North China Travel Program

The spread of the coronavirus is getting worse, we are forced to cancel this trip

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

DAY 1 monday 18 may PARIS / BEIJING

Schedules subject to change:

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

DAY 2 Tuesday 19 May PEKIN - CHENGDE

Arrival at Beijing Airport.

Passage of immigration, recovery of baggage 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 area northeast of Beijing, hosted during the 18th century the summer residence of the Manchu emperors. Emperor Kangxi established a grandiose Summer Palace, with its lakes and pavilions, as well as three temples inspired by high places of Tibetan Buddhism, including the famous Putuo Zongcheng, replica of the Lhasa Potala. The ensemble is listed since 1994 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city has been much modernized for twenty years. Discovery of the Universal Peace Temple (Puningsi), one of the two largest outdoor temples, built by Emperors Kangxi and Qianlong to honor their Tibetan, Mongolian and Kazakh guests. The model chosen by Qianlong for the temple is Samye, the first Buddhist construction in Tibet, although the first two courses are purely Chinese in style.

Welcome dinner at the hotel.

Overnight at Qiwanglou Hotel ****

DAY 3 Wednesday 20 May CHENGDE

Breakfast at the hotel.

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

Breakfast in a local restaurant.

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

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

Second night in Chengde.

DAY 4 Thursday 21 May CHENGDE - PEKIN - SHIJIAZHUANG

Breakfast at the hotel.

Return to Beijing by road through the Great Wall.

Excursion to the day at the Great Wall, also called the Wall of 10.000 li. It extends from Shanhaiguan on the east coast to Jiayuguan in the Gobi Desert. The story focuses especially on 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 the nomads, were connected to each other.

Visit Jinshanling Pass (located at 147 km north-east of Beijing, count 2h30 / 3h of road), very little touristic part, located in a wild site. It was a very important strategic point for the defense of Beijing, and the place was fortified from the time of the Kingdom of the North Qi (550-577) to under the Northern Song (960-1127) and Jin North (1115-1234). This section, which extends over 11 km, has the particularity of being built of brick, with a walkway paved with terracotta tiles. In this very mountainous region, the architecture has been adapted to the imperatives of military strategy by piercing the wall of holes for the 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 ****

DAY 5 Friday 22 May - SHIJIAZHUANG - HANDAN

Breakfast at the hotel.

Visit the Hebei Provincial Museum (closed on Mondays). Located in Wuchang District of Wuhan, Hubei Province, it is the only complete provincial museum in the province. It collects, protects and exposes cultural relics discovered in the province. Since 1953, he has collected more 200 000 cultural relics, including pottery, porcelain, jade, bronze vases, ancient weapons and ancient musical instruments. Of these cultural relics, 812 are classified as China's first-class relics, and 16 are considered national treasures. The Hubei Provincial Museum is divided into three parts: the exhibition hall of a series of bronze bell, the room of culture of Chu (a state of the Time of Spring and Autumn (770BC-476BC)), the whole 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.

Overnight at 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 towards Taiyuan (we do not have the timetable yet because the TGV will be set up by the end 2019)

Dinner in the form of packed lunch on board.

Carry baggage with you because there is no car or baggage room on these Chinese high-speed trains.

Taiyuan, a stronghold of Chinese industry, is located in central 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 a strange beauty.

Transfer to the hotel and installation in your rooms.

Overnight at Shanxi Grand Hotel ***

DAY 7 Sunday 24 May TAIYUAN - PINGYAO

Breakfast at the hotel.

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

Breakfast in a local restaurant.

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

Hang in the Chang Family House, a gigantic home built by a wealthy Shanxi family of merchants who developed the tea business with Russia. The success of the Chang manor is due to the strict application of Confucian principles and the special attention they paid to education. Newly restored, it now extends to 150.000 square meters. Its interior is vast and the richly decorated apartments, pavilions and large galleries contribute to the enchanting appearance of the places; the well-kept gardens are full of rare plants, pavilions and terraces, with waterfall and pond. If history is the basis of a nation and culture is its spirit, then buildings are the symbol. The Chang Mansion is a 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 since 1997 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a real dive into ancient China. It has remained almost intact since the Ming, period of commercial boom during which were built many houses of traditional wooden architecture. It was in the middle of the Qing dynasty that Pingyao saw the birth of a multitude of shops and businesses: exchange offices, pawn shops, pharmacies, silk and spice shops ... At the beginning 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 in the early nineteenth century to fall into oblivion during the Maoist era. Today, the city has regained its luster and hosts an annual international photography festival.

