French concession region
The French Concession in Shanghai is an area that had once been designated to the French. Today it consists of the Xuhai and Luwan Districts. The Huaihai Road in Luwan is a very busy shopping area and it is also home to Tian Zi Fang and Xintiandi which are popular for dining and shopping.
The area is also home to the Shanghai Stadium. The French Concession area is called as the Paris of East due to its several Tudor mansions and tree lined avenues.
Things to Do
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 showcase European-Chinese styles.
Explore the Old 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.
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.
The Cemetery of Longhua Martyrs
Only a few people are buried at the cemetery so it is mainly known for the museum and the garden. However, the acreage is large and beautiful. KMT members had executed the Communists during the civil war on the grounds here. The sculptures, steles, fountains, poetry and the cemetery commemorate the people who were shot. The Longhua Temple and Cemetery are located only a few kilometers from the French Concession.
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.
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