Through our Lens:

Angoulême, France


Walking through the streets of Angoulême you are transported back in time.  It’s not hard to see why Wes Anderson picked this magical place as the setting of The French Dispatch.  The city has a rich history and an bright future.  More recently known as “Ville de l’Image” which means literally “City of the Image”, Angoulême produces half of France’s animated production.  From paper production to graphic arts hub, the streets are an homage to the city’s creative past & present.  Murals on the sides of picturesque facades are waiting to greet you around every corner.  If Angoulême was not on your radar, there’s a good chance it will be soon enough.

Successive Counts and Dukes would call the castle home, making many additions to the buildings along the way. Because of this, the structure is a veritable mixed bag of architectural techniques. But by the early 17th century, the dukes no longer kept residence in the Castle, and instead the Governors moved in. This royal lineage effectively ended with the death of Louis Antoine who was King for approximately 20 minutes before he abdicated the throne and and fled France in exile during the July Revolution.

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1 place de l'Hôtel de Ville - CS 42216, Cedex, 16000 Angoulême, France

Société Archéologique et Historique de la Charente

Founded in Angoulême in 1844, the SAHC is one of the oldest French learned societies.  Exhibits range from sculptures & paintings, to an outdoor collection of ancient Gallo-Roman mosaics, along with nearly 40,000 books, bulletins and an iconographic collection comprised of nearly 5,000 drawings, engravings and photographs relating to the Charente.

44 Rue de Montmoreau, 16000 Angoulême, France

The museum has roots going back to the early 19th century, when the city was gifted ten paintings by local amateur painter Ringuet François, who in his short 45 years would dream of organizing a museum in his beloved hometown. It wouldn’t be until 1869 that an institution would be opened in what is currently the towns city hall, where François would unfortunately be described as a “very mediocre painter.” Only in 1920 was the museum finally established in its current location.

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Square Girard II, Rue Corneille, 16000 Angoulême, France

Théâtre Angoulême

Welcoming more than 50,000 spectators with nearly 200 performances each season, the Théâtre Angoulême takes center stage.  Designed by architect Antoine Soudée, the theatre dates back to the late 19th century.  The facade is decorated with sculptures and statues representing Comedy & Drama and fittingly inscribed with the Latin phrase Castigat ridendo mores meaning “Comedy/Satire criticises customs through humour”.

Av. des Maréchaux, 16000 Angoulême, France

Halles d'Angoulême

Bon appetit!  If you’re hungry you came to the right place.  Les Halles is the perfect pitstop for sweet, savory & everything in between. The iron and glass structure has all the hustle and bustle of the Halles Centrales in Paris in which it was modeled after.  Rumor has it you could find the cast & crew from The French Dispatch most days enjoying a quick lunch between scenes.

5-1 Pl. des Halles, 16000 Angoulême, France

Musée du Papier

Thanks to the purity of its waters and rich limestone soil, the region was the preferred place for paper production in the 16th Century.  The development of printing considerably increased the need for paper and by 1656, sixty-six mills were counted in Angoumois. Housed in a former mill, Musée du Papier dives into the city’s deep roots of the paper industry.

134 Rue de Bordeaux, 16000 Angoulême, France

The age of papermaking may be widely waning, but master paper-maker Jacques Bréjoux continues to keep the art alive. Manning the helm of the Moulin du Verger paper mill for the past 50 years, Jacques practices his craft in the same manner as was common when the mill opened in the early 1500s.

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16400 Puymoyen, France

Musée de la Bande Dessinée

From paper production to graphic arts hub, the streets are an homage to the city’s creative past & present and the Musée de la Bande Dessinée is no exception.  Here the 150-year evolution of the comic strip is told through a collection that includes more than 110,000+ magazines & comic books.  It is the largest comic strip museum in Europe and arguably the world!

Quai de la Charente, 16000 Angoulême, France

Art is often a study in contrasts – how colors work against each other or the relationship between objects in the foreground versus the background. In modern, and especially post-modern thought, one contrasts between the traditional and the avant-garde, the old and the new. In Angoulême, there is a constant play between its ancient architecture and modern culture. Now known as the Ville de l’Image, or City of the Image, it is home to the Lycée de l’Image et du Son d’Angoulême, a high school that specializes in visual and audiovisual communication.

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303 Av. de Navarre, 16000 Angoulême, France

Église Notre-Dame d'Obézine

Inspired by the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris, Notre-Dame d’Obézine took nearly 70 years to complete.  The spire was the last to be completed in 1960 and can be spotted from just about anywhere in the city.  Including the background of several scenes from The French Dispatch.  

Rue des Bezines, 16000 Angoulême, France

Palais de Justice

Built in 1826 on former site of the convent of the Jacobins, the Palace of Justice dominates Place Francis Louvel.  Where the convent’s garden once lived is now a public square where cafe’s offer outdoor dining around the adorne 19th century fountain.

Pl. Francis Louvel, 16000 Angoulême, France

Just off the Avenue du Président Wilson, the Angoulême Cathedral cuts an impressive figure in the town that bears its name. The fourth such building to stand at this exact spot, the current building was erected in 1128. Upon first glance, It is hard to ignore the highly decorated and flourished architecture – The façade is decorated with dozens of sculptures that depict the Last Judgement and Ascension of Jesus Christ. A model of both the Latin Cross and Romanesque architectural styles, the Cathedral in Angoulême has plenty of stories to tell.

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1 Pl. Saint-Pierre, 16000 Angoulême, France

Hôtel de Bardines

Built for a member of the Angoulême nobility in the 1700’s, it is the most important mansion existing in Angoulême in its original state.  Acquired in 1913 by his great-great-grandfather the current owner, Philippe Fougère, inherited the property 80 years later.  Philippe and his wife Odile organize visits to share its history and more recently also share the roll the mansion played in The French Dispatch.  The exterior and garden can be spotted in a few scenes and the interior was recreated offsite for others.  The lovely Odile even made a quick cameo in the movie!

81 Rue de Beaulieu, 16000 Angoulême, France

Bourgoin Cognac

You can’t talk about this particular region of France without the mention of cognac.  The family-run company Bourgoin Cognac dates back to nearly 100 years. Now led by Frédéric Bourgoin, who is the first generation to bottle it.

14 Rue du Puit, 16290 Saint-Saturnin, France

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