The charm – and discomfort – of hutongs

The charm – and discomfort – of hutongs

Discover an authentic, unchanged Beijing.

When you walk in the old city of Beijing, it is to discover the city's real people. Laughing and chattering gaily, Beijingers have a happy, carefree nature. We must not forget that traditional Chinese dwelling slack comfort; the courtyard is generally composed of several wings organized around a common garden, through which one passes to go from one place to another.

For this reason, people are accustomed to chatting with their neighbours, eating a little something, washing clothes, or simply watching the spectacle of the city out in the open. The old man on the street corner will stare at you without embarrassment, ready to engage in conversation or challenge you to a game of mahjong. Daily life asserts itself in the hutongs (ancient networks of alleys), to the delight of locals and tourists.

Losing yourself in this maze of alleys is the best way to understand what might be called 'the art of living' the Chinese way.