French Concession

The French Concession is an area of Shanghai located in the present day Luwan and Xuhui districts. In the mid 19th century after the first Opium War, Shanghai became a large center for foreign trade and in 1849 the French Consul to China, de Montigny signed an agreement with a Senior local official Ling Taotai to create a French Concession for French businessmen and traders to live. Over the next hundred years the area became home to many nationalities such as British, American, Russian and Chinese.

It was expanded twice, in 1900 and 1914 becoming the most sought after residential area in Shanghai at this time. During the second world war in 1943, a deal was made with the Chinese government to give control back to China along with French concessions in other Chinese cities, ending all French control in China. This occupation by western culture has given the area a wonderful mixture of both European and Chinese architecture. It may cause surprise to see old large European buildings in the middle of China's biggest city.

Today the French Concession is one of the most popular places in Shanghai to visit. Especially popular with Shanghai's middle and upper class residents, a wealth of cafes, restaurants and shops will have you wandering the area for an entire day with ease. The most famous and wealthy area in the French Concession is Xintiandi, which is known for its Shanghai architecture, its art galleries, designer boutiques, cafes and eateries. The large choice of pubs and clubs at night will provide an entertaining time for all.

Walking tours are very popular in the French Concession as there are so many streets to lose yourself in as you amble along. For a more peaceful stroll, walk along Fuxing road under its beautiful Planes trees planted during the concession and admire the old buildings and its less crowded shops. You can take some time to walk from Shaoxing road to Taikang road, also areas that are more peaceful, and take in the growing number of lovely cafes and shops that line the streets.

The French Concession attracts the big spenders but also caters for everyone so, if you want to say that you went to Shanghai and spent some time mixing with its high society then a day and night in the French Concession is just the answer.