China, a variety of cultures and landscapes

To visit China all you need is a visa. From the moment you set foot in Beijing or Shanghai, everything will be different. From the appearance of the inhabitants to the skyscrapers, together with the numerous bicycles and taxis in the streets, you will find yourself in a city teeming with life. This country is densely populated with its 1.3 billion inhabitants spread out over nearly 9.6 million km2, making it the third largest country in the world. The capital is Beijing. The official language is Mandarin, but eight other dialects are also spoken. However, more and more Chinese in the main cities also speak English. Over the last few years, China has seen considerable economic growth. It is now the second largest economy in the world, behind the United States of America.
This huge country has several climates and many ethnic groups, guaranteeing a complete change of scenery and many possible voyages. You will discover deserts, fertile plains, mountains, steppes, large forests and numerous rivers. Air France offers several regular flights to China's major cities, notably Beijing.

Chine's magnificent World Heritage sites recognised by UNESCO

Naturally, during your first visit to China, you will want to discover the unmissable Great Wall of China but there are many other remarkable places to visit listed among UNESCO's World Heritage sites. The terraced rice fields in Honghe Hani are unique worldwide, the cultural landscape of the Hangzhou West Lake is also extraordinary. You can also see the panoramic site of Mount Emei and the panoramic landscape of the great Buddha of Leshan. In Beijing (Peking), you mustn't miss the Summer Palace and the Imperial Gardens, nor the imperial sacrificial altar, the Temple of Heaven. Admire the mausoleum of the first emperor Qin, and the imperial palaces of the Ming and Qing dynasties. There are many other magical sites to see; try to visit as many as possible and appreciate their history, very different to our own.

China and the Arts

China has a rich and varied artistic heritage. Calligraphy is practised under the name of shufa and considered to be one of the four main artistic disciplines. Chinese painting on silk or paper is a very old and traditional practice. Chinese music grew out of the popular quarters and holds an important place in the country's culture. It is both traditional and very subtle. Finally, wander round the Imperial Gardens, created in the IIIrd century, the most beautiful of which are in the city of Suzhou. Genuine cultural treasures to discover thanks to Air France .

Preparing your voyage to China