The French Concession is the area of Shanghai that the French government administered from 1849 until 1946. The tree-lined avenues and the many fine old houses in the area still retain an air of the "Paris of the East". In particular, the many wrought iron fences and stair railings will look familiar to anyone who knows Paris or Montreal.
This has been a fashionable area for well over a century and is now very developed as well. There are plenty of large buildings, mainly upmarket residential and office towers, quite a few hotels and a number of enormous shopping malls. At the same time, many of the picturesque older buildings — even whole neighbourhoods — have been renovated. There are a huge number of boutiques, galleries, bars and cafes scattered through the area.
For many years after the French left, the area was administered by the Chinese as two districts, Xuhui [dead link] (徐汇区 Xúhuì Qū) to the west and Luwan (卢湾区 Lúwān Qū) to the east. In 2011, Luwan was merged into the Huangpu district, but we cover it here because for the traveller it has more in common with the rest of the old French Concession.
In addition to the official administrative districts Xuhui and Luwan, the French concession area has some well-known streets and neighborhoods.
Xujuahui (old spelling Zi-ka-wei or Siccawei) is an area to the south-west of the French Concession. It was not part of the Concession, but was largely owned by the Catholic Church, and was effectively an extension of it. The area has many buildings built by the Church during the French period and thereafter. The most prominent of these is St. Ignatius Cathedral, the neighbouring Bibliotheca Zi-ka-wei, a library built by the Jesuits; a number of preserved convent and school buildings; the Jesuit observatory; the T'ou-se-we Museum, housed in part of a former Jesuit orphanage with interesting displays on the history of Xujiahui, the orphanage and its workshop famed for producing works of Chinese and Western art; and the tomb of Xu Guangqi, an imperial official and famous Catholic convert whose family donated much of the land in Xujiahui to the church. This collection of buildings from Xujiahui's Catholic past is promoted as a themed walking tour called "Origin of Xujiahui", and boards with maps can be found near any of them with directions to visit the others.
Today, its central area is an enormous road intersection with a metro station (lines, and ) under it and much shopping around it. There is a large underground shopping area right in the station and at least half a dozen large malls or department stores nearby. From the station, you can get to most of them without going outdoors. Among other things, Xujiahui has Shanghai's largest cluster of consumer electronics vendors. It also has a lot of high-end residential and office space, and many restaurants.
There is a large road which starts by the cathedral and becomes an elevated road just beyond it. It leads to the Xinzhuang interchange and beyond that to Humin Road, the main route south into Minhang District for cars and buses.
When the French controlled the area, this street was Avenue Joffre. Today it is the main street of the Luwan area, and one of Shanghai's main shopping streets. In fact, Shanghai people seeking upmarket goods are at least as likely to look here as on Nanjing Road, which attracts more visitors from other parts of China than locals.
Many of the smaller streets nearby are also worth a look, especially when you want to get away from the busy streets. Explore the area between Julu Rd to the north, Huaihai Rd running through the center, and Jianguo Rd to the south. Pleasant tree-lined streets and local Shanghainese bustle, combined with a growing number of trendy boutiques and restaurants. Changle Rd and Xinle Rd are rapidly becoming the places to find small designer clothing shops. Interesting architecture built with French and Belgian money and showing mixed Chinese-European styles.
The trendy areas Xintiandi and Sinan Mansions described below are both near Huaihai Road (5-10 minutes walk away); Tianzifang is further afield, about 30 minutes walk, or a 15-minute taxi ride in normal traffic conditions.
Metro lineruns under Huaihai Road through the main shopping area — stations, listed east-to-west, are South Huangpi Road, South Shaanxi Road and Changshu Road. Line also comes to Changshu Road, and lines and to South Shaanxi Road.
Further west, Huaihai Road becomes mainly residential. Line's Shanghai Library and Jiaotong University stations are on the street and in this area.
Hengshan Road (old name Avenue Pétain) and nearby streets have what used to be Shanghai's largest cluster of dining and nightlife spots. It has since been surpassed by areas like Found 158 and Xintiandi. It is an upmarket area with few real bargains, but food and drink here are generally somewhat cheaper than in trendier and more touristy areas like Xintiandi. There are also a number of hotels and quite a bit of boutique shopping. For those interested in the history, the main points of interest are the former American College (no. 10), and the (still active) Community Church (no. 53), reminders of the large English-speaking community that also lived in the French Concession.
From Changshu Road, lineswings south; the next two stops are Hengshan Road and Xujiahui. Hengshan Road and the smaller streets off it have mainly older two-storey buildings, many of them now bars and restaurants, though nearby areas such as Xujiahui and Zhoajiabang Road are largely highrise.
You can reach this area on foot starting from Changshu Road station (line 1 or 7). At the cross street on the west side of the station, head south past the Starbucks. The first couple of blocks of this street are called Baoqing Road, but the name soon changes to Hengshan Road. Oscar's Pub, a block along on the left (corner of Fuxing Road) is a popular expat hangout.
Turning right at Hengshan Lu / Dongping Lu junction brings you to the terminus for the #816 bus to Minhang. Dongping Lu ends in a T junction; the US Consulate is across the top of the T. If you turn left instead of right at Hengshan Lu / Dongping Lu, you will pass a popular restaurant / upmarket grocery called Green & Safe. If you continue along Dongping Lu, you will reach a mostly-expats sports bar called The Camel. Continuing beyond those leads onto the west end of Fuxing Road, and into the area of smaller streets described under #Huaihai Road above.
Staying on Hengshan Road and walking towards Hengshan Road Metro Station, you will get to a new (2018) complex of restaurants on the south side of the street - Polish, South American and Chinese. Some have patios out front which are quite pleasant. There are no bars in that complex but most of the restaurants serve drinks. There are some large disco-style bars and nightclubs on the north side of the street. Phebe is probably the biggest club. There is also a busy bowling alley next to Phebe nightclub. Going south from Phebe brings you to another cluster of bars near the junction of Hengshan Lu and Gao'an Lu. These bars are quite tacky and are best avoided. Continuing south, there are also at least two high-class hotels within a few blocks.
Continuing several blocks south on Hengshan Road gets you to Xujiahui.
