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443km (275 miles) SW of Paris; 116km (72 miles) NE of Bordeaux

The old town of Angoulême hugs a hilltop between the Charente and Aguienne rivers. You can visit it on the same day you visit Cognac. The town was the center of the French paper industry in the 17th century, a tradition that carries on today: Angoulême (pop. 46,000) remains the center of French comic-strip production. Rolling off the presses are the latest adventures of Tintin, Astérix, and Lucky Luke. During 3 days in January, Angoulême is the site of the Festival de la Bande Dessinée (Festival of Cartoons), the centerpiece of which is the Cité Internationale de la Bande Dessinée et de I'Image (CNBDI). During its run, cartoon artists from around the world gather to present examples of their work and lecture about their art. For more information, contact the festival (tel. 05-45-97-86-50; www.bdangouleme.com), or the tourist office.