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Why to Visit Shanghai French Concession

Shanghai French Concession (上海法租界) located in Huangpu district (黄浦区) and Xuhui District (徐汇区) is the earliest, largest and most prosperous French Concession in Modern China. Since its opening up in 1849, groups of foreigners from many countries came in Shanghai and settled down. After Wang Jingwei (汪精卫) Regime took back this important area, Shanghai French Concession ended its nearly 100-year-old history as a leased territory.

Nowadays, while walking along the streets in the Shanghai French Concession, you can still feel the rich culture combining many antique buildings in many styles in other countries and the authentic Shanghai custom.

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Old French Concession Shanghai Picture of Old Shanghai French Concession

What to Do in Shanghai French Concession

Visiting Shanghai French Concession, you can take your time enjoying the fancy buildings and the quiet streets to taste the different charm of Shanghai.

Appreciate the Quaint Buildings

It is amazing to take a chance to see the quaint buildings in Shanghai French Concession. Since the fast development of this area after many people from France, America, England, Belarus, etc. came to Shanghai and settled down, a series of non-Chinese styles buildings were constructed one by one. And after nearly one hundred years, these buildings still stand there in their origin images, so you can visit Shanghai French Concession and appreciate the unique beauty of each one.

Diverse religious buildings can be found in this area too. The international church at No. 53 Hengshan Road (衡山路) is the largest Christian church in Shanghai where typical Gothic design is especially elegant and the singing of the choir is super ear-pleasing. Residences in French Renaissance Architecture style, villas in British country styles, foreign-style buildings in Spanish features, buildings in the Mediterranean style and so forth make you feel not being in China, but a colorful town in a place in Europe or the America.

Stroll along the Old Streets

Take a walk on the ancient streets in Shanghai French Concession is really an enjoyable experience. With leafy platanes growing on both sides on most streets, you can spend leisure time in the tranquil atmosphere without the hustle and bustle of the prosperous downtown. You can stroll along each road to find the remaining culture of the ancient celebrities, like the important officers, elicit businessmen, famous scholars, and talented artists, etc. Also, the private garden residence at No. 3 on Baoqing Road (宝庆路) is seen as a must-see place for it is rich in the old culture of Shanghai.

Shanghai French Concession Building in Mediterranean Style
Shanghai French Concession Fancy Villa in Old Shanghai French Concession
Shanghai French Concession Tranquil Road with Leafy platane

As the development of history, many famous Chinese people have lived in Shanghai French Concession, so it is great to visit their former residence to feel their life during that period. Such as the former residence of Sun Yatsen (孙中山) at No. 7 on Xiangshan Road (香山路), you can walk into this memorial hall to admire this great father of Chinese nation.

Besides, since this Concession area has been prosperous for tens of years ago, many boutiques selling high-end commodities are dotted in these quaint buildings, which offers you a special shopping experience. Moreover, you can pick up some interesting things and souvenirs in Shanghai French Concession since many old buildings are used as shops now, like some antiques, fashionable clothes, and so on, and try out the featured food from all over the world in authentic flavors in the ancient atmosphere.

Wukang Road

Wukang Road, or Wukang Lu (武康路), of 1,183m long is a very tranquil but famous street in Shanghai French Concession. Walking on this road, you can see rich types of buildings in the typical design of various countries like France, Italy, Spain, Britain, etc. are gathered here under the dense shade of the lush trees, therefore, this road with rich European and American flavor and reputed as the “Building Group of Small-scale Residences of Various Countries” provides you a cozy enjoyment of the culture of old Shanghai.

Wandering along Wukang Road and appreciating the more than 50 excellent historic buildings, you will not only be marveled by its fancy appearance in every usage of color, every design on the wooden louver, and so on but also know about the distinct story of each foreign-style-house.

Take Fancy Photos

Various kinds of buildings in Shanghai French Concession not only are very worth appreciate but also deserve your shoot. It is so special and happy to press the shutter while finding the distinct charming buildings various from the villa, country-style house, old residence, and so forth. Furthermore, take a shot at the nice scenes of local people’s life while strolling on the streets in this area, which will leave you an unforgettable memory on the tour to Shanghai.

