Former French Legation

Forbidden City & Dongcheng Central

The imposing red gateway here, bearing a passing resemblance to the Arc de Triomphe, belonged to the French Legation. The two Chinese lions flanking the entrance attest to its earlier role as the stately home of a Qing dynasty prince.

The compound became the CPC's Ministry of Foreign Affairs after 1949, and is guarded by the military, who object to photographs.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Forbidden City & Dongcheng Central attractions

1. St Michael's Church

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Within the former Legation Quarter is this wonderfully gothic church, established in 1901 to serve the neighbouring Former French Legation and meet the…

2. Former French Post Office

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In Beijing's Former Legation Quarter, this grey brick building served as the French Post Office in the early 20th century. It was recently a Sichuan…

3. Former Yokohama Specie Bank

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Built after the Boxer Rebellion in 1910, this is one of most impressive western-style buildings in the Former Legation Quarter. It's now home to the China…

4. Former Legation Quarter

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Following the Second Opium War in 1860, one of Britain's treaty demands was for permanent diplomatic digs in Beijing, hence the Legation Quarter, a three…

5. Former British Legation

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This historic entryway is all you can see of the palatial former British Legation, now home to China's Security Bureau. It was where most of the…

6. Beijing Police Museum

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Propaganda notwithstanding, this is an engaging foray into the storied history of Beijing’s police force. Learn how China's first Security Bureau (PSB)…

7. Former Dutch Legation


A green-roofed building rises behind a wall at No 40, which was once the Dutch Legation. To the north, a faded street sign reads 'USSR Embassy Compound…

8. National Museum of China

0.51 MILES

Vast and energy-sapping, China's showpiece museum is housed in an immense 1950s Soviet-style building on the eastern side of Tian'anmen Sq, and claims to…