Paris for the Chinese

 Dear Chinese Visitor ! This site is designed mostly for American visitors but along the way, I have collected various information which could be useful for Chinese visitors too. Thank you for your feed-back and suggestions : I hope some of them can help and this page is under construction. Welcome to Chinese visitors and expats to France !

Cher visiteur chinois ! Ce site est conçu essentiellement pour des visiteurs américains mais en le rédigeant, il m'arrive de trouver des éléments qui peuvent aussi être utiles à des chinois. Merci de vos réactions et suggestions : j'espère que certaines pourront rendre service et cette page est encore en construction. Bienvenue aux visiteurs et expatriés chinois en France !

 A few tips for Chinese visitors...    A brief history of the Chinese community in France
  • Beware of pickpockets and beggars (read more about that). Do NOT carry too much cash in your pocket and do NOT show it...

  • Eating habits : the French etiquette. Each country has its own rules at the dinner table and the French have theirs. Here are a few DOs and DON'Ts :
    • DO try to eat French food even if it looks different from the (wonderful) Chinese food
    • DON'T make too much noise when eating
    • DO eat in small portions at each time
    • DON'T pick up food in the serving dish : wait to be served
  • More to come....

Read three books in Chinese on France and the French
The webmaster's wife, Harriet Welty Rochefort, has published three books on France and the French. They have been translated and published in Chinese :

  • The story of adjusting to life in France, French Toast, was published in Chinese by Walnut Tree Publishing Co in 2000 (see : picture middle)
  • A book on the French and their eating habits, French Fried was translated and published in Chinese in 2002 (see : picture left)
  • A book on the French Joie de Vivre : their specific and unique way of enjoying life's pleasures, published by Nurnberg Associates International in 2012 (see picture above).
  • First wave 1917 : 140,000 Chinese worker to compensate the lack of an industrial workforce during WW1 (mostly from Zheijiang) : they settled near Arts-et-Métiers

  • Since the 18th Century, Lyon, the French capital of silk, has had a long relationship with China ; the Institut franco-chinois de Lyon housed hundred of Chinese students between 1921 and 1946 (among them : Zhou-Enlai, Deng Xiaoping, Chen Yi, Nie Rongzhen or Cai Hesen)

  • Second wave 1950s : Chinese immigrants from former French Indochina (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia) : they settled in the 13rth Arrondissement ("Chinatown") ; many of them operate restaurants

  • Third wave, recently : Chinese immigrants mostly from rural Northern China : they settled in Belleville (11th, 19th and 20th arrondissement) ; many of them work in the clothing industry

  • Chinese Christian churches include : Sainte Elisabeth (near République, Catholic), Notre Dame de Chine (13th, Catholic), Rue d'Annam (20th, Protestant)

  • Near Paris, in the little city of Montargis, a Franco-Chinese association has designed a touristic circuit to show where many future Chinese political leaders lived and worked between 1912 and 1927. Among them : Zhou Enlai, Chen Yi, Li Fuchun, Li Weihan, Ba Jin, Deng Xiaoping... A museum of Franco-Chinese Friendship was created a few years ago in a house, bought by the province of Hunan, where many future leaders of China lived when in Montargis.

  • Today, the estimate number of people of Chinese origin in France is 400,000

  • More to come

 France and China : a few facts...   Chinese investment in France

The French system for the education of engineers and high-class scientists (preparatory class + engineering school : see details) has been transferred to China with success.

  • in 2005 the groupe of Ecoles Centrales helped the University of Beihang to set up an Ecole Centrale de Beijing, forming 120 engineers a year in French and with exactly the same programs of "generalist" engineers as in France (first graduation in Nov .2011)
  • in 2008 the Ecole Supérieure d'Aéronautique (Toulouse) did the same in Shanghai with GEA Tianjin for aeronautical engineers
  • and in 2010, the Institut Polytechnique de Grenoble and a few other schools launched the Franco-Chinese Institute of Nuclear Energy (IFCEN) in Canton

The interest of the French for China is an old tradition :

  • many of the Jesuits in China in the 17th-18th century were French and they accomplished a huge work of translatiuon to make France and Europe discover Chinese literature and philosophy
  • until the 1980s, France was the country that had the most Chinese students in the world
  • there has been a fascination for the Cultural Revolution for the Extreme-Left and for academic activists and some parties and movements still call themselves "maoists".

