This sounds like a joke, but it’s absolutely true.
Luxury goods manufacturer Louis Vuitton have produced a series of three audio guides to China.
Voiced by some of the top actresses in the business, the guides are produced like high-budget radio plays with sound effects, a plinky-plonky piano soundtrack and a plot.
The Beijing and Hong Kong guides are voiced by Gong Li and Shu Qi respectively whilst Shanghai gets Joan Chen (“Lust, Caution”, “The Last Emperor”, a few episodes of “MacGyver”).
Not a typical tourist route, the tour starts at the Mansion Hotel on Xinle Lu before heading on to the house of the narrator’s first love (“I can still see his father outside, cutting the roses”). Over the course of an hour, the guide leads around the French Concession whilst the narrator softly whispers the story of her family fleeing the country during the Cultural Revolution, and the people she left behind.
A class act, if a little pretentious (“Sit down, order something, I’ll have a black tea myself”) all three guides are available for 130RMB each from Louisvuittonsoundwalk.com.
[For a more general (and significantly cheaper) guide to the city, we’ve tried and tested ChinaTrackers]