After the Opium War of 1842, Shanghai had been opened up for foreign trade. Very soon it became home to several foreigners. The colonial French officers then created a district in 1849 for French people. The area expanded in 1900-1914, making it one of the most affluent and the best residential areas in the city.
The early residents of the area were mostly French but the Chinese, Russia, American and British also lived in the area later. The area was ruled by French for around a century till 1943.
Xinle Road and Changle Road
Some of the old streets in the French Concession area are lined with beautiful trees and bustling with activity. These streets are home to trendy restaurants and boutiques. Xinle Road and Changle Road are quickly becoming the best places for finding designer stores. The architecture in the area with Belgian and French venture investments showcases European-Chinese styles.
The Former Residence of Soong Ching Ling
One of the main attractions in French Concession area is the former residence of Soong Ching Ling which was built in the Xujiahui District at the Huaihai Middle road in the year 1843. Today the area has a small museum which is home to several artifacts related to Chinese politics leading up to the founding of PRC.
The house located nearby is two levels. It contains several original pictures and items. The grounds of the residence are well maintained and has a garage with former cars used by the state.
The European style Fuxing Park was earlier called the French Park and is very popular with the locals. The park has open spaces, gardens and is dotted along with clubs and restaurants. The park sees singing groups, tai chi artists, mahjong and card players and dancers in the mornings. Visitors can walk along the Fuxing Road to see classical old Chinese-European buildings and enjoy the historical neatness of the road.
The Cemetery of Longhua Martyrs
Actually, there are very few people being buried here. It is more of a memorial garden and museum than a graveyard, but the acreage is beautiful and large. During the civil war, KMT (中国国民党) members executed Communists on these grounds and the cemetery, poetry, fountains, steles, and sculptures commemorate those who were shot.
Longhua Cemetary and Temple are located not in but several kilometers south of the Former French Concession, about a half hour walk or a 20 RMB taxi ride from Xujiahui. Longhua Temple is one of the city's less-visited temples, but it worth to visit to know more about the Chinese history.
The Sylvan Streets are home to beautiful Art Deco architecture in Shanghai. Several of the historic buildings on the streets have bronze plaques stating the original use of the building. This area is especially interesting due to the discreet cafes and small shops located around.
In the Sylvan Streets, visitors can explore and admire the world's largest Shanghai's Art Deco residential architecture (although not the most well-kept). There is a bronze plaque hanging on most of the historic buildings that details their original use. The area located between Fuxing and Huaihai Roads. It is particularly interesting with a sprinkling of tucked-away shops and discreet cafes, a refreshing alternative to the city's generally megalomaniac streetscape.
Old French Concession Streets
When visiting the French Concession, try to move away from the main streets and explore the area between Huaihai Road, Julu Road and Maoming Road. These older streets are pleasant for walks, lined with streets and are filled with local bustle. Around these streets are several local attractions and stores to explore.
Get rid of the noisy industrial modern Shanghai City, the Old French Concession Streets boast pleasant tree-lined streets and local Shanghainese bustle. Along the streets, there emerge a increasing number of trendy boutiques and restaurants. Visitors can find some places of small designer clothing shops are developing rapidly. Chinese-European style architecture can be seen on both sides of the road and can give visitors sense of history mixed with modern shops.
Former Residence Sun Yat-sen
The building was the Shanghai residence of Sun Yat-sen and his wife Soong Ching Ling from 1918-1937. It was converted into a museum in 1961 and tells the story of the revolutionary father of China's republic.
Former Residence Zhou Enlai
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.
C3 Café (Creative Co-working Cafe) is an Event Café built up on Shanghai Couchsurfing Community. It is designed to support the events in different fields such as Art, Cultural, Business or Traveling. Events are easy to join and pretty much in every night of the week.
Try some of the local restaurants in the French Concession area for authentic Shanghai food.