to make the count hereditary within his family. His grandson Guillaume II. († around 945) is said to have split their leaders in two halves with a sword while fighting the Vikings, despite his iron armor, and therefore given the nickname Taillefer (ie "iron cutter"). This nickname then became the family name of his descendants, the House of Taillefer , whose members ruled Angoulême until the 13th century.

At the end of the Roman Empire , the enclosing wall of Angoulême had only enclosed the central part of the plateau of the hill rising above the Charente. The fortified count's castle from the 11th to 14th centuries was located east of the castrum . At the end of the 13th century, the city wall was expanded to the southeast.

The economic activities in Angoulême developed little further up to the 12th century. After all, several mint craftsmen can be identified in the 11th century. A suburb was built on the river bank not far from Saint-Cybard Abbey, another near L'Houmeau in connection with a river port built in 1280 especially for the salt trade .

At the end of the 12th century, Richard the Lionheart conquered Angoulême three times. The city received its first privileges in 1203 from the English King John Ohneland , who organized it as a commune in the following year, following the example of Rouen . However, this form of organization did not last long. 1220, the county Angoulême came through the marriage of Isabella with Hugo X of the House of Lusignan . With Gui I († 1308) the male line of Taillefer-Lusignan became extinct, and the French King Philip IV united the county of Angoulême with the Domaine royal . Since then it has served as an appanage for members of the royal family.

In the Treaty of Brétigny (1360) the city and county were ceded to England, but as early as 1373 the inhabitants themselves drove the English garrison and handed their city over to the Duke of Berry. The French King Charles V put the local self-government back into force with a body of 100 pairs . Each year they elected twelve lay judges and a council of twelve and proposed an applicant to the king for the position of mayor . These city rights were confirmed by the subsequent kings. François de Valois, who was first Count of Angoulême, ascended the French throne as Francis I in 1515 and now elevated the county of Angoulême to a duchy. He also gave the city of Angoulême numerous tokens of favor; for example, he granted the port on the Charente exemption from taxes, which promoted the salt trade with the Saintogne.

From 1527 to 1530 Calvin stayed in Angoulême. The city suffered severe damage during the French Wars of Religion , especially after it was conquered by Protestant troops under Coligny in 1568 . In 1636 Angoulême and the surrounding area were the center of a croquant revolt . During the wars of the Fronde in the middle of the 17th century , the city remained loyal to the king and retained its privileges, which it and its old municipal organization retained until 1765. In the 18th century, Angoulême was the capital of the Angoumois province and the seat of a royal Prévôt and a Sénéchaussée .


The Musée archéologique displays prehistoric finds . The medieval remains include the listed fortifications from the 12th and 13th centuries (changed in the 16th and 17th centuries); Two towers from the former castle have been preserved at the current town hall, the Tour Lusignan (13th century) and the Tour de Valois (15th century). The former bishop's palace (12th, 15th and 18th centuries) now houses the city museum.

Among the sacred buildings, the St-Pierre cathedral, the St-André church (12th and 16th centuries) and the former chapel of the Cordeliers (13th-15th centuries) and the monks' dormitory (16th century) should be emphasized . In the 19th century Paul Abadie the Elder built the church of St-Jacques , his son of the same name, restorer of the cathedral, the neo-Romanesque church of St-Martial and the neo-Gothic church of St-Ausone .

Museums worth seeing are:

  • Musée d'Angoulême
  • Musée de la Société archéologique et historique de Charente
  • Regional Art Contemporain Fund (FRAC)
  • Musée de la Résistance et de la Déportation ( affiliated to the Archives départementales de la Charente since 2009 )
  • Museum of paper
  • Center national de la Bande dessinée et de l'Image

St Pierre Cathedral

Saint Pierre - west facade

The late Romanesque cathedral of St-Pierre (1105–1128), seat of the Roman Catholic diocese of Angoulême , was built in a very short time. It is an example of the Aquitaine domed churches widespread in this region . These are assigned to the so-called "Périgord School" after the most important building in Périgueux in this group of sacred buildings. The characteristic of this typical construction is the arching of the nave with successive domes .

The multi-storey facade of the cathedral, divided by five arches, is adorned with rich sculptures and is important for the history of Romanesque architectural sculpture in south-west France; however, it suffered from a restoration carried out by Paul Abadie in the 19th century .


The Festival International de la Bande Dessinée d'Angoulême , one of the most famous comic festivals in Europe, takes place annually in Angoulême .

Balzac's novel Lost Illusions is set in Angoulême .

Sources of income

Angoulême is the center of the local wine-growing region. Sources of income are viticulture and wine trade, as well as tourism, the paper industry, mechanical engineering and the electronics industry.


The city is easy to reach by motorway. The Angoulême-Cognac airport is among others Ryanair from London Stansted served.

Public transport

The station building

The city's train station is north of the old town on the Paris – Bordeaux line . The high-speed train Train à grande vitesse connects the city with Paris in 2 hours 10 minutes. There are also TER connections to Poitiers , Limoges , Bordeaux and Royan .

From 1900 to 1933 a tram operated with seven lines in the city. Nowadays, buses of the Société d'économie mixte des transports du grand Angoulême (STGA) carry the brunt of public transport.

Town twinning

The city of Angoulême has partnerships with the following cities



Individual evidence

  1. a b c Ch. Higounet: Angoulême . In: Lexicon of the Middle Ages (LexMA). Volume 1, Artemis & Winkler, Munich / Zurich 1980, ISBN 3-7608-8901-8 , Sp. 639.
  2. Ferdinand Haug : Iculisma. In: Paulys Realencyclopadie der classischen Antiquity Science (RE). Volume IX, 1, Stuttgart 1914, column 858.
  3. a b c d e Angoulême , in La Grande Encyclopédie , 1886–1902, Vol. 2, p. 1167.
  4. Angoulême (Comté) , in La Grande Encyclopédie , 1886–1902, Vol. 2, p. 1169.
  5. a b c d Ch. Higounet: Angoulême . In: Lexicon of the Middle Ages (LexMA). Volume 1, Artemis & Winkler, Munich / Zurich 1980, ISBN 3-7608-8901-8 , Sp. 640.
  6. ^ Henry Kamen: The European popular uprisings 1550-1660 and the structure of the revolts . In: Winfried Schulze (ed.): European peasant revolts of the early modern times , Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1982, ISBN 3-518-27993-9 , p. 151.

Web links

Commons : Angoulême  - collection of images, videos and audio files