Arriving to France Sunday 5 March 2023, I took the train from Charles de Gaulle Airport to Angouleme, 30 km east of Jarnac where the next morning, I had an appointment with Cognac Hine.
Although I first visited Jarnac and Cognac 30 years ago, it was only my second visit to Angouleme as there are no Cognac houses based there. I was very happy I overnighted there for the first time.
Angouleme is the comics capital of France.
Held since 1974, the Angouleme International Comics Festival celebrated its 50th Anniversary in January this year. The annual event is the second largest comics festival in Europe after the Lucca Comics & Games Festival of Italy and the third biggest in the world after that and the largest Comiket of Japan, held twice a year in Tokyo.
Every January over four days, otherwise somewhat sleepy Angouleme is a hive of innumerable, energy charged events as more than 200,000 visitors – including some 7,000 professionals and 800 journalists – pack into the French town.
If you visit outside the Angouleme International Comics Festival, you can still get a hint of the town’s devotion to, and position in, the comics world with the many murals on its buildings and the vivid illustrations at the railway station.
Jardin de Kashmir is an institution in Angouleme. Started in 1987 as the Taj Mahal, it was bought by Said Akhtar (pictured), renamed and reopened on 23 March 1993. Dedicated to his birthplace Kashmir, the restaurant will celebrate its 30th Anniversary next week. Proprietor Akhtar has a lot to be proud and thankful for since arriving in 🇫🇷on 7 February 1987. Almost all the wines at Jardin de Kashmir are also available in half bottles 🥳 I was the only person having wine with lunch when I visited. The French were drinking Cola, beer and mango lassi.