Wednesday, March 12, 2008

French Concession Shanghai

Shanghai phone上海仏租界

Most of urban China has already been or is slated soon for a date with the wrecking ball. Shanghai is no different; if anything, it may be worse.

Two exceptions to the rule, however, are left: the Bund and the French Concession area. The former is the magnificent riverfront promenade, the latter is a leafy area that was designated for the French following the First Opium War. (The US and UK also were granted areas in which to live, but both are long gone. The US and UK areas joined in 1863 and created the International Settlement; the French maintained their own, separate Settlement.)

The French Concession area is bisected by Huaihai Road, which is a large shopping street—and not of much historical interest. Close by though are smaller, tree-lined streets that feature quite a few mansions left over from the period.

A great stroll is down Fuxing Xi Lu. In addition to the buildings noted below, the area also has many boutiques and cafes.

Interesting buildings along or near Fuxing Xi Lu include the following:

Willow Apartment House, No. 34 Fuxing Xi Lu. This art deco structure was built in 1934.

The Cloister, No. 63 Fuxing Xi Lu. Owned by a British merchant, this building looks like a Spanish villa.

Rose Villa, No. 1-7 Lane 44, Fuxing Xi Li. This apartment was constructed in the 1930s.

Garden House, No. 140 Fuxing Xi Lu. Built in 1928, it brings to mind a British country villa.

Old English Country Garden House, No. 193 Fuxing Xi Lu. The is 1930 home has a beautifully gabled roof and massive red brick chimney.

Garden Villa, No. 1 Lane 117, Wukang Lu.

Le Passage, No. 299 Fuxing Xi Lu. Restored in 2003, it is now a store.

French Concession Area, ShanghaiNearby is the Xintiandi area, which can be reached easily from the Huangpi Nanlu stop. There are a few traces of Shanghai of old here; mainly, though, it is a trendy shopping and partying area for young people of means.

Access

Metro Line 1 runs along Huaihai and Hengshan Roads. Shan Xi Nan Lu Station is the most convenient stop.

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