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Shanghai French Concession Sun Ya-sen Memorial Hall
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Shanghai French Concession Special Old Building on Wukang Road
Shanghai French Concession Elegant Private Residence on Wukang Road

How to Visit Shanghai French Concession

The French Concession in Shanghai began in 1849 and ended in 1943. Enduring almost 100 years, it is the earliest, largest, and most prosperous concession among the four major concessions in modern China. During the opening period, a large number of foreign investors poured into this area and brought unique European customs. Nowadays, the garden houses, high-end restaurants, fashionable designs are indispensable elements in the French Concession. The French Concession is mainly located in Huangpu District and Xuhui District, close to the British and American Concessions. Today, the bustling Nanjing Road and Jing'an Temple are located in the former concessions, and the architectural style and temperament in the French Concession are very different. There are two main routes to visit the French Concession, namely, the route to the northwest of the French Concession and the route to the southeast of the French Concession.

Visiting Route to Northwest French Concession

Total walking Length: 4km; Recommended Travel Time: 4h

Route: Wukang Road 武康路 - Bajin Former Residence, Hunan Road 巴金故居、湖南路 - Dongping Road 东平路 - Shanghai Arts and Crafts Museum 上海工艺美术博物馆 - Fenyang Road, Shanghai Conservatory of Music 汾阳路、上海音乐学院 - Orthodox Cathedral of Notre Dame 东正圣母大教堂

Wukang Road 武康路 (Walking Length: 540m; Recommended Travel Time: 30min~1h)

Highlights: Baroque Garden House, Cape Town Apartments, Spanish and French Architectures

Bajin Former Residence, Hunan Road 巴金故居、湖南路 (Walking Length: 400m; Recommended Travel Time: 30min~1h)

Highlights: The former residence of the great writer Bajin, Hunan Villa, Midget Apartments(Art Deco)

Dongping Road 东平路 (Walking Length: 1.3km; Recommended Travel Time: 40min~1h)

Highlights: The former residence of Chiang Kai Shek and Song Meiling, The former residence of Song Ziwen and Kong Xiangxi, the powerful families during the Republic of China

Shanghai Arts and Crafts Museum 上海工艺美术博物馆 (Walking Length: 400m; Recommended Travel Time: 30min~1h)

Highlights: In the main building, there are three exhibition halls of embroidery, sculpture, and folk arts and crafts, such as embroidery, costumes, velvet embroidery, bamboo carving, and boxwood carving, as well as many other traditional crafts that urgently need to be protected in Shanghai.

Fenyang Road, Shanghai Conservatory of Music 汾阳路、上海音乐学院 (Walking Length: 300m; Recommended Travel Time: 30min)

Highlights: Shanghai Conservatory of Music - the oldest modern music education institution in China

Orthodox Cathedral of Notre Dame 东正圣母大教堂 (Walking Length: 500m; Recommended Travel Time: 40min)

Highlights: In 1932, the Orthodox Church was built by Russian expats. There are four small domes in four corners. This is the largest Orthodox Church in Shanghai.

Shanghai French Concession Dong Ping Road Shanghai French Concession Shanghai Arts and Crafts Museum Shanghai French Concession Orthodox Cathedral of Notre Dame

Visiting Route to Southeast French Concession

Total walking Length: 3km; Recommended Travel Time: 5-6h

Route: Tianzifang 田子坊 - Shaoxing Road 绍兴路 - Ruijin Hotel 瑞金宾馆 - Residence of Mr. Zhou 周公馆 - Sinan Mansions 思南公馆 - former Residence of Sun Yat-sen 孙中山故居 - Fuxing Park 复兴公园

Tianzifang 田子坊 (Recommended Travel Time: 40min-1h)

Highlights: The old Shanghai Lanes with artistic atmosphere, creative shops, galleries, photo exhibitions, and cafes

Shaoxing Road 绍兴路 (Walking Length: 600m; Recommended Travel Time: 20-40min)

Highlights: This is one of the most artistic roads in Shanghai with well-known press offices, characteristic coffee shops, and galleries.

Ruijin Hotel 瑞金宾馆 (Walking Length: 500m; Recommended Travel Time: 40min)

Highlights: It has served Liu Shaoqi, Zhu De, Dong Biwu, Zhou Enlai, former Indonesian President Sukarno, former general secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Ho Chi Minh, former head of the DPRK Kim Il Sung, and other high-level leaders at home and abroad.

