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The commune of Charleville-Mézières was created in 1966 by the fusion of two adjacent communities, Charleville and Mézières. Another commune, Le Theux, had already been merged into Mézières in 1965. It has a population of about 51,000. The inhabitants of Charleville were known as Carolopolitains; those of Mézières as Macériens. The inhabitants of the new merged community are called Carolomacériens.
Puppetry is an important part of the cultural life of Charleville-Mézières, which is called the "World Capital of Puppetry Arts". An international puppet festival has been held there every three years since 1961 and became biennial event in 2011. The town is also home to the world headquarters of UNIMA as well as the International Puppetry Institute (French: Institut International de la Marionnette), which is housed in a historic building featuring a giant automaton of a puppeteer who performs a puppet show every hour on the hour.
The poet Arthur Rimbaud (1854–1891) was born in Charleville. The Rimbaud museum (fr) is located in the old water mill (Le Vieux Moulin) to the north of the town.
City buses are run by TAC, Transports de l’Agglomération de Charleville-Mézières. The Gare de Charleville-Mézières railway station offers connections to Paris (by TGV), Reims, Lille, Metz and regional destinations.