Beijing, the structured order of the Chinese Capital

What a monumental place holds Beijing in our collective imaginary! It promises millenarian culture, imperial refinement and exotic languages.
Of course these are not the things you notice when you arrive at 3 in the morning, struggle with greedy taxi drivers to pay only twice the price to your hostel, which has lost any trace of your reservation (and you have to make a reservation in China, sad !).

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Main Railway station, Beijing, China

Pass this inconveniences, we discover the city, beginning with the diplomatic area, full of embassy guarded by puppet like soldiers. Some hide rare treasure, like the Mongolian Visa.
With luck we also find a very good restaurant (see TIPS, end.)

In the crowd, Summer Palace, Beijing, China

The weather is hot and humid here in Beijing, and so we decide to invite ourself in the former secondary residence of Chinese Emperors : The Summer Palace. Alas, we understand too late that August is the summer month for Chinese : they are everywhere : in front of buildings for the picture, sailing hundreds of pedal boats on the lake, eating ice cream in the parks…
Notwithstanding emperors did have very good taste and the palace is really charming.

Bridge at the summer Palace, Beijing, China

17 pillars bridge, Summer Palace, beijing, China

The same massive amount of people push us away from the Forbidden City, the most ill named place of the world : 80 000 visitors a day!

Entry of the Forbidden City, Beijing, China

Tiananmen Place, Beijing, China

Fortunately the excessive size of Tiananmen place protects it from being really crowded. This place is so huge you can imagine without troubles hundreds of thousands of people gathering when Mao proclaimed the People Republic of China. Mao has now gone into the mausoleum, but his gigantic portrait still watch over the place.

Yue Minjun in the Space Gallery, District 798, Beijing, China

Okay, crowd everywhere, let’s go to a district we thought as more underground : a former electronic factory reconverted into modern art gallery : district 798.
The overall concept is good and it is very nice to walk in this area left in the end of wild artists. Of course the place is also crowded, and the works are often more spectacular than artistic.

In distric 798, Beijing, China

Artistic attraction, District 798, Beijing, China

To appreciate Beijing, you have to meet expert guide, like Abdou and Grégoire, two students of our school who left France to study in China in the University of Tsinghua.
With them we visit their century old campus, full of nice lakes and water lilies, walkways and old buildings. Of course the surrounding area is very students-oriented, and we ty good restaurants and cosy bars.

Xavier, a nice French expatriate, takes it from here and guide us in the Hutong area. Hutongs are traditional Chinese back alleys with familial houses. But some of this street have been reconverted and are a good place to eat skewer with a group of friendly expatriates from all over the world.

With Juanis and Eugenia, Beijing, China

Yet most of the expatriates will be found in the SanLiTun area, the trendy streets of Beijing, with lots of foreign restaurants, wine bars, Irish pubs and expensive night clubs.

Eventually Beijing is a must do in China, as it is probably the city which shows best the greatness of China, both for its culture and diversity.

One comment for “Beijing, the structured order of the Chinese Capital”

  1. Le portrait, juste sous la photo de la place Tien An’men, c’est bien celui de Mao que vous évoquez dans votre commentaire ? (lol)

    Quoiqu’il en soit, pour moi, la place Tien An’men, c’est pas vraiment l’acclamation de Mao qu’elle évoque, hélas.
    Question, à propos de ce reportage : aurait-il été possible, sans subir les ciseaux de la censure, d’évoquer la répression de juin 89 ?

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