Former French Concession, Shanghai – Location, Opening Hours, Highlights, and Tips

Former French Concession Shanghai

The Former French Concession is a historic area in Shanghai, China, that was once controlled by the French government from 1849 until 1946. It covers a large part of the city center and is known for its tree-lined streets, art deco architecture, and European-style buildings.

During its time as a French colony, the area became a hub of culture, trade, and innovation. French-style villas and mansions were built, and the area became home to many European expatriates. Today, the Former French Concession is a popular tourist destination and residential area, with many of the old buildings converted into trendy restaurants, cafes, bars, and boutique shops.

One of the most iconic landmarks in the area is the famous Xintiandi entertainment district, a pedestrian-only area lined with traditional Shikumen-style buildings that have been converted into modern restaurants, bars, and shops. Other notable landmarks in the Former French Concession include Fuxing Park, the Shanghai Arts and Crafts Museum, and the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra Hall.

Visitors to the area can also enjoy exploring the numerous art galleries, antique shops, and markets. The Former French Concession is a unique blend of old and new, where visitors can experience the charm of old Shanghai while also enjoying the vibrant culture and modern amenities of the city.


Table of Contents


Basic Information

Estimated Length of TourAbout 5 hours to cover all the attractions
Ticket PriceFree
Opening Hours24 hours a day

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Location and Transportation

The Former French Concession is located in the heart of Shanghai, China, covering an area of approximately 8.2 square kilometers. It is bordered by Huaihai Road to the north, Xujiahui Road to the south, Yan’an Road to the east, and Huashan Road to the west.

When visiting the Former French Concession, it is recommended to take public transportation or taxi, as parking can be difficult to find in the crowded and narrow streets. The area is easily accessible by metro, with several stations located nearby.

Metro: The closest metro station to the Former French Concession is Dapu Bridge (打浦桥) on line 9. After getting out of the station, you will be standing at the center of the area, with Xintiandi to your north and Tianzifang to your south.

The alternative stations include Jiashan Road (嘉善路) on line 9 and line 12, Madang Road (马当路) on line 9 and line 13, Shaanxi South Road (陕西南路) on line 1, line 10, and line 12, and Changshu Road (常熟路) on line 1 and line 7, which is close to Shanghai Arts and Crafts Museum and Shanghai Symphony Orchestra Hall.


Highlights of the Former French Concession

Architecture

The architecture in the Former French Concession in Shanghai is a unique blend of Eastern and Western styles, reflecting the area’s history as a French colony. The district is characterized by a mix of Art Deco, colonial, and traditional Chinese architectural styles, including grand mansions, elegant villas, and narrow alleyways lined with traditional Shikumen-style buildings. Many of these historic buildings have been converted into trendy restaurants, cafes, shops, and galleries, while others have been preserved as museums or government buildings. Visitors to the area can explore the many different architectural styles and learn about the history of this fascinating district, which remains one of Shanghai’s most popular and vibrant neighborhoods.


Xintiandi

Xintiandi is a pedestrian-only entertainment district located in the heart of the Former French Concession in Shanghai. It is a vibrant and trendy area that features a mix of historic Shikumen-style buildings and modern architecture. Xintiandi is known for its upscale shops, cafes, bars, and restaurants, as well as its lively nightlife scene. It is a popular destination for both locals and tourists alike, offering a unique blend of Chinese and Western culture. Visitors to Xintiandi can explore the many shops and galleries, enjoy a meal at one of the many restaurants, or simply soak up the lively atmosphere and vibrant energy of this exciting neighborhood.


Fuxing Park

fuxing park in former french concession shanghai

Fuxing Park is a historic public park located in the heart of the Former French Concession, offering a peaceful and serene oasis in the midst of the bustling city. The park features beautiful gardens, fountains, and a large lake, as well as a variety of historic buildings and monuments. Visitors to Fuxing Park can enjoy a leisurely stroll through the gardens, relax on a bench and enjoy the scenery, or participate in one of the many cultural activities and events that take place in the park throughout the year.


Shanghai Arts and Crafts Museum

Shanghai Arts and Crafts Museum in former french concession

The Shanghai Arts and Crafts Museum is dedicated to preserving and showcasing traditional Chinese arts and crafts, including jade carvings, embroidery, furniture, ceramics, and more. The museum features a wide range of exhibits, including permanent collections and temporary exhibitions, as well as workshops and demonstrations where visitors can see traditional crafts being made by skilled artisans. The museum is housed in a beautifully restored Art Deco building that was once the home of a wealthy Shanghai businessman, adding to its historic and cultural significance.


Shanghai Symphony Orchestra Hall

Shanghai Symphony Orchestra Hall in former french concession

The Shanghai Symphony Orchestra Hall is a world-class concert venue. It is home to the renowned Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, one of the oldest and most respected orchestras in Asia. The hall features state-of-the-art acoustics and a beautiful Art Deco design, making it a popular destination for music lovers and architecture enthusiasts alike. Visitors can enjoy a wide range of classical and contemporary performances by the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra and other international guest performers throughout the year.


Tianzifang

tianzifang metro station

Tianzifang is a lively and bustling shopping and entertainment district located in the Former French Concession in Shanghai. It is known for its narrow alleys, traditional Shikumen-style buildings, and a mix of trendy shops, cafes, bars, and restaurants. Visitors to Tianzifang can explore the many small shops and galleries selling a variety of handicrafts, souvenirs, and fashion items, as well as enjoy a meal at one of the many cafes or restaurants. It is a popular destination for both locals and tourists alike, offering a unique blend of old and new, Chinese and Western culture.


Food and Drink

The Former French Concession in Shanghai is home to a vibrant and diverse food and drink scene, with a mix of traditional Chinese and international cuisine. Visitors can enjoy a wide range of dining options, from upscale restaurants serving French and European cuisine to trendy cafes and street vendors offering local specialties such as xiaolongbao (soup dumplings), scallion pancakes, and bubble tea. The area is also known for its lively nightlife, with a mix of bars, clubs, and lounges catering to a variety of tastes and preferences.


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Tour Tips

Wear comfortable shoes: The area is best explored on foot, so wear comfortable shoes for walking around the various attractions.

Take public transportation: Traffic in the area can be quite heavy, so taking public transportation such as the metro or bus is often the quickest and most convenient way to get around.

Try local cuisine: The area is known for its diverse food scene, so be sure to try some local specialties such as xiaolongbao and scallion pancakes.

Explore off the beaten path: While popular attractions such as Xintiandi and Fuxing Park are definitely worth a visit, don’t be afraid to explore the lesser-known alleys and side streets for a more authentic experience.


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