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Xintiandi to Tianzifang, Shanghai

Walking tour through the heart of the former French Concession in Shanghai, China
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Rating: 4 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 1.6 miles
Duration: Half day
Family Friendly

Overview:  The route takes you through the French Concession via "restored" areas and places that have been left in their more natural ... more »

Tips:  Whilst it would seem logical to go to Xintiandi subway station on Line 10, depending on where you are coming from you are probably... more »

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Points of Interest

This is one of the tourist hotspots in Shanghai. These two blocks of extensively rebuilt shikumen buildings (see next stop for more building details) has been largely given over to high end restaurants and shops. Many of the restaurants and coffee shops have outdoor seating which in warmer months is ideal for people watching, because after all... More

2. Shikumen Open House Museum

The term shikumen 石库门 literally means "stone warehouse gate" but is applied to a style of house special to Shanghai. Shikumen were arranged in alleyways (longtang) which were usually entered through a stone gate, hence the name.

They are unique for combining Chinese and western style in their two or three story designs. In many ways... More

3. Site of the First National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party

In July 1921, the CCP was founded at this shikumen which at the time belonged to Li Hanjun. The meeting convened on the 23rd only to be broken up on the 30th by a raid by police from the French Concession. The final day’s meeting took place on a pleasure boat at South Lake, Jiaxing, Zhejiang Province.

The propaganda is laid on thick here with... More

This tree-lined road in the French Concession used to be known as Rue Massenet. Many historic people in the path to modern China lived along this road and today many of the old buildings remain.

5. hoF

This place has probably the best chocolate cake in Shanghai and can also make a good lunch spot. It is also busy in the evening doing cocktails.
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Hours: 11am-Midnight Sunday, Tuesday – Thursday
11am – 1am Friday & Saturday
Closed Mondays

Address: 30-1 Sinan Road near Huai Hai Middle Road

Telephone: (0086) 021 6093 2058

6. Gaolan Road

This is worth a quick detour to see villas that have been less ‘restored’ and also the former Russian Orthodox St Nicholas Church which is now a café called Kinloch Coffee.

7. Sun Yatsen’s Former Residence

Sun Yatsen is the founding father of modern China and is revered by both the Nationalists and Communists (one of the few things they agree on).

Sun Yatsen lived here between 1918 and 1924 and after Sun’s death in 1925 his widow Song Qingling continued to live here until 1937. Today the house is furnished much in the way it was during Sun’s time... More

This is one of Shanghai’s latest attempts at restoration in which the city takes an area of villas from the 1920s and 1930s, rips them down, and then rebuilds them brick by brick in slightly different positions. Throw out the families that were living here and replace their homes with an über expensive hotel and high-end restaurants.

Partly... More

9. Zhou Enlai’s former residence

Zhou Enlai, the late Chinese Premier, spent 1946 in residence here when he was head of the Shanghai office of the CCP. Nationalist spies were posted across the road to keep tab of him.

This is the only villa here spared the Sinan Mansions treatment. Rooms are sparsely furnished but the second villa has a display of historical photographs.

No... More

This area is the antithesis of Xintiandi and what happens when you let small businesses gradually redevelop an area. Like Xintiandi, it is a collection of shikumen style buildings but it also includes former factories. These days there are still some local residents living above the shops and restaurants.

A few years ago it was relatively... More