Xintiandi is an area of old shikumen houses, two-storey buildings on narrow lanes. It has been extensively redeveloped and now has new shopping malls, trendy bars and restaurants, and much tourism. It is sometimes considered a sanitized, touristy and upscale "Disneyland" version of the original old neighborhoods it displaced. It is certainly rather pretty, worth at least a look for any first-time visitor to Shanghai. Prices are generally on the high side, but there are some good deals to be had at off-peak times such as lunch specials in some restaurants and happy hour in bars. Although there are many shops here, most are international or Hong Kong-based chains.
Attitudes to Xintiandi among Shanghai's large expatriate community are quite mixed. The area certainly has many expat customers, and many consider some of its live music venues and dance clubs as among the best in the city. Others dismiss most or all of them as "poseurs' pubs", suitable only for a more-money-than-sense crowd.
There is a Xintiandi station on metro linesand ; walk north from there to reach the center of the area. Walking south from South Huangpi Road station on line is roughly the same distance.
Tianzifang is another area of shikumen housing that has been redeveloped. It is newer than Xintiandi and emphasizes arts, crafts and boutique shopping where Xintiandi has more stress on brand-name goods and entertainment. Unlike Xintiandi, the shikumen residences in Tianzifang have been preserved, rather than knocked down and rebuilt. Slightly further from the central part of the French Concession, Tianzifang first gained fame when several prominent artists took up residence there, taking advantage of the cheap rent. There are still galleries and artists' studios here, although handicraft, souvenirs and cafes now dominate.
The number one exit of Dapuqiao Station (line) is just across the street from Tianzifang.
Sinan Mansions is another redeveloped quarter, based around a dozen European-style villas dating from the early 20th century. This area is bounded by Fuxing Road to the north, Si'nan Road to the west, and Chongqing Road to the east. The villas have been renovated, and their front and back yards knocked through and paved over to become paths. The revamped villas now mostly house restaurants and bars. Shaded by tall plane trees planted by the French authorities 100 years ago, this is a pleasant area to stroll and perhaps stop for a coffee and some cake.
A group of buildings once belonging to the Catholic Church are near the Chongqing Road end, the largest of which is now an upmarket restaurant (Aux Jardins Massenet). Some of the villas in the same group are now an upmarket hotel (Hotel Massenet). (Sinan Road was Route Massenet in the French period.)
Only one villa, the former residence of Zhou Enlai, is preserved (as a museum) in a form which shows what these villas might have looked like when they were in residential use.
Wukang Road (old name Route Ferguson) is one of the best preserved residential streets of the French Concession. Still lined by ornate villas and grand apartment buildings, it is a favourite for visitors interested in Shanghai's diverse architectural heritage. The road connects Huashan Road to the north with the western part of Huaihai Road in the south. The narrow road is lined with plane trees, and is popular in autumn when the golden leaves cover the ground. Unfortunately, very few of the historic houses can be visited. There is one small area of the road which has been developed to house cafes, bars and restaurants, and is popular with expatriate residents of the area.
Longhua, formerly a suburban township and now part of urban Shanghai, was not part of the French Concession and is about a 30-minute walk or 10-minute cab ride further out from Xujiahui. Although close to the French and Catholic areas, until the early 2010s Longhua retained the look of a Chinese town. Much of the area has now been rebuilt in a fantasy-Chinese style.
Line Pudong.comes in from the north, crosses line at Jing'an Temple, intersects line at Changshu Road, makes three more stops further south in the Concession, then crosses the river into
Line old town), stopping in the French Concession at Xintiandi, S. Shaanxi Road, Shanghai Library and Jiaotong university. Further west, it goes to Changning and Hongqiao Airport. Going east, it crosses the Old Town, swings north via Nanjing Road East, and ends up in Yangpu.runs west from Laoximen (the 'Old West Gate' of the
Line Nanhui across the river, goes to several stations in the French Concession, intersects lines and at Xujiahui, and goes off to Changning, Putuo and Jiading to the north. At its western extreme it already (late 2017) extends outside Shanghai as far as Kunshan, and plans call for it to eventually link up to the metro systems of Suzhou and Wuxi.comes in from
In general this is a pleasant area to wander about in. Explore the sylvan streets and admire Shanghai's Art Deco residential architecture, reputedly the world's largest group of such homes, although not the most well-kept. Most historic buildings have a bronze plaque that details their original use. The area sandwiched between Fuxing and Huaihai Roads is particularly interesting with a sprinkling of tucked-away shops and discreet cafes, a refreshing alternative to the city's generally manic streetscape.
Around Fuxing RoadEdit
- 1 Fuxing Road (复兴路) (parallel to Huaihai Road, one block south, exit 6 of the line station at S Shaanxi Road). Walk along Fuxing Rd to see classical old buildings and much boutique shopping. The Shanghai Music Conservatory is near Fuxing Road. Some blocks west of Shaanxi Road here and there are a number of shops specialising in musical instruments, especially orchestral stringed instruments, and several shops for classical or jazz recordings.
- 2 Fuxing Park (复兴公园; Fùxīnggōngyuán), 105 Fuxing Zhong Rd (卢湾区复兴中路105号; Lúwānqū Fùxīngzhōnglù), ☏ . 06:00-18:00. This European-style park formerly known as French Park has gardens, open spaces and restaurants and clubs dotted throughout. Early in the morning, the park is filled with dancers (some Chinese styles, but mainly Western ballroom) players of various games (cards, mahjong, Chinese chess and Go), Tai Chi artists, and singing groups. Free.
- 3 Shanghai Former Provisional Government Site of the Republic of Korea, 306 Madang Road, Huangpu District 上海市黄浦区 马当路306弄4号, ☏ . During the Japanese occupation of Korea, it was the site of the Korean government in exile from 1919. Now owned and preserved as a museum by South Korea. Everything is explained in Mandarin and Korean, and with nothing in English.
- 4 Shanghai Museum of Arts and Crafts (上海工艺美术博物馆), Fenyang Road 79 (Metro: Line Changshu Road, then walk 1 km), ☏ . 09:00 - 16:30. Inside of this renaissance building you can see ivory, jade and wood carvings, art on textiles, paper cutting, and folk crafts as well as artisans at work. ¥8.