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

In the evening we will organize a special opera show for you

local in the inner courtyard of your guest house.

Overnight at the hotel Dejuyuan ***

DAY 8 Monday 25 May PINGYAO - WUTAISHAN

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 high watchtower of 18m, is dedicated to the god of the Treasures. The rampart ramparts that protect Pingyao have been enlarged and remodeled over the centuries. Restored 26 times in the Ming and Qing times, the city guard visit Shuanglin Temple (monastery of the Two Forests) still called Zhongdu si, or monastery of the Middle Capital. It was founded under the North Wei (386-535), but most of the buildings date from the Ming and Qing. This temple contains beautiful figurines and painted clay statues from the Song, Yuan and Ming dynasties. Visit the Zhenguo Temple, a magnificent temple of rare architectural elegance, whose main hall dating from the Tang is blessed with beautiful frescoes.

Lunch in the restaurant of the guesthouse "Dejuyuan" known for its culinary specialties, and again in a square courtyard building.

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 the most beautiful monasteries built on the flanks of Wutaishan each presenting 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 is full of serenity.

Transfer to the hotel and installation in your rooms.

Dinner in a local restaurant

Overnight at Hua Hui Hotel ***

DAY 9 Tuesday 26 May WUTAISHAN - DATONG

Breakfast at the hotel.

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

Breakfast in a local restaurant.

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

In an ocher plain, 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 barbaric. A barbarian, but Sinise, dynasty 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 the Yingxian Pagoda, built in 1056 under the Liao Dynasty, high 67 meters. It is the only wooden pagoda still preserved in China. Remarkable work of carpentry: there are about sixty types of consoles sculpted according to their utility and their decorative environment. Visit the monastery Xuankong Si, called "monastery suspended", all painted wood, founded in the early sixth century. Floating between heaven and earth, on the cliff side, about fifty meters above a torrent, this extraordinary place once served as an inn and place of worship for pilgrims traveling to Datong.

Transfer to the hotel and installation in your rooms.

Dinner in a local restaurant

Overnight at the Grand Hotel ****

DAY 10 Wednesday 27 May DATONG - BEIJING

Breakfast at the hotel.

Discovery of the Nine Dragon Wall illuminated by morning 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 Huayan Monasteries of Below and Above, founded in the 11th 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 enjoyed the support of Empress Wu Zetian (684-705).

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 excesses of the capital of the middle empire, taking the main avenue Chang'an, the artery that runs through Beijing from east to west.

Overnight at Kapok Hotel ***

DAY 11 THURSDAY 28 may BEIJING

Breakfast at the hotel.

Some rooms will be available during the day to leave luggage and cool off in the evening before heading to the airport.

Last day dedicated to the discovery of the Chinese capital.

Visit the National Museum of China (open from 9h to 17h except Monday, closing day), located in the heart of Beijing east of Tian'anmen Square, which has just reopened after more than three years of work of renovation. Occupying a surface of 191 900 square meters with 49 showrooms, the museum is likely to become the largest museum in the world and expects to receive 8 million visitors, three times more than before. The museum was created to house collections of art objects that were previously in the Natural History Museum and the National Museum of the Revolution. The collection of Chinese antiquities from the Neolithic era 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 the new museum of the Capital (except Monday), in a beautiful contemporary building, glass and steel. On six levels, you will discover the different exhibition halls, two in each floor, a square (symbol of the Earth) and a round (symbol of Heaven), and their collections: the ground floor is the place reserved at temporary exhibitions. Discovery of old Beijing and walk in Shishahai, former district of the princely residences, become one of the main nightlife of the capital. During the day, a provincial calm reigns over this maze of alleys populated by low houses on a gray brick courtyard (siheyuan), where jujube and persimmon flowers flourish. Climb to the Coal Hill from where we discover a beautiful panorama of the city. It was built under the Yuan with land from the moat digging and lake development. Only the emperor had the right to walk there. The late afternoon offers a beautiful light on the city, ideal for taking beautiful pictures. Feel free to visit the Shijia Hutong Museum, which is the first Beijing establishment specifically created to preserve the history of the hutong. Although the capital is dotted with courses 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 hutong model.

In the evening, during dinner, you will taste the culinary specialty of Beijing: the famous duck lacquered. The skin and the flesh, cleverly cooked, are savored wrapped in small pancakes accompanied by a brown sauce and chives.

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

Formalities of registration and boarding of the group.

DAY 12 Friday 29 May PEKIN / 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

The trip is reserved to the members of the association up to date of their contribution

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