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French tourists fall for China as they drive home its beauty

Updated: 2023-10-21 09:56 ( Xinhua )
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PARIS - "I invite everyone to go to China because it is a wonderful country with lovely people and splendid landscapes," French tourist Brunette Prudent issued this heartfelt invitation after being impressed by the nature and culture she saw during a motor home journey along the Silk Road.

Prudent was one of 20 French tourists sharing their experiences at a gathering organized by the China National Tourism Office in Paris late last month.

As a devoted fan of Silk Road tourism, Gerard Coute, vice-president of the International Federation of Camping, Caravanning, and Motorhoming, shared his experience of being the organizer of a Paris-Beijing-Istanbul motor home trip for French tourists since 2010.

In 2005, he and his wife took their first trip to China. "I fell in love with the country. I told myself that I had to come back and spend more time there. When I was elected president of the French Federation of Camping and Caravanning, I immediately turned this idea into reality," he explains.

This Paris-Beijing-Istanbul itinerary crosses many provinces in China, covering a distance of some 30,000 kilometers in around 100 days. Coute says that the numerous historical sites, monuments, stunning natural landscapes and diverse ethnic cultures along the Silk Road deeply impressed the tourists. Before the pandemic, he organized several such trips and is now planning one for 2025.

"Dunhuang, the evening of Aug 2 ends with an aperitif with our fellow Chinese motor home travelers. We gave our address to a family planning to come to Paris next year. We will, of course, welcome them to our home with pleasure on that occasion," Brunette and her husband Patrick wrote in their travel blog.

For the Prudents, participants in the 3rd Paris-Beijing-Istanbul journey in 2014, their first impressions of the Silk Road came from The Travels of Marco Polo. "Before this trip, we had no preconceived ideas about China, and we didn't know much about the Silk Road," they said in an interview.

Brunette says that the kindness of the people pleasantly surprised her during her trip to China. "We didn't speak Chinese, so it was complicated, but we were always warmly welcomed wherever we went in all the villages we passed through. We were greeted with smiles and hospitality. People showed us around their homes and were proud of their homes. Then, they would visit our motor home. They invited us into their homes, and we had tea," she recalls.

On their blog, they shared another story. "July 28. Qinghai Lake. To reach our destination, we preferred to take the national road to pass through typical villages. This allowed us to meet very welcoming villagers. They offered to share their meal with us. We declined the invitation as we were pressed for time. We continued on our journey to Qinghai Lake, China's largest lake."

Patrick says that they plan to sign up for the motor home trip scheduled for 2025. "In terms of landscapes in China, everything is indeed beautiful. We intend to return because staying in China for just one month was too quick. You need to spend at least six months there," he says.

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