Around Huaihai RoadEdit
Besides the large shopping area on the east of Huaihai Road, there are other attractions on and around the road:
- 5 Shanghai Propaganda Poster and Art Centre (PPAC), RM. BOC 868 Huashan Rd, Shanghai 上海华山路868号BOC室 (go north from the line and metro station Jiaotong University or take a taxi to 868 Huashan Road; the museum is inside the apartment complex here. With any luck, the complex guard will point you in the right direction. The museum is found in the basement of building 4 (B)). Daily 10:00-17:00. This private collection is one of the most relevant and uncensored exhibits available to visitors interested in a glimpse of the politics and art of Mao-era China. Posters, memorabilia, photos, and even "大字报" (dazibao: big character posters) can be found in rotating exhibition. Due to the controversial nature of the historical items stored here, the museum is quite difficult to find, and unlabeled from the outside. Well worth the hunt, the museum boasts a wide array of art and political relics from 20th-century China. ¥20 admission.
- Yongping Lane. One of the secret gems on Hengshan Road is a lane open to the public. It includes 'Colca Peru Spanish Restaurant', other western food and drinks, a temporary art & fashion market along the zig-zagged lane, and the 'Yongjia Road 690 exhibition hall'. The lane goes from behind exit 4 of Hengshan Road station (line ), and exits at no. 690, Yongjia Road.
- 6 K11 Sky Garden, 300 Middle Huaihai Road (Metro: Line South Huangpi Road exit 3, across the street). 10:00-22:00. If you are on a low budget or you want to have some free fun, buy some cheap drinks in a grocery and go up by elevator to the 6th floor of the 61-floor K11 skyscraper. Then you turn right and right again, to find one of the two sky gardens (the other one is left and left), with empty tables and chairs and a nice view on the city. Best timing for this secret place is at evening with your partner and ideally full moon. The gardens exist for holding some special Saturday parties from time to time, and most of the time it's just free to visit.
Many of the consulates of foreign governments are also in this area; see the list in the main Shanghai article.
It seems a bit ironic that various militantly anti-imperialist Chinese lived in the French Concession and the Communist Party had its first national meeting here, but there were good reasons for this. For one thing, this area has always been one of the most pleasant and prestigious in Shanghai. Also, for revolutionaries — whether republicans opposing the Qing Dynasty before 1911 or Communists opposing the Kuomintang government later — an area under foreign law was considerably safer than one with Chinese law and police.
- 7 Site of the First National Congress of the CPC, 76 Xingye Lu (E side of Xintiandi). The building where the Communist Party of China (CPC) had their first national meeting in 1921. Free.
- 8 Zhou Enlai's Former Residence, 73 Sinan Rd, ☏ . This was the former Shanghai Office of the Delegation of the Communist Party in China from June 1946. It is now a museum telling the story of the Communist revolution in China and particularly Shanghai. See #Sinan Mansions above. Free.
- 9 Sun Yat-sen's Former Residence, 7 Xiangshan Rd, ☏ . Sun Yat-sen (Sun Zhong Shan in Mandarin) was the first leader of the Republic of China after the 1911 revolution that overthrew the Qing Dynasty. He is one of the very few political figures regarded favorably by the current governments of both China and Taiwan. He lived mainly in Nanjing, the capital at the time, but also had this house in Shanghai. It was converted into a museum in 1961. ¥20.
- 10 Soong Ching Ling's Former Residence (上海宋庆龄故居), 1843 Huaihai Middle Rd (walk a couple of blocks west from Shanghai Library station, line ), ☏ . 09:00-16:30. Soong Ching Ling was Sun Yat-sen's wife and a significant political figure in her own right. Like her father, brothers and sisters, she went to an American university (Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia), spoke excellent English, and was deeply involved in Kuomintang politics prior to the Kuomintang defeat in 1949. Unlike the siblings (a sister married Chiang Kai Shek and a brother served as his Finance Minister), she remained in mainland China and worked with Mao's government after that. Much state business took place at the residence. Today the house is a museum with many artifacts and photos. The grounds are very well maintained and there's a garage with a few formerly state-used cars as well. Gift shop. ¥20 (adults), ¥10 (students and persons aged between 60 and 70), Children, disabled people and persons aged over 70 may enter for free.
Chairman Mao's Shanghai house is now also a museum; it is outside this area, in Jing'an District in what was the British concession. The Kuomintang leader Chiang Kai Shek, who lost the civil war in 1949 and was driven off to Taiwan, also had a house in the French Concession (9 Dongping Road) but that has not been made a museum; it is now used as a Middle School attached to the Shanghai Conservatory of Music.
- 11 Xujiahui junction. A large road junction with Xujiahui metro station (lines , and ) underneath it.
- 12 Shanghai Jiaotong University (SJTU or "Jiaoda") (Jiatong University Station, lines , ). This is one of China's top technical schools. The new main campus is in Minhang, but the original campus in the French Concession is still used; it now does mainly continuing education courses such as Chinese-for-foreigners or MBA-for-executives
- 13 Guangqi Park and Memorial Hall, Nandan Road 17 (Xujiahui station, exit 1), ☏ . 05:00-18:00. The park was built around the tomb of Xu Guangqi, a prominent scholar and China's most notable Catholic convert, after whom the Xujiahui area and the Xuhui district are ultimately named. The tomb, restored according to its original set-up, is a curious combination of a large Christian cross as the grave marker, with a traditional Chinese "spirit way" lined with stone animals. The park features a lake, a bridge, a carved stone gate and statues. Another free entrance attraction in the park is the Xu Guangqi Memorial Hall in the southwest corner, a traditional house that showcases the scholar's activity and inventions and a vintage puzzle game. Another statue of the scholar is nearby, at metro exit 1. Free.
- 14 St. Ignatius Cathedral (exit 3 from the metro station). The area was under renovation in 2018, but the cathedral is open. Don't wear slippers or anything that resembles it, they are strict on decent outfit rules. Free.
