French Concession Area Shanghai

Written by Vivian Updated Feb. 11, 2022

The French Concession in Shanghai is an area that had once been designated for the French. Today it is a popular area for shopping and dining.  The area is called the Paris of the East due to its several Tudor mansions, tree-lined avenues, wrought iron fences, and stair railings that are very reminiscent of neighborhoods in France.

The Former French Concession in Shanghai began in 1849, ended in 1943, and lasted for a century.

The French Concession was mainly located in the Luwan District (卢湾区) and the Xuhui District(徐汇区)of Shanghai (formed by the merger of the British and American Concessions). Now become Shanghai’s most prominent tourist attraction.

Take your time here to explore the historical building, stroll the alleys, browse at the interesting stores, and grab a bite to eat.

French concession region

Top Highlights to Explore in the French Concession

This residential area of Shanghai was once designated for the French, the original buildings have been purposed and well preserved. The whole concession is an example of older French housing and buildings.

Explore Old Shanghai on Wukang Road

Reasons to Recommend - there are 37 historic buildings located in this block, which tell you the legends of the celebrities in old Shanghai, also renowned as a famous movie location.

Wukang Road is renowned as an Instagrammers hot spot. The garden houses on both sides of the road have been inhabited by countless dignitaries and cultural celebrities, and every courtyard and building here has witnessed a legendary of Chinese history.

Visit The Art Street of Tianzifang

Reasons to recommend - Tianzifang is a small alley with traditional Shanghai-style lanes, a combination block of local residential, souvenir shops, bars, and restaurants.

You can enter Tianzifang at gate 1, which is located at No.210 Taikang Road. Tianzifang is actually in the old style Lane in Shanghai. A typical sheltering traditional shikumen (stone gate) house still inhabited by the local residents on the top floor of the house, with their cloth hanging overhead. Now the bottom floor has been changed into high-end shops, souvenir shops, art galleries, coffee shops, etc.

Shops in the scenic area are generally open from 10:00 to 22:00, and bars close later in the day.


Discover Local Life in Fuxing Park (French Garden)

Reasons to Recommend - a nice place to experience an authentic local life, escape from the bustling city, and enjoy leisure time.

It’s a green park in the middle of the Former French Concession. local retirees just hang out and enjoy their days, playing Tai Chi, Chinese yoyo, ballroom dance, and singing. The park includes a forested area with woodland walks and a small lake with grotesque rocks.

Fuxing Park
Ballroom Dancing in Fuxing Park

Where to Eat in French Concession - Best Restaurants and Cafes

Arabica Cafe

Coffee Tree

Rainbow Shake Beverage Shop

Green & Safe

Yun & Lanna - Yunnan Cuisine

restaurants in xintiandi
Restaurants in Xintiandi

Best Way to Explore the French Concession

The best way to visit the French Concession area is by foot or by bike. 

Recommended Tour Itinerary By Foot

You are suggested to spend half a day walking the various lanes lines in the former French concession.

Start from the Middle Huaihai Road - The Former French Club - Cathay Theater, Shanghai Shikumen Houses - Shanghai Culture Square - Chinese 1st Premier's Former Residence Sinan Mansions - St. Peter’s Church - Former French - Courthouse - and the tour ends in Tianzifang.

walking along french concession
Take a Walk in the French Concession

Recommended Tour Itinerary By Bike

Take a healthy way to explore the iconic sites of Shanghai, and follow the bike lanes to the hidden place you would miss on your own.

1. Shanghai City Highlights: French Concession - Xintiandi - Tianzifang (Taikang Road) - Shanghai Old Street - Binjiang Avenue - People`s Square

2. Old Shanghai Exploration: French Concession - Cite Bourgogne - ZhouEnlai`s Residence - Tianzifang (Taikang Road) - Antique Market on Dongtai Road - Shanghai Old Streets

Where to rent a bike: China Travel offers a Guided French Concession Cycling Tour (includes a bike with helmet) to explore the real scenes behind the building; or find out the bike-sharing spots, download and open apps from Chinese bike-share companies like Hello Bike or Meituan and unlock.

Sinan Mansions
Sinan Mansions

How to Get to Shanghai French Concession

Take subway line N. 10, No. 11, and get off at Jiao Tong University Station Exit No. 7, walk along the essential section from Huaihai Zhong Road to the intersection of Xingguo Road at Wukang Road

Fantastic Tour to Explore the French Concession

Follow our local guide to explore the Former French Concession, reveal the story behind the buildings, allow you to immerse in a delightful restaurant in the street, and watch people to and fro. Join us at:

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