France remains a major destination for Chinese travelers
Even though Chinese outbound tourism favorite destinations are other Asian regions like Hong-Kong, Japan, Taiwan, South-Korea, Thailand and Singapore, Chinese tourism in Europe remains strong and especially in France.
As of Q2 2015, France stands on the 6th most visited destinations according to TravelChinaGuide figures. Italy comes 7th, followed by Switzerland 8th and Germany 10th. Let us focus on the favorite Chinese tourists French destinations.
What are the favorite cities in France that Chinese like ?
Paris (Bali in Mandarin) obviously ranks 1st. The romantic French capital and its rich historical heritage, its numerous museums, monuments seems to attract most of the attention.
2- Nice & Cote d’Azur remain popular
South-Eastern France city Nice arrives second. Last year the city recorded an increase in tourist number of about 60% mainly explained by the Chinese millionaire boss that offered vacations in France for over 6,000 of its employees.
3- Lyon is growing in fame
Lyon comes 3rd, the central-eastern French city of Rhône-Alpes is getting more and more tourist attention over years. Lyon is known in China as the French capital of gastronomy and its football team. Football (soccer) is a growing interests for Chinese people on online platforms such as WeChat and Weibo. Lyon even has its own Weibo blog page. According to the Weibo page, Lyon’s places that receive the most review are as follows: Bellecour square,
Fourvière Cathedral, Saint-Jean Church, The Gallo-Roman amphitheater and the Tête D’or park According to the Chinese travelers, the old Lyon is very appreciated for its serenity and its numerous red roofs. The Lyon Bouchons are really appreciated for their authentic and great taste. The universities and superior education schools are often talked about.
4 – Avignon & Provence
Avignon has gone up the ranks as it has attracted more Chinese tourists recently. The great romantic fields of lavender of the Provence region is one of the most known French places in China. A Chinese TV-show had a few episodes that took place in the Provence region, strongly increasing its fame. The episodes depicted the actors around French castles and huge flower fields.
5- Annecy shines,
Savoy city Annecy in the eastern-part of France is also increasing in popularity among Chinese tourists. The mountainous Savoy region and its numerous lakes sightseeing opportunities appeals to the Chinese tourists. In addition, local tourism authorities are making efforts to promote the region features abroad. Daniel Cavalli, Annecy tourist office director said “It is true that our general plans are to prepare the future and to assure good tourism figures.” “Annecy residents will have to get used to see more and more Chinese and Russians as we know the number of tourists will grow.”
6- Marseilles rises
Southern France city Marseilles recently appeared in the top. The France second largest city after Paris is also witnessing a growth in popularity. Much like Avignon, Marseilles streets have been used on the set of a Chinese TV-show called Family on the go which had over 145 million viewers. Marseilles has also a unique partnership with China, as Chinese retail giant Alibaba give small Marseilles businesses specialized in authentic local food and products some financial aid so that they can export their products in China.
Yet another Southern France city is fairly well ranked among the top. Cannes comes 7th. The city is making efforts to appeal to the Chinese rising outbound tourism. Most of Chinese tourists come in the city for its various luxury and cosmetic fashion stores. Several professionals in Cannes already have Weibo and WeChat account where they promote the city’s attractions. The Cannes tourist office is already providing a hybrid tour guide that combines AI and human interaction in order to answer their questions and help them booking hotels, restaurants, etc.). Furthermore, the tourist office developed two applications that provide Wi-Fi to the Chinese tourists so they feel reassured.
8- Bordeaux’ popularity is decreasing,
Many Chinese people know about the French wine, and especially about the Bordeaux region. The city used to be on the third rank. According to Laurent Goulvestre, Asia specialist the number of Chinese tourists in France should rise from 900,000 to 4 million over the next five years. Thierry Charpentier, Chamber of Commerce declared “Most of the Chinese tourists go to Paris, we have to convince them to visit Bordeaux as well”. Bordeaux has been reported to be the 12th most visited city in Europe by Chinese tourists, as much as Florence or Vienna.
9- Burgundy & Macon tourism are trendy
On the 9th position, Dijon from the Burgundy region. The region is growing popular among Chinese tourists, Insee figures showed that the number of Chinese tourists went from 5,000 in Q4 2010 to over 35,000 in the same period in 2014. Burgundy hotels reservations are booming, especially thanks to the Chinese. Usually Chinese tourists land in Paris and travel down south and pass through Beaune and Dijon.
10- Eastern France & Alsace
Finally, Strasbourg in the Alsace region (eastern France) is closing the top 10. Yan Yu, tourism consultant in Strasbourg assured that Chinese tourists come into Alsace for the culture and the historical heritage. “In Alsace, there is a long history and a rich culture. In Strasbourg, there is a mix between the European district and the Petite France. Chinese tourists are looking for the difference, and they indeed find this in Alsace, something that they do not have back home.” According to Chinese tour guide Lili Jia “Chinese people do not know Alsace history and the changes that Europe went through”. She brings them to the common local tourist points of interests and then go with them on the wine road.
 Authentic restaurant where you can eat local food and Lyon special recipes