- 15 Xujiahui Park. Always open. On the location of a former brick factory now stands the Xujiahui Park, which contains a man-made meandering brook (modelling in miniature the course of the Huangpu River), a lake with two black swans, basketball courts, and a children's playground.
- 16 Former site of Pathé, 811 Hengshan Road. The Red House, which once housed the Pathé China record company, is at the edge of Xujiahui Park.
- 17 Metro station exhibition. During metro service. Small, free museum exhibition at Shanghai Xujiahui station between exits 5 and 7. The exhibits are changed several times a year and sometimes English explanations are included. The history or tradition-related items are brought from nearby museums.
- 18 Shanghai Film Museum (Shanghai Film Group), North Caoxi Road 595 (Metro line or Shanghai Indoor Stadium exit 4), ☏ . 09:00 - 16:30 (last exit at 17:00). Starting from 1896, Shanghai has had a prominent role in Chinese movie making. German architect Tilman Thürmer transformed a film studio into an exciting experience of film evolution through over 70 interactive installations and thousands of historic exhibits. The museum contains 4 main exhibition units (floors) and an art cinema. (A very small free permanent exhibition can be seen in Shanghai Indoor Stadium metro station's concourse paid area above metro line 1: Portraits of Shanghai movie actors and Chinese description.)
- 19 Longhua Temple (metro lines and Longhua). One of the city's less-visited temples for foreign visitors, but an important one and one of the most popular for Shanghai residents during religious festivals. It is one of the largest ancient Buddhist temples in Shanghai. The first temple was built in 247 CE, but it was destroyed and rebuilt under the Song dynasty, 977 CE, and several times since then. It is a temple of the Ch'an sect of Buddhism, better known in the West by the Japanese name Zen. Longhua Pagoda, in front of the temple, is from the 10th century and one of the oldest standing buildings in the city.
- 20 Longhua Martyrs' Cemetery, 180 Longhua Lu (metro lines and , Longhua). Longhua Temple's old garden and orchard has now been converted into this large green space. Very few people are buried here, so it's more of a memorial garden and museum but the acreage is beautiful and large, akin to Luxun Park. The temple grounds became a "cemetery" because, during the civil war, Koumintang troops executed Communists on these grounds and the cemetery, poetry, fountains, steles, and sculptures commemorate those who were shot. The cemetery is an interesting example of Socialist Realist landscaping, but the peach blossoms - for which the temple's garden were famous - are still there, and attract many visitors when they flower in Spring. Free.
Longhua Cemetery and Temple are at the southern edge of the former French Concession, about a half hour walk or a ¥20 taxi ride from Xujiahui. The easiest way to reach them is by metro.
The West Bund (西岸) is an arts precinct on the banks of the Huangpu River.
- 21 Long Museum West Bund (Dragon Art Museum West Bund Branch, 龙美术馆西岸馆), 3398 Longteng Avenue (龙腾大道3398号) (at the intersection with Ruining Road, about 750 m east of Middle Longhua Road Station on Metro lines and ), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Tu-Su 10:00-18:00. The West Bund branch of the private art museum established by the wealthy collectors Liu Yiqian and his wife Wang Wei. The museum also has branches in Pudong District and the western city of Chongqing. Groups of 26 people or more are required to make a reservation at least 2 days before their visit. ¥100 (including tour guide).
- 22 West Bund Art Center (上海西岸艺术中心), 2555 Longteng Avenue, Xuhui District (徐汇区龙腾大道2555号) (about 450 m east of Yunjin Road Station on Metro Line ), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Fees and opening times vary. See individual listings below.
- 23 Centre Pompidou and West Bund Museum (西岸美术馆与蓬皮杜中心), 2600 Longteng Avenue, Xuhui District (徐汇区龙腾大道2600号) (on the east side of Longteng Avenue). First floor and basement open 10:00-22:00. Second floor open 10:00-17:00 (last entry at 16:00) but closed on Mondays. On weekdays, tickets are ¥70 for the semi-permanent exhibitions, ¥90 for the temporary exhibitions and ¥150 for all exhibitions. On weekends and public holidays, the tickets prices are increased to ¥80 for the semi-permanent exhibitions, ¥100 for the temporary exhibitions and ¥170 for all exhibitions.
- 24 Shanghai Center of Photography (上海摄影艺术中心), 1/2555 Longteng Avenue, Xuhui District (徐汇区龙腾大道2555号-1) (on the west side of Longteng Avenue), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. 10:30-17:30, no entry after 17:00, closed on Mondays. ¥40.
- 25 Yuz Museum (余德耀美术馆), 35 Fenggu Road, Xuhui District (徐汇区丰谷路35号) (about 600 m northeast of Yunjin Road Station on Metro Line . A short distance north of the West Bund Art Center), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 10:00-21:00, no entry after 20:00, closed on Mondays. Tickets for the art and film studios are ¥100. Entry to the 'Open Feast' area is free.
- 26 Tank Shanghai (油罐艺术中心), 2380 Longteng Avenue, Xuhui District (徐汇区龙腾大道2380号) (about 640 m southeast of Yunjin Road Station on Metro Line . A short distance south of the West Bund Art Center), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. 10:00-18:00, no entry after 17:30, closed on Mondays. Another art museum. Ticket prices vary according to the exhibitions being held. A one-year membership card costs ¥360..
In Middle and South XuhuiEdit
- 27 Shanghai Botanical Garden (上海植物园), 997 Longwu Lu (Metro: Lines , Shanghai South Railway Station or Line Shilong Road, both still far from it. Bus: Line 56, 824 and others will take you directly there.), ☏ . 07:00-17:00. Covering 81.86 hectares, the garden has a diverse collection of Chinese plants. Its sections are the penjing (bonsai) garden, penjing museum, tropicarium, magnolia, peony, bamboo and conifer gardens. ¥40.
- 28 Guilin Park (桂林公园), 188 Caobao Lu (Metro: Line Guilin Park), ☏ . 06:00-18:00. A relatively small park with traditional Chinese gates, curved paths and pavilions. Good park for a walk if you happen to be nearby, but for genuine historical gardens you can consider travelling to Suzhou. ¥2.
