Former French Concession

Shanghai Former French Concession is located in Huangpu District and Xuhui District. It is one of China's four major French Concessions. In 1920, along the "Lafayette Road" (Rue Lafayette, now Fuxing Road) south of "French Garden" (now Fuxing Park), the first batch of garden mansion was built. Which attracted a large number of military and political officials, entrepreneurs, professionals and well-known artists to move in, so that the region became the settlement of the upper class. Shanghai French Concession also lies in the charm of her life style that not disappear because of the end of the period. However, it continues to be elegant strongly. There are many characteristics clothing store, dessert, restaurants open on both sides of the street. There is no place famous than here with its stories, plots and lifestyles.


With its own namesake metro station, Xintiandi has been a Shanghai icon for a decade or more. An upscale entertainment and shopping complex modelled on traditional alleyway (lòngtáng) homes, this was the first development in the city to prove that historical architecture makes big commercial sense. Elsewhere that might sound like a no-brainer, but in 21st-century China, where bulldozers are always on standby, it came as quite a revelation.

Well-heeled shoppers and alfresco diners keep things lively until late, and if you’re looking for a memorable meal or to browse through some of Shanghai’s more fashionable boutiques, you’re in the right spot. The heart of the complex, divided into a pedestrianised north and south block, consists of largely rebuilt traditional shíkùmén houses, brought bang up-to-date with a stylish modern spin. But while the layout suggests a flavor of yesteryear, you should not expect much in the cultural realm. Xintiandi doesn’t deliver any of the lived-in charm of Tianzifang or the creaking, rickety simplicity of the Old Town. Beyond two worthwhile sights – the Shíkùmén Open House Museum and the Site of the 1st National Congress of the CCP – it’s best for strolling the prettified alleyways and enjoying a summer evening over drinks or a meal.


Tianzifang and Xintiandi are based on a similar idea – an entertainment complex housed within a warren of traditional lòngtáng (alleyways) – but when it comes to genuine charm and vibrancy, Tianzifang is the one that delivers. You do need to wade through the souvenir stalls to get to the good stuff, but this network of design studios, cafes, bars and boutiques is the perfect antidote to Shanghai's oversized malls and intimidating skyscrapers. With some families still residing in neighboring buildings, a community mood survives.

There are three main north–south lanes (Nos 210, 248 and 274) criss-crossed by irregular east–west alleyways, which makes exploration slightly disorienting and fun. Among the art galleries is Beaugeste, a forward-thinking photography gallery (only open at the weekends, by appointment at other times). The real activity is shopping, and the recent explosion of creative start-ups makes for some interesting finds, from vintage spectacle frames at Shanghai Code and cool homewares at concept store Taste, to hand-wrapped pǔ'ěr teas from Zhēnchálín. Elsewhere, a growing band of cool cafes, restaurants and bars, such as Kommune, East, Bell Bar and I Love Shanghai, can sort out meals and drinks and help take the weight off your feet.

Hengshan Road

Hengshan Road was known formerly as Avenue Petain and is a street located in the French Concession area of Shanghai. It is a major thoroughfare which had once been the center of the premier residential district of the city. A lot of mansions on the road have now been converted into restaurants, night clubs and bars and it is today a very vibrant and exciting nightlife district in the city and is very popular with expats.

Hengshan Road is the biggest and the oldest bar streets of Shanghai. It was a major residential area of Shanghai in the past with beautiful European architecture. Today most of these are restaurants, bars and nightclubs with open courtyards and the leafy chinars on each side of the road that give it a very exotic air.

A Walking Tour Through the French Concession

It takes about two hours to finish this walking tour, but there is plenty of opportunity to lengthen that time shopping and sight-seeing. If you feel like a break during the trip, you can enjoy coffee near the Sinan Mansions or in Tianzifang.

Recommended walking route:

Garden Hotel – Cathay Cinema – Huaihai Road – Gaolan Road – Sinan Mansions – Sun Yat-sen's Former Residence – Tianzifang

Garden Hotel

Garden Hotel, which is adjacent to bustling Huaihai Road, is located on Maoming South Road (or Route Cardinal Mercier), a quiet place in the downtown. With its excellent geographical location, guests can enjoy their business, tourism, shopping, and outward journeys with convenience from Garden Hotel.

There are five restaurants in the hotel, featuring Chinese-style, Western-style, or Japanese-style food, with local and tasty flavors. With three splendid and exotic bars, ten elegant and grand multifunction halls, and business centers, an administrative salon, a high-quality goods store, gym and other high-grade facilities, Garden Hotel is a fully-integrated modern hotel with classic elegance and luxurious comfort.

Cathay Cinema

Cathay Cinema was previously called Cathay Theatre. It is located at 870 Huaihai Middle Road, near Gate 3 of Shanxi South Road Station on Metro Line 1. Cathay Cinema is a classical building with a history of over 80 years.

Huaihai Road

Located in the downtown of Shanghai's French Concession, Huaihai Road is one of the busiest shopping streets in Shanghai. It is known to all that Huaihai Road is Shanghai's most beautiful and fashionable street with the best emotional appeal.

With modern architecture standing in great numbers, Huaihai Road is a place where fashionable and brand-name commodities are plentiful, following world trends. Being famous for elegance and romance, Huaihai Road is a glorious shopping paradise in most people's eyes.

Gaolan Road

Gaolan Road is another street in Huangpu District. It was once called Rue Corneille, named after the French poet Corneille. It was built by the French Concession Authority in 1914, and was renamed Gaolan Road in 1946.

Along the road are famous residences including Zhang Xueliang's Former Residence, a Spanish garden villa with three stories; and Fuxing Park, a small park with French emotional appeal, once called French Park.

The Sinan Mansions

Located at 55 Sinan Road, Huangpu District, the Sinan Mansions are adjacent to Fuxing Park. There are 51 garden villas with almost a century of history and various architectural styles.

The Sinan Mansions are the most concentrated area of classic residences in Shanghai. When you walk through the Sinan Mansions, it's just like wandering through a fascinating and charming architectural display. There are boutique hotels, service apartments, enterprise mansions, and business districts in the Sinan Mansions.

Sun Yat-sen's Former Residence

Sun Yat-sen's Former Residence is located at 7 Xiangshang Road. It is a European country-style house. The house was the Shanghai residence of Sun Yat-sen and his wife Soong Ching-ling from 1918–1924.


Tianzifang is the landmark Art Street on Taikang Road. When you walk through Tianzifang and wander through the maze of alleys, arty shops and art workshops casually jump into your sight. Tea houses, open-air restaurants, outdoor cafes, galleries, furniture decorations, handicrafts, and famous creative studios are everywhere.