DID YOU KNOW THAT.....? A Chinese artist designs new fine wine label : JoongAng Xu, 47, is the art director of the Today Art Museum, a major Beijung contemporary museum. "It's above all else a personal choice rather than a commercial...."

  • ChIna is investing more and more in France. In 2012, China was the 8th foreign investor in France. Chinese investments are generally related to the sector of tourism.
  • French companies recently bought by Chinese and Hong-Kong investors include : Conserves de Provence (canned food), Tapis de Cogolin (carpets), NFM Technologies (mole machines), Sonia Rykiel (fashion), Club Med (2014), Toulouse airport, Accor Hotels (2016), etc...
  • More to come...

Facts and figures about France for Chinese visitors

    • France has a very specific educational system and, like in China, diplomas are very important to characterize somebody : read about education in France
    • InĀ  France, older women can use make-up and perfume without being criticized
    • In public places, being dressed casually, smoking, kissing is OK for the French
    • In business, to better understand intercultural differences read : ZHENG, Li-Hua & al., How the Chinese See the Europeans. Essay on the Perceptions and Values of the Chinese, Le Manuscrit, Paris, 2016
    • more to come ...
  • The Chinese New Year parades are very popular and there are several : the most spectacular are the one betwee the Hotel de Ville and the Place de la République, and the one on Avenue de Choisy in the 13th.
  Visit some other selected pages of this site
  • The best collection of Chinese art is at the Musée Guimet (6 Place d'Iena, 75016) and the Musée Cernuschi (7 Avenue Velasquez, 75017), smaller, offers a beautiful collection of ancient China artefacts in a delightful little palace. There is also the small Musée d'Ennery (59 Avenue Foch, 75016)
  • Best known Chinese artists in Paris include
    • François Cheng (writer, b.1929) living in Paris, poet, calligraph and translatorin Chinese of the best of French literature, elected at the French Academy, one of the most read French poets (he writes in French)
    • Gao Xingjian (b.1940) writer and painter, Nobel Prize, living in Paris
    • Also living in Paris Ma Desheng (painter and poet) and Wang Keping (sculptor), two of the founders of XingXing, the first Chinese movement of contemporary art
    • Zao Wou-Ki (1920-2013) painter, lived in Paris
    • Ieoh Ming Pei (architect) who designed the Pyramid of the Louvre Museum
    • Zhang Yimou (movie director)
  • Read about non-French artists and writers who lived in Paris
  • The Chinese community in France :
    • Restaurant Le President, 120 faubourg du temple 75011 (in Belleville) : famous for its (Chinese) marriages
    • Centre Culturel Chinois, 77 rue Dunois 75013 01 45 82 96 78
    • A gallery specialized in Chinese and Asian contemporary art : Lipao-Huang, 16 rue Dauphine -75006
    • THE Chinese grocery shop in Paris : Tang Freres, 48 avenue d'Ivry - 75013
    • Church : Catholic services in Chinese : Notre-Dame-de-Chine 27 avenue de Choisy - 75013
  • More to come...


Some pages of this site can be useful for Chinese visitors and expats, as they can help them to better understand France and the French.

Do you know that France has more than 360 different sorts of cheeses ?
   Click to learn about it and enjoy a Wine & Cheese Tasting with author Harriet Welty Rochefort.

To related pages : life in France, French specificities, American Paris, Canadian Paris, Japanese Paris, Indian Paris, Australian Paris, etc....

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For more on intercultural differences, order Harriet Welty Rochefort's books :

  • "Joie de Vivre", Secrets of Wining, Dining and Romancing like the French, St.Martin's Press, New York, 2012
  • "French Toast, An American in Paris Celebrates The Maddening Mysteries of the French", St.Martin's Press, New York, 1999
  • (in French) : "French Toast - Heureuse comme une Américaine en France", Ramsay, Paris, 2005
  • "French Fried, The Culinary Capers of An American in Paris", St.Martin's Press, New York, 2001

More on Harriet's books (excerpts, upcoming events, testimonials, etc..)

Philippe Rochefort gives

P-to-P training sessions

for executives newly assigned to France


 More details...

To email me
Together or separately, Harriet and Philippe speak about Intercultural Differences : click here for information.