- 29 Kangjian Park (across the street from Guilin Park). larger and more modern than Guilin Park
- 30 Shanghai Normal University, 100 Guilin Road. The Shanghai Normal University Xuhui Campus lies on both sides of Guilin Road, not far from Guilin Park. The east side features a lake and the west side is also pleasant for a walk.
- 31 Chinese "Comfort Women" History Museum (中国“慰安妇”历史博物馆), Level 2, Wenyuan Building, Shanghai Normal University Xuhui Campus East Side (上海师范大学徐汇校区东部文苑楼2楼). 09:00-16:00, closed on Mondays. A museum about the women who were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese army during the Second World War. Free.
The original campus of Shanghai Jiaotong University (Jiaoda) is in this area, though there are now several other campuses and the new main campus is in Minhang. The old campus has Chinese language courses for foreigners and an MBA program that is taught in the evenings, mainly for Chinese business people.
There are several schools offering Chinese cooking courses for visitors:
- The Kitchen At..., 383 Xiangyang S Rd, ☏ . a cooking school with various courses
- [formerly dead link] Chinese Cooking Workshop. There is also a location in Pudong.
- Cook in Shanghai. Courses include a market tour to get your ingredients. The company also offers courses in crafts such as paper cutting and Chinese painting.
Lots of additions to this district, on a seemingly weekly basis. Check out the entire Xujiahui area and Times Square Huaihai Road for some of the larger malls. Creative boutiques can be found on Julu, Changle, Anfu and Xinle Roads throughout the French Concession, in addition to a high concentration of one-of-a-kind buys for sale in Tian Zi Fang northwest of the Luwan Stadium.
If you are looking for anything electronic, Xujiahui is the place to start. The Metro station is under the intersection of five roads (see photo). It has shops (mostly food or clothing) and there is at least one shopping mall on each of the five corners.
- Pacific Digital Plaza Phase 2 (red building in lower right of photo, exit 10 of the metro station), has all sorts of consumer electronics — computers, digital cameras, game consoles, MP3 players, cell phones, memory cards, and computer accessories.
- Pacific Digital Plaza Phase 1 (exit 9) is better for computer parts and for repairs or services like printer cartridge refills. The idea of shopping at "PDP-1" may appeal to hackers; that was the model designation of DEC's first computer. If you look like a foreigner then at quiet times you will probably find you are constantly called out to by shop owners, which makes browsing quite challenging.
- Grand Gateway Mall (green dome between office towers, back and left in photo, exit 12) is the most upscale of these malls, and also the best-air conditioned in the summertime. The 5th and 6th floors offer a good selection of restaurants, and there are several more at ground level behind the mall. The 5th floor also has a large bookstore with a good selection of books in English. This mall is a lot larger than it looks in the photo; that dome starts above the sixth floor, and everything below it plus corresponding floors of both towers is shopping. The basement level has more shops including a large supermarket with a good, though pricey, selection of Western groceries.
Ruijin Second Road is a tree-lined boulevard in the heart of the French Concession, where you can experience the real Shanghai longtang (a narrow alley from house to house, which is a distinctive Shanghai architecture style). Don't forget to walk down Taikang Lu into Tian Zi Fang and burrow your way into the in process gentrification of the back alleys here. Old men air their magpies in spotless, tiny cages next to top flight restaurants and cafes. Shanghai T is a great place to buy a high quality T-shirt with a smart logo, "What recession?" Tian Zi Fang's renovation is still evolving and interesting shops and restaurants are opening and closing every day. The trendy stores exist side by side with the rhythms of "old school" Shanghai life -- and any time you can catch a glimpse of that, you should feel lucky.
- Diva Life Nail & Beauty Lounge, Ruijin Er Lu (Near Jianguoxi). A 2,700 ft² (250 m2) house, mixed with Chinese and European style. Established in 1933, this three story complex was once the home of the Jewish wine merchant H.L. Menken.
- Ferguson Lane (in a narrow alley off Wukang Rd). A 1930s building filled with restaurants and boutique shops.
- 1 Garden Books (Near junction of Changle and Shanxi S Rds). Good selection of Chinese travel guides, aromatic coffee, and flavorful ice cream. Their monthly bric-a-brac sales are a popular local social event.
- 2 Madame Mao's Dowry, Fu Min Lu. Cultural Revolution nostalgia. Prices are stiff enough that buying here is recommended only if cheaper places do not have what you want.
- Silk qipao shops. A row of shops along Chang Le Lu, between Mao Ming Lu and Shan Xi Nan Lu specializes in silk Qi Paos (traditional Shanghai-style silk dresses), which can be made to measure. The shops are especially popular with Japanese visitors staying at the nearby Okura Garden Hotel. An alternative destination for qipao in Shanghai is along North Shaanxi Road, near the junction with West Nanjing Road, where the most famous qipao workshops of Shanghai are located, including Long Feng. There are also some other qipao stores on Maoming Road, near Huaihai Road.
- Spin Ceramics, 360 Kangding Rd (at the corner of N. Shaanxi Rd). Designer ceramics by Chinese artists but with a Japanese flavor, in a stylish minimalist space.
- Torana House (164 Anfu Rd (just west of Wulumuqi Rd)). Has Tibetan and Chinese carpets and Tibetan furniture in a contemporary gallery.
- Pottery Workshop Shanghai, 176 Fumin Lu (between Julu Lu and Changle Lu), ☏ . 09:00-17:00. Second location for this shop. ¥50-5000.
- 3 IAPM Mall, Huaihai Middle Road 999. (Metro: Lines , , South Shaanxi Road), ☏ . 10:00-23:00. This upscale mall houses big-name boutiques, restaurants and cafes. It features an atrium famous for its large-scale decoration exhibits during (Chinese and western) holidays.
Other nearby areas:
Along Maoming South Road by the Jin Jiang Hotel there are designer shops and art galleries. Don't forget your platinum credit card.
- Vegetarian Lifestyle, 77 Song Shan Rd (in an alleyway just S of Huaihai Rd), ☏ . until 22:00 daily. A beautifully appointed modern restaurant where everything is vegetarian. You will not find much in the way of fake meat that pervades most of the other vegetarian places. Instead, you will enjoy beautifully cooked dishes from all over the country in addition to a juice bar. Beer ¥30, ¥18 lunch special.
