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Shanghai Old French Concession

The French Concession was founded in 1862 in southwest Shanghai as a result of the Treaty of Nanking. It now covers the Luwan and Xuhui districts.

The concession is a pleasant mix of wide tree lined streets and interesting European style architecture. As most of the foreign trade of Shanghai was carried on through the British Settlement, the French Concession found it difficult to raise revenues, and depended largely on income derived from licenses to opium divans, brothels and gambling houses.
So the French Concession was once equally notorious for its lawlessness and the ease with which police and officials could be bribed, in contrast to the relatively staid, well-governed areas dominated by the British.

This made it ideal territory for gangsters. For similar reasons, political activists also operated in this sector - the first meeting of the Chinese Communist Party took place here in 1921, and both Zhou Enlai and Sun Yatsen, the first provisional President of the Republic of China after the overthrow of the Qing dynasty, lived here.

At 1843 Huaihai Xi Lu, there is Song Qingling's Former Residence who lived here on and off from 1948 until her death in 1981. Song Qingling was the wife of Sun Yatsen and was to remain loyal to China throughout her life, latterly as one of the honorary "Presidents" of the People's Republic. Once again the house is a charming step back into a residential Shanghai of the past, and although this time the trappings on display - including her official limousines parked in the garage - are largely post-1949, there is some lovely wood paneling and lacquer work inside the house. Xintiandi is a must-visit spot where you can find many restaurants and clubs. Like other Fuxing Park clubs, it offers an upscale ambience. Inside are two separate lounges filled with house/trance/progressive and hip hop.

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