Wealthy European families created an art deco oasis in Shanghai's heart. The area is now full of modern boutiques, galleries and restaurants.
The French Concession was one of Shanghai’s major European enclaves from the mid 19th century to just before World War II. Today, the district is again a sought-after address for expats living in Shanghai, as well as being a popular tourist destination and the hub of the city’s upmarket shopping scene.
Wander along the quiet, tree-lined streets that offer a welcome respite from highly urbanized Shanghai. Admire the mix of modern apartments and neoclassical, colonial-style villas and art deco mansions. Notable buildings include the former residence of Sun Yat-sen. You can see many of the personal belongings of the “father of modern China” in this preserved house, which also has a museum.
There are many quaint shops, galleries and cafés to explore throughout the district. Head to Chang Le Lu to find a row of shops that specialize in made-to-measure, traditional Shanghai-style silk dresses. You’ll also find cheap T-shirts in a number of shops, as well as vintage clothes and handmade accessories. Head to Huaihai Road for a mix of upscale brands and chain stores. The middle section of this shopping strip is near to Fuxing Park, a great place to watch locals enjoying leisure activities such as kite flying and tai chi.
The area has plenty of options for dining. Choose from excellent French, Italian and Chinese restaurants. Follow your nose to Ferguson Lane, off Wukang Road. Here you’ll find restored buildings filled with chic restaurants and boutique stores.
Visit the French Concession in the early morning and evenings to experience the area at its most peaceful. For a deeper insight into this area’s unique social history and architecture, join a walking tour and spend an hour or two exploring lanes and courtyards.
The French Concession is within walking distance of The Bund and is close to Xujiahui Station, one of the biggest metro stations in Shanghai.