- 1 Spicy Joint, 3/F, K. Wah Center, 1028 Middle Huaihai Rd, near Donghu Rd (淮海中路1028号, 嘉华中心嘉华坊3楼, 近东湖路), ☏ . Ridiculously popular for their cheap stylized Sichuan food, in a young and fashionable environment. The waits for a table are notorious. ¥8-30.
- Foodrepublic Food Court (Sixth floor of Metro City mall, Xujiahui). Food court with many different restaurants. Most do not accept cash, though the restaurants that have their own separate seating area take both cash and cards, so you will have to add money to and put down a deposit for a stored-value card specific to the other Foodrepublics. You can see plastic models of all the dishes before you order them, so you will have a decent idea of what you are getting. Copious MSG (avoidable depending on what you're after; the CoCo Ichibanya Japanese curry place is safe in this regard) but mostly tasty and moderately priced.
- 2 Ah Da's Spring Onion Pancakes (阿大葱油饼), 120 Ruijin 2nd Road. Th-Tu 06:00-15:00. This humble stall moved here from another part of the French Concession. It sells hot cong you bing, and is a Shanghai establishment. Owner Wu Gencheng has been selling his creations for over 30 years. Queues can be notoriously long (up to 3 hours), and they frequently run out before closing time, so come early. ¥8.
- Amokka, Anfu Rd (W of Wulumuqi Road). Coffee bar and restaurant good for lunch stops.
- Cafe Dan, No. 41, Lane 248 Taikang Lu, near Sinan Lu 泰康路248弄41号, 近思南路 (leave Dapuqiao Metro Station (Line ) by exit 1, and cross Taikang Street. Cafe Dan is at the back of the lane opposite the station exit). Japanese style coffee house with very good tasting coffee and very nice Hokkaido Cheese Cake. Coffee starts around ¥40.
- 3 Cantina Agave, 291 Fumin Road, corner of Changle Road (Changshu Road metro, exit 1, turn left, walk a block, right, then another block), ☏ . Good Mexican food, beer and cocktails. They have another location in Pudong.
- Di Shui Dong (滴水洞), 56 Maoming Rd (near Changle Rd, Metro: Shaanxi S Rd), ☏ . Fiery cuisine from Hunan, the birthplace of Mao Zedong, thus a menu full of "Mao's Shrimp", "Mao's Chicken" and such. Very popular with foreigners.
- Enoterra, 53-57 Anfu Rd (5 min walk from Changshu Road station (line and ), 5-10 min walk from Shanghai Library station (line )). 10:00-02:00. Excellent wine bar specializing in Argentinean and South African wines. Food is fairly basic with cheese and meat plates and salads, but the wine is outstanding.
- Hailaogui (海老亀; Hǎilǎogūi), 41 Yandang Rd (雁蕩路41号). Cafe specialising in sweet Chinese desserts claimed to have all sorts of beneficial effects for your health, particularly dishes made with turtle. No English menu. Milk pudding with ginger is ¥10.
- Secret Garden, Changle Rd (a short distance west from Garden Books). Serving Cantonese food in pleasant surroundings. The veranda-like space near to Secret Garden has been home to a succession of restaurants, the latest incarnation being a Greek restaurant.
- Shanghai Uncle, 211 Tianyaoqiao Rd, ☏ . A famous chain of three restaurants known for Shanghai flair with some Western accents. Known for their spare ribs, smoked fish and fatty pork with garlic.
- Uighur Restaurant (维吾尔餐厅), 280 Yi Shan Rd., ☏ . Claims to be the "original" Xinjiang cuisine restaurant in the city, and probably the best-known. The typical main dishes are moderately spicy preparations of lamb, but the menu also features some rather adventurous items like camel feet, sheep's eyeballs, and a bull's you-know-what. Also music and dance shows with the obligatory audience participation.
- 4 Glo London, No. 1 Wulumuqi South Road (on the corner of Dongping Road and Wulumuqi Road, opposite the United States Consulate), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. An English style restaurant that does familiar (for westerners) style brunch. Rather expensive, but the food tastes pretty close to what you would get in a good restaurant in England. Coffee shop and a good bakery on the ground floor (half price on many items after 21:00), a disco-ish bar on the next floor, then a grill restaurant, and finally a rooftop barbeque. Nearby metro stops: go north along Wulumuqi for Line 10, Shanghai Library, north on Hengshan Road (a short block east) for Lines 1 or 7, Changshu Road, or south on Hengshan for the Hengshan Road Line 1 stop. ¥70.
- 5 ASE Mall (Sun Moon Light Center), 33 Caobao Road (Metro: Line , Caobao Road. The station lies below the mall, so there is access without leaving the building). 10:00 - 22:00. A huge mall finished in 2017, hosting mostly elite and highly decorated restaurants, Will's Fitness and a cinema. The building features a panoramic elevator, an inner yard, and neon signs that resemble old shopping streets.
- Casanova, far western end of Julu Rd. Very competent Italian fare.
- Le Saleya, 长乐路570号 (between Xiangyang Rd and Shaanxi S Rd), ☏ . Closed 13:00-18:00. Neighborhood French Restaurant. Unpretentious and you can close your eyes and imagine you are on the Ile de la Cite. Prix fixe menu is ¥220 per person.
- Mesa, Julu Rd (W of Xiangyang Rd junction). Excellent and flavorful Western and fusion food accented by a fine wine list. The stunning view from the balcony is at its best in the spring and fall. Quite pricey.
- Otto, 85 Fumin Rd. A sophisticated Italian restaurant and wine bar.
- 6 Sasha's, No.11 Dongping Road (corner of Hengshan Road), ☏ . European-style food in a lovely old mansion. Large patio area. ¥200-400.
- Shintori, Julu Road. Japanese design restaurant with stunning features. Serving traditional and fusion cuisine.
- 7 Southern Belle, 433 Changle Lu. Good American food including some Tex-Mex dishes. The biscuits are disappointing, the mint juleps just fine.
