A stroll through this charming French city is like walking through an open-air museum. Beautiful murals adorn many of the buildings, transforming their walls into enormous canvases for art.
Angoulême has a long and proud connection with the paper and printing industries. It was once at the nucleus of France’s paper production, supplying the material to the whole country. Later, the local cartoon and graphic novel art scene kept its paper in high demand, even as the industry slipped into a decline in the 20th century.
To celebrate its history with and love of art, the city commissioned murals on many of its buildings, both private and municipal. Pleasant depictions of everyday life cover the walls of some buildings. On others, silly scenes like a farmer laughing with his horse add splashes of delightful humor. An image of elephants and a rhino bursting forward gives one building an exotic feel, while a different mural of robotic figures shooting lasers from their eyes feels like a fantasy-like glimpse of the city’s future.
You can grab a camera and spend a day “mural collecting,” which is a great way to tour the city and get under its artistic skin. All the murals are easily visible from public areas. People are justly quite proud of them, and love to share the beautiful artwork with visitors.
Know Before You Go
The murals are all over the city, on both municipal and private buildings. Start in the city center, then just wander.