North China Travel Program

As the spread of the coronavirus worsens, we see ourselves forced to cancel this trip

From 18 to 29 May 2020 led by Mael Bellec, Chief Curator at the Cernuchi Museum.

DAY 1 Monday May 18 PARIS / PEKIN

Schedules subject to change:

CA 876 Flight (JRS 1-4-6-7): 12h30 / 04h45, Arrival on 2 Day


DAY 2 Tuesday 19 May BEIJING - CHENGDE

Arrival at Beijing airport.

Immigration clearance, baggage claim and customs formalities.

Welcome by your guide and transfer to Chengde (about 3 driving hours).

Breakfast in a local restaurant.

Installation in your rooms. Break time to cool off and rest.

Chengde, the ancient Jehol, located in a mountainous region northeast of Beijing, was the summer residence of the Manchu emperors during the 1994th century. Emperor Kangxi established a grandiose Summer Palace there, with its lakes and pavilions, as well as three temples inspired by the high places of Tibetan Buddhism, including the famous Putuo Zongcheng, a replica of the Potala in Lhassa. The whole has been listed since XNUMX as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city has modernized a lot over the past twenty years. Discovery of the Temple of Universal Peace (Puningsi), one of the two most important outer temples, built by Emperors Kangxi and Qianlong to honor their Tibetan, Mongolian and Kazakh hosts. The model chosen by Qianlong for the temple is Samye, the first Buddhist construction in Tibet, although the first two courtyards are purely Chinese in style.

Welcome dinner at the hotel.

Night at the Qiwanglou hotel ****


DAY 3 Wednesday May 20 CHENGDE

Breakfast at the hotel.

Day dedicated to the discovery of Chengde and its surroundings. Visit of Bishu Shanzhuang, or "mountain hamlet to escape the heat", summer residence of the Manchu emperors, surrounded by a 560 hectare park surrounded by walls. Pavilions, zigzag bridges and kiosks suitable for rest and meditation.

Breakfast in a local restaurant.

Visit of the Potala School Temple (Putuozong shengmiao). It is a replica of the Lhasa Palace-Monastery. Superb view of Chengde from the Golden Pavilion. Discovery of the Temple of Universal Joy.

Banquet of ravioli for dinner, a specialty of North China. These ravioli with various ingredients and various cooking methods are a synthesis of the Chinese culinary art.

Second night in Chengde.



Breakfast at the hotel.

Return to Beijing by road through the Great Wall.

Day trip to the Great Wall, also known as the 10.000 li Wall. It stretches from Shanhaiguan on the east coast to Jiayuguan in the Gobi Desert. The story emphasizes above all the unity of the Great Wall. The construction of the original wall began 2.000 years ago, under the Qin dynasty (221-207 BC), during the unification of China, at the initiative of Emperor Qin Shihuang. Several walls, built by different independent kingdoms to protect themselves from the incursions of nomads, were linked together.

Visit of the Jinshanling pass (located 147 km northeast of Beijing, allow 2h30 / 3h drive), very little touristy part, located in a wild site. It represented a very important strategic point for the defense of Beijing, and the place was endowed with fortresses from the time of the kingdom of the Qi of the North (550-577) until under the Song of the North (960-1127) and the Jin of the North (1115-1234). This section, which extends over 11 km, has the particularity of being built of brick, with a covered walkway paved with terracotta slabs. In this very mountainous region, the architecture has been adapted to the requirements of military strategy by drilling the wall with holes for archers.

Lunch on site at a local restaurant.

Return to Beijing to take the train.

Dinner at a local restaurant in Beijing.

Transfer to the Beijing TGV station.

Departure of the train to Shijiazhuang (Indicative times, subject to change.
: 19h00 / 20h07).

Arrival in Shijiazhuang and transfer to the hotel.

Shijiazhuang is the capital of Hebei Province. We speak the Shijiazhuang dialect of

Mandarin jilu.

Overnight at Jingzhou International **** hotel



Breakfast at the hotel.

Visit of the Hebei Provincial Museum (closed Mondays). Located in Wuhan's Wuchang District of Hubei Province, it is the only comprehensive provincial museum in the province. It collects, protects and exhibits cultural relics discovered in the province. Since 1953, it has collected over 200 cultural relics, including pottery, porcelain, jade, bronze vases, ancient weapons, and ancient musical instruments. Of these cultural relics, 000 are classified as China's first class relics, and 812 are considered national treasures. The Hubei Provincial Museum is divided into three parts: the exhibition hall of a series of bronze bell, the hall of culture of Chu (a state of the Spring and Autumn Period (16BC-770BC)), the overall showroom.

Breakfast in a local restaurant.