Residence of Mr. Zhou 周公馆 (Walking Length: 600m; Recommended Travel Time: 30min)

Highlights: This used to be the office of the CPC delegation in Shanghai, witnessing the history of Premier Zhou Enlai's reception of US president's special envoy Marshall and representatives of the Kuomintang government

Sinan Mansions 思南公馆 (Walking Length: 300m; Recommended Travel Time: 1-2h)

Highlights: With 51 garden houses, Sinan Mansions are known as the "Garden House Museum" with a collection of various garden houses.

Former Residence of Sun Yat-sen 孙中山故居 (Walking Length: 200m; Recommended Travel Time: 40min-1h)

Highlights: This European village-style house is the only common residence of Sun Yat-Sen and his wife, Song Ching Ling.

Fuxing Park 复兴公园 (Walking Length: 200m; Recommended Travel Time: 1h)

Highlights: Fuxing Park is the only garden park in Shanghai that retains the French classical style, and it is also a masterpiece of the integration of Chinese and Western Garden Culture in modern Shanghai.

Shanghai French Concession Shaoxing Road Shanghai French Concession Former Residence of Mr. Zhou Shanghai French Concession Sinan Mansions

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How to Get to Shanghai French Concession

Independent Travel

Since Shanghai French Concession is in a very prosperous area of this city, it is very easy to get there by many kinds of vehicles, like bus, taxi, subway, and bicycle.

  • Driving from Shanghai People’s Square – 5km; 15mins
  • Driving from Oriental Pearl Tower – 9km; 25mins
  • Driving from Shanghai Disney Resort – 30km; 40mins
  • Driving from Yu Garden – 6.5km; 25mins
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    If you want to get rid of the hustle of public transportation and troublesome navigation, you can book a private tour package which covers sightseeing, dining, and transfer from us. Our local tour guide and driver will escort you to Shanghai French Concession with speed and convenience, and take care of all the details. You just need to focus on sightseeing.

French Concession Shanghai Map Click to Enlarge Location Maps of Shanghai French Concession

Warm Tips to Visit Shanghai French Concession

1. Since some areas in Shanghai French Concession, especially the villa areas, have not been equipped with street lamps, it is not recommended to visit there during the night.

2. There are many interesting places within the area of Shanghai French Concession, and you can visit Xintiandi to savor the modern and fashion features in the traditional Shanghai Shikumen structures, or stroll along the narrow lanes in Tianzifang to see the ordinary residents living with people who run their restaurants or cafe from the whole world.

How to Plan a Shanghai Tour

How to Get to Shanghai: You can fly to Shanghai directly from Hong Kong, Tokyo, Seoul, London, Los Angeles & many overseas countries (regions) and almost all major Chinese cities, like Beijing, Xian; or take high speed bullet train to Shanghai from domestic cities.

Best Time to Visit Shanghai: March to May (in spring) & September to November (in autumn), because these periods offer beautiful nature scenery and comfortable weather for outdoor sightseeing and activities.

Top Attractions to Visit in Shanghai: The Bund, Lujiazui Skyscrapers, Yu Garden, Shanghai Museum, French Concession, Shanghai Disney Resort…

Best known as an international popular tourist destination, Shanghai perfectly preserves mixed culture of the western and eastern. The duration and theme of your Shanghai tour can be flexibly arranged based on your time and interests. Usually, tourists spend 2 days on sightseeing the most famous landmarks, including the Bund, Yu Garden, skyscrapers like Shanghai Tower, World Financial Center, Former French Concession, Shanghai Museum, etc. With one extra day, you can enjoy family fun in Disneyland Park or visit Zhujiajiao Water Town in the suburb. Don't miss the Shanghai Maglev Train, wonderful nightlife and Shanghai Cuisine.

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Travel with China Discovery

As a leading travel agency in China which dedicates to offering high-quality China tours, China Discovery has helped thousands of travelers enjoy their trips to Shanghai, Beijing, Xian, etc., in China. Travel with us, you can enjoy worry-free tour services as well as well-organized itineraries, even our assistance of Chinese Visa application, convenient airport/train station pick-up & drop-off and transfer between all scenic spots, knowledgeable tour guide, safe & licensed private vehicle, satisfactory accommodation and dining and so on. You are free to choose from our most popular Shanghai tour packages or contact us to design a memorable holiday in Shanghai, China.

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