Many bars, restaurants and nightclubs are clustered together in the Found 158 complex on Julu Lu. Xintiandi is another large bar anr dining complex. It's possible to find good bars throughout the French Concession area.
- Wooden Paradise, No. 3, Lane 63 Fuxing Xi Lu, near Yongfu Lu (at the junction of Fuxing Lu & Yongfu Lu), ☏ . Great little cocktail bar; the entrance is at the back of the bar. Starting price ¥60.
- Boxing Cat Brewery (Boxing Cat Brewery (Yongfu Lu)), 82 Fuxing Xi Lu, near Yongfu Lu. This popular bar & restaurant provides pub grub & a decent selection of beers, including house beers. It also has an outdoor area that's popular. ¥50 for a beer.
- Senator Saloon, 98 Wuyuan Lu, near Wulumuqi Zhong Lu, ☏ . 17:00 - 02:00. A craft cocktail bar from the same people as Sichuan Citizen. Lots of choices with a particular focus on bourbon. Cocktails from around ¥70.
- 1 Jenny's Blue Bar, 7 Donghu Rd (Metro: Shanxi Rd S), ☏ . A friendly bar, run by Jenny in its present location since 2000. A wide choice of drinks, good music and sports coverage mean that it is popular both with expats and with visitors. Look out for the two cats that make themselves at home behind the bar, frequently sleeping on top of the television or the display units.
- 2 Oscar's Pub, 1377 Fuxing Lu at Baoqing Lu (Metro: Changshu Road (line or ) and walk south past Starbucks). Daily, 11:00 to late. Mainly an expat bar, in an area with several others. Dartboard, chess on Sundays, reasonable food and a range of drinks, a Filipino band. Cheap Tiger in happy hour, 11:00-20:00.
- Shanghai Brewery (Shanghai Brewery (Donghu Lu)), 20 Donghu Lu, near Huaihai Lu, ☏ . A brew pub with western food, big-screen TVs and English-speaking staff.
- Le Café des Stagiaires (Found 158), Found 158, B1/F Julu Lu, ☏ . 12:00 until late. Popular French bar & restaurant in the sprawling Found 158 complex. Complete with French comfort food. ¥50-70.
- Daga Brewpub, 100 Fuxing Lu, near Wukang Lu. Daily 10:00 - 01:00. Busy brewpub with a wide selection of beers. The pub places an emphasis on good quality Chinese beers but also has an impressive selection from the US & elsewhere. Serves food too. From ¥45 for a beer.
- The Refinery, 181 Taicang Lu, near Huangpi Nan Lu, ☏ . 10:00-02:00. This craft beer bar & restaurant in the upmarket Xintiandi bar and dining complex is a popular choice for expats and tourists. It's just south of the fountain in Xintiandi. From ¥50 for a drink.
- Asset Hotel Shanghai, 590 S Wanping Rd, Xuhui District. The hotel is close to well-known places such as Xujiahui and Zhaojiabang Rd. All rooms are air-conditioned and have their own private bathroom. Services include 24-hour front desk and room services, and free shuttle bus is offered to guests who want to explore the rest of the district. ¥250-600.
- Blue Mountain Youth Hostel (上海蓝山国际青年旅舍), 2F Bldg #1, 1072 Nong, Quxi Rd, Luwan District (卢湾区瞿溪路1072弄1号甲二楼) (opposite Luban Rd Metro Stn (Line 4)), ☏ , fax: . On the street just outside you will find several restaurants, small supermarkets, and fruitshops. The staff is helpful and speaks good English. Dorms 8/4-6 persons ¥40/¥50, Double/triple with bath ¥160/¥220.
- Shanghai Bin Guan (上海宾馆), 柳州路2号 (across the street from Shanghai South Station), ☏ . If you took a bus to Shanghai South Station, this is a decent hotel within walking distance, you have to go through the underpass. have massage in your room if you want. It is very far South of the French Concession: two subway stops or ¥30 taxi from Xujiahui. ¥200-300.
- Anting Villa Hotel, 46 Anting Rd, Xuhui District, ☏ . Offers guestrooms equipped with air-conditioning, cable television (with lots of English channels), and an IDD phone. It is a must-try to dine in at their very own Maple Leaves Restaurant, that serves Shanghainese and Cantonese cuisines all day. It is in a beautiful, sleepy Concession neighborhood, down the road from the popular bar Cotton's, and close to subway lines 1, 7 and 9. Hotel Design also sees it used for many special occasions such as weddings in its Gardens.
- [dead link] Hua Ting Hotel, 1200 N Caoxi Rd. A 5-star hotel, is also not far away, you may take Metro Line 1 for one stop and get off at Shanghai Stadium, the hotel is close to the metro station. It is not in the French Concession, but one stop or ¥20 by taxi away.
- Jianguo Hotel, 439 Caoxi Rd, Xuhui District, ☏ . Offers 454 air-conditioned guestrooms, all of which have high-speed Internet, color TV, mini-bar, and room safe. Some of its amenities include fitness center/gym, sauna, and an indoor pool. Restaurants include the CTC Restaurant that is known for its shark's fin, abalone, and other upscale Chinese delicacies; Shanghai Restaurant that serves authentic Shanghai dishes during lunch and dinner; and Yuliu Restaurant that serves Korean fare. It is in Xujiahui but several blocks south of the actual former Concession.
- Jin Jiang Tian Cheng Hotel, 585 Xujiahui Rd, The East Building, Jin Yu Lan Sq. Four-star business hotel with 148 guestrooms. Business and event facilities include a business center and event and conference venues of varying sizes. Leisure offerings include indoor swimming pool, disco and karaoke center. It is just south of the French Concession.
- Patina Court, No.68 Luban Road, Luwan District, ☏ . All rooms equipped with air-conditioning, cable TV and internet connection. Some of its facilities and services are Swimming pool, sauna, massage service, Room service, bar, cafe, Meeting facilities and business center. From ¥998.
- [formerly dead link] San Want Hotel, 650 Yishan Rd, Xuhui District, ☏ . Four-star hotel with 383 rooms with LCD TV, Japanese-style bathtub, refrigerator, and high-speed Internet access. Conference rooms, banquet hall and business center available. It is to the far southwest of the French Concession.
