Angoulême is a French commune, the capital of the Charente department, in the Poitou-Charentes region of southwestern France. Located on a plateau overlooking a meander of the Charente River, the city is nicknamed the "balcony of the southwest". The city proper's population is a little less than 50,000 but it is the centre of an urban area of 110,000 people extending more than fifteen kilometres (9.3 miles) from east to west. Formerly the capital of Angoumois in the Ancien Régime, Angoulême was a fortified town for a long time and was highly coveted due to its position at the centre of many roads important to communication so therefore suffered many sieges. From its tumultuous past the city, perched on a rocky spur, inherited a large historical, religious, and urban heritage which attracts a lot of tourists. Nowadays Angoulême is at the centre of an agglomeration which is one of the most industrialised regions between Loire and Garonne (the paper industry was established in the 16th century, a foundry and electromechanical engineering developed more recently). It is also a commercial and administrative city with its own university of technology and a vibrant cultural life. This life is dominated by the famous Angoulême International Comics Festival that contributes substantially to the international renown of the city. These images of various streets are taken in the old town. They have been converted to a gritty black and white.
© Neil Cooling Photography