Take the road to Handan (180 km, about 2h30 road).

Visit the Handan Museum.

Transfer to the hotel and installation in your rooms.

Dinner in a local restaurant.

Night at the Zhaodu hotel ****


DAY 6 Saturday 23 May HANDAN - TAIYUAN

Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning devoted to an excursion to the North and South Caves of Xiangtangshan Mountain.

Lunch at a local restaurant during a visit.

Transfer to Handan station.

Departure of the high-speed train to Taiyuan (we do not yet have the timetables because the TGV will be in place by the end of 2019)

Dinner in the form of packed lunch on board.

Carry luggage with you as there is no wagon or luggage space on these Chinese high speed trains.

Taiyuan, the bastion of Chinese industry, is located in the center of Shanxi province. Former imperial capital, its name literally means "great plain", in reference to its geographical location in the valley of the Fen river, in the heart of a lake basin with landscapes of strange beauty.

Transfer to the hotel and installation in your rooms.

Night at the Shanxi Grand hotel ***



Breakfast at the hotel.

Visit of the Shanxi museum inaugurated in early 2006 (except Monday, closing day). The history of the province is traced there, you will discover the different aspects of its culture as well as its importance from an economic and artistic point of view through the different periods of Chinese history.

Breakfast in a local restaurant.

Then take the road to Pingyao (125 km, 2 driving hours).

Stop at the Chang family house, a gigantic house built by a family of wealthy merchants from Shanxi who developed the tea trade with Russia. The success of the Chang mansion is due to the strict application of Confucian principles and the special attention they paid to education. Newly restored, it now covers 150.000 square meters. Its interior is vast and the richly decorated apartments, pavilions and large galleries contribute to the enchanting appearance of the place; the well-kept gardens are full of rare plants, pavilions and terraces, adorned with waterfall and pond. If history is the basis of a nation and culture is its spirit, then buildings are its symbol. The Chang mansion is the synthesis of Chinese traditions and the architectural masterpiece of the Qing and Ming periods in Shanxi.

Arrive in Pingyao, transfer to your hotel and check into your rooms.

Pingyao, a city surrounded by ramparts, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997, is a real dive into ancient China. It has remained almost intact since the Ming, a period of commercial boom during which many houses of traditional wooden architecture were built there. It was in the middle of the Qing dynasty that Pingyao saw the emergence of a multitude of shops and businesses: exchange offices, pawn shops, pharmacies, silk and spice stores ... At the start of the industrial era, Pingyao becomes the financial center of China and creates the first banking system. Victim of tensions between "warlords" and social disorder, Pingyao declined at the beginning of the 20th century only to fall into oblivion during the Maoist era. Today, the city has regained its luster and annually hosts an international photography festival.

Tonight, for dinner, tasting of "hand-drawn" (lamian) noodles!

In the evening, we will organize a charming opera performance especially for you

room in the inner courtyard of your guest house.

Night at the Dejuyuan hotel ***



Breakfast at the hotel.

Discovery of the old town of Pingyao with its market tower which dominates the main street: Emblem of the city, this temple also 18m high watchtower, is dedicated to the God of Treasures. The brick and rammed earth ramparts that protect Pingyao have been widened and reshaped over the centuries. Restored 26 times during the Ming and Qing times, the city keeps Visiting the Shuanglin temple (Monastery of the Two Forests) still called Zhongdu si, or monastery of the Middle Capital. It was founded under the Northern Wei (386-535), but most of the buildings date from the Ming and Qing. This temple contains lovely painted clay figurines and statues dating from the Song, Yuan and Ming dynasties. Visit of the Zhenguo temple, a magnificent temple of rare architectural elegance, whose main room dating from the Tang period has very beautiful frescoes.

Lunch in the restaurant of the guest house "Dejuyuan" renowned for its culinary specialties, and again in a building with a square courtyard.

Departure by road towards Wutaishan.

Wutaishan, the “Mount of Five Terraces” (culminating at 3058 m) is one of the four sacred mountains of Buddhism in China, dedicated to Wenshui (Manjusri), the master of Wisdom. Buddhism is still extremely active there, especially in the religious city of Taihuai, where Lamaism and orthodox forms of Mahayana flourish. Visit of the most beautiful monasteries built on the flanks of Wutaishan which each have their own architectural style: Pusading dedicated to Lamaism, Xiandong, the oldest monastery, Longquan the monastery of the Source of the Dragon accessible by a monumental staircase of 108 steps. The site is enchanting and the atmosphere imbued with serenity.

Transfer to the hotel and installation in your rooms.

Dinner in a local restaurant

Night at the Hua Hui hotel ***



Breakfast at the hotel.

Continuation of visits to monasteries that you will not have had time to see the day before.