- 1 Somerset Xu Hui Shanghai (上海徐汇盛捷服务公寓), No 888 Shaanxi Nan Road, Xu Hui district, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Each of the 167 residences at Somerset Xu Hui is furnished with fully-equipped kitchens, home entertainment system and broadband Internet access.
- Sports Hotel, No 15 Nandan Rd, Xuhui District, ☏ . Four-stars. Outside the hotel are nearby tourist spots such as Shanghai Museum, People’s Square, and Yu Garden. Their guestrooms are equipped with air conditioning, a 25-inch cable TV, and electronic door locks. Some of their offered facilities includes an indoor swimming pool, gymnasium, sauna, and function and business rooms. It is halfway between Shanghai Stadium and Xujiahui Metro Station. Best rates on official website start at ¥553.
- Andaz Shanghai, 88 Songshan Road (Xintiandi), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Andaz are Hyatt's boutique hotels; this is the first one in Asia.
- 2 Ascott Huai Hai Road Shanghai (上海雅诗阁淮海路服务公寓), No 282, Huaihai Road Central, Luwan district, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. The serviced residence is in the Luwan District near Xintiandi. It studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments, each with its own kitchen, washing machine, home entertainment system and modern furnishings.
- [dead link] Garden Avenue Hotel, 689 Old Humin Rd, Xuhui District. 5-star business hotel nowhere near Shanghai’s central business district. It has 218 rooms, fully-equipped banquet halls, and dining and recreational facilities. It is next to the South Railway Station and ¥30 taxi to away from Xujiahui.
- Hengshan Moller Villa, No 30 Shanxi Rd S Jing. Housed in a stunning piece of 1936 architecture. Rooms are frequently booked out so be sure to try and get one of the main rooms which contain wood panelling or business rooms that are much larger and come with a huge balcony that overlooks the garden.
- Hengshan Picardie Hotel, 534 Hengshan Road, Xuhui District, ☏ , fax: . A classic Art Deco-inspired hotel in the heart of French Concession. The hotel offers 254 rooms and dining and leisure facilities. Business amenities include a fully-equipped business center and venues such as Kaixuan Palace and Blossom Hall.
- 3 The Kunlun Jing An (previously Hilton Shanghai), 250 Huashan Lu, ☏ , fax: . Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. While still popular with business travelers for its recognizable name, the Hilton Shanghai has lost some of its luster, although its still considered a top end hotel in this area. Rooms are spacious and modern, and the staff are friendly, but the Hilton needs to step up its game.
- [dead link] Jin Jiang Hotel, Luwan District, ☏ . Offers 434 luxurious rooms, all of which have individually controlled air-conditioning, mini-bar, color TV with cable channels, DVD player, and refrigerator. Some of its amenities include fitness center, beauty salon, spa, sauna, and massage service. Best rates on official website start at ¥1280.
- [dead link] Jin Jiang Tower, 161 Changle Rd, Luwan District, ☏ , fax: , (reservations), ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Five star hotel on Changle Road. ¥1025.
- Lanson Place Jinlin Tiandi Residences Shanghai, No 3, Lane 168 Xingye Rd, Luwan District, ☏ . Offers 3-bedroom residences with engaging views, either over the alleyways of the Xintiandi quarter or a tranquil lake. All apartments are equipped with air-conditioning, cable TV, fully equipped kitchen, and Internet connection. Some of its amenities include a home theater system, sauna and steam rooms, and a fully equipped gymnasium. Best rates on official website start at ¥2200.
- Mason Hotel, 935 Central Huaihai Rd, Luwan, French Concession, ☏ . This boutique hotel is cozy and comfortable and great for quiet nights sleep. All rooms have internet access and there's a 2nd floor lounge, a rooftop beer garden, a variety of restaurants and a Starbucks on the ground floor.
- Okura Garden Hotel, 58 Maoming Rd S, Luwan District, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. 5-star hotel built around the former French Club and its garden from 1926. Many art-deco decorations from that time are still visible in the hotel, especially in the Ball Room. Very central location along Huai Hai Road, with good accessibility and a subway stop (South Shaanxi Road, Line 1) next to the hotel grounds.
- Old House Inn, No 16, Lane 351, Huashan Rd, ☏ . With only a dozen rooms, its advisable to book ahead to secure one of these charming rooms, furnished in traditional Chinese style. All rooms have internet access and breakfast, which is included, is served in an outdoor courtyard.
- Royal Court Hotel Shanghai, Lane 622, 7 Middle Huaihai Rd, Luwan District. A five star business hotel. Air-conditioned rooms, conference halls, restaurant and bar, gym and sauna. Easily accessible from S Shanxi Rd Stn and Nanjing Rd.
- Intercontinental Shanghai Ruijin (上海瑞金洲际酒店), 118 Rui Jin 2 Rd. Villa style hotel with picturesque surroundings. All of the villas here, 5 in total, are designed in French style, some harking back to the start of the 20th century. The main building is particularly nice with a grand colonial vista. The hotel is situated in a park-like compound with small bridges, ponds, pavilions and marble fountains.
- Shanghai New-Westlake Hotel, No 22, Lane 133, Mao Ming South Road, Luwan District, ☏ . It is 5 km from the railway station. It offers 20 air-conditioned rooms with cable TV, free broadband Internet access, a private toilet, and a room safe.
- 4 Pullman Shanghai Skyway, 15 Dapu Rd, Luwan District (Subway station: Dapuqiao), ☏ , toll-free: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. The hotel impresses the most with its sheer size - over 50 floors, crowned by a gargantuan canopy, make it a visible landmark from much of southern Shanghai. The smallest rooms in the hotel are almost 50 sqm in size. On the inside, it is getting quite long in the tooth and gradual renovations slowly bring it in line with more modern Pullmans, but all of the features you'd expect of one are here, including a swimming pool, spa, gym, and health club. The upper room categories come with access to a generous Executive Lounge. Starting from ¥730.
- 5 Langham Xintiandi, 99 Madang Road, Xintiandi, Huangpu, ☏ . Luxury hotel right next to the Xintiandi old town ¥3000.