Glamorous by definition, the Shanghai French Concession is a slice of Europe in the heart of China. It was once reserved exclusively for the city’s French residents and is brimming with fantastic shopping, beautiful architecture and one of Asia’s most sophisticated dining scenes.
Today, the Shanghai French Concession is made up of the Luwan and Xuhui districts. The first is a mecca for well-heeled shoppers, with Huaihai Road lined with high-end boutiques and specialty retail stores. In Xuhui, elegant tree-lined avenues are dotted with Tudor mansions that earn the district a well-deserved reputation as the Paris of the East. As well as fashion and lifestyle, the French Concession is home to the Shanghai Stadium.
Accessing Shanghai’s French Concession is easy, with the Metro running along Huaihai and Hengshan Roads. Once in the district, the best way to explore the French Concession is by foot, with locals also favouring bicycles and scooters to get around.
The area dates back to 1849 when the French Consul to Shanghai was granted permission to establish a French settlement. The European influences live on to this day, and the area is famous for its chic cafes, trendy boutiques and shady streets lined with imported London plane trees. Fuxing Road is a perfect place to admire old classical buildings, with the Sylvan streets area home to Shanghai’s most impressive Art Deco residential architecture.