Breakfast in a local restaurant.

Then take the road to Datong (160 km, 3h road).

In a plain of ocher, austere and bare, Datong and the neighboring caves of Yungang represent one of the milestones of Chinese civilization according to a double avatar, Buddhist and barbarian. A barbaric, but sinized dynasty, that of the Wei of the North, granted its patronage to the religion of the Buddha, thus contributing to the rooting of a faith of foreign origin on Chinese soil. Visit of the Yingxian pagoda, built in 1056 under the Liao dynasty, 67 meters high. It is the only pagoda entirely made of wood still preserved in China. Remarkable carpentry work: there are about sixty types of sculpted consoles according to their utility and their decorative environment. Visit of the Xuankong Si monastery, known as the “suspended monastery”, all in painted wood, founded at the beginning of the XNUMXth century. Floating between heaven and earth, on the side of a cliff, about fifty meters above a torrent, this extraordinary place once served as an inn and place of worship for pilgrims going to Datong.

Transfer to the hotel and installation in your rooms.

Dinner in a local restaurant

Night at the Grand Hotel ****


DAY 10 Wednesday May 27 DATONG - BEIJING

Breakfast at the hotel.

Discovery of the Nine Dragon Wall lit by eastern light in the morning. Excursion to the Yungang Caves, probably the most beautiful set of Buddhist sculptures in China.

Breakfast in a local restaurant.

Visit of the Huayan monasteries of Below and Above, founded in the 684th century. This set depended on the Buddhist sect of Huayan, according to the Sutra of the same name which was instituted under the Tang and benefited from the support of Empress Wu Zetian (705-XNUMX).

Transfer to the brand new Datong TGV station.

Departure of the TGV towards Beijing (Timetables not known to date).

Dinner in the form of a packed lunch.

Arrival at the Beijing TGV station and transfer to your hotel.

First approach to the excessiveness of the capital of the Middle Kingdom, by taking the main avenue Chang'an, the artery that crosses Beijing from east to west.

Night at the Kapok hotel ***


DAY 11 Thursday May 28 BEIJING

Breakfast at the hotel.

Some rooms will be at your disposal during the day to leave your luggage and refresh you in the evening before going to the airport.

Last day dedicated to the discovery of the Chinese capital.

Visit of the National Museum of China (open from 9 a.m. to 17 p.m. except Monday, closing day), located in the heart of Beijing, east of Tian'anmen Square, which has just reopened its doors after more than three years of work renovation. Occupying an area of ​​191 square meters with 900 exhibition halls, the museum is probably becoming the largest museum in the world and expects to receive 49 million visitors, three times more than before. The museum was created to house the art collections that were previously housed in the Natural History Museum and the National Revolutionary Museum. The collection of Chinese antiques from the Neolithic to modern times is exceptional and provides an excellent overview of Chinese art over the centuries.

Breakfast in a local restaurant.

Departure to Tiananmen Square.

Visit of the new Musée de la Capitale (except Monday), in a very beautiful contemporary building, made of glass and steel. On six levels, you will discover the different exhibition rooms, two in number per floor, one square (symbol of the Earth) and one round (symbol of Heaven), and their collections: the ground floor is the reserved area. at temporary exhibitions. Discover old Beijing and stroll through Shishahai, a former district of princely residences, which has become one of the capital's main nightlife spots. During the day, a very provincial calm reigns over this maze of alleys populated with low houses on gray brick courtyard (siheyuan), where jujube and persimmon trees bloom. Ascent to the Charbon hill from where we discover a beautiful panorama of the City. It was built under the Yuan with the earth coming from the digging of the moats and the development of the lakes. Only the emperor had the right to walk there. The late afternoon offers a beautiful light over the city, ideal for taking beautiful photos. Don't hesitate to stop by the Shijia Hutong Museum, which is the first establishment in Beijing specially created to preserve the history of the hutong. Although the capital is dotted with courtyards offering protection either as prominent examples of hutong houses or for their famous former occupants, only this museum has been designated as a full-fledged model of hutong.

In the evening, during dinner, you will taste the Beijing culinary specialty: the famous peking duck. The skin and flesh, skilfully cooked, can be eaten rolled up in small pancakes accompanied by a brown sauce and chives.

Last look at the city during the transfer to Beijing airport.

Group registration and boarding formalities.


DAY 12 Friday May 29 BEIJING / PARIS

Take off to Paris on scheduled flight from Air China.

Services and a night on board.

(Schedules subject to change)

Flight CA 875 (daily): 02h05 / 07h05, same day arrival

Arrival in Paris, Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport.

For more details contact SAMC

Travel is reserved for members of the association up to date with their subscription


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