Twinned with the Champs-Élysées in Paris since 2002, Wangfujing street is near the Forbidden City. It offers a vision of contemporary China that contrasts with that of the historical centre. Indeed, Wangfujing is packed with cosmopolitan businesses, including the best-stocked foreign bookstore in Beijing. There is also a branch of Neiliansheng, manufacturer of the famous embroidered slippers worn by Chinese writer Lao Shi. These handmade slippers reflect ancestral know-how.
This large avenue is a tourist destination for those from the provinces. Watch locals rub shoulders with those from the countryside, who wander around amazed at the opulence and splendour of the shop windows. At the end of the street is a Catholic church where ceremonies are regularly held, a rare example of a religion service, which the authorities tolerate with difficulty.