My 5: Shanghai French Concession Part II.

Ni Er Statue Wulumuqi Road Shanghai French Concession.

Want to get the full picture? Before reading this why not start with my article: My 5: Shanghai French Concession Part I.

1. March 2019. It was late afternoon in Shanghai’s gorgeous French Concession District and I’d been exploring pretty much the whole day. My legs were oh so tired by this point, so it was a happy coincidence that just as I was thinking about taking a breather I came across this little park on Wulumuqi Road. Dropping down on one of the free benches and my eyes were drawn to the striking statue of Ni Er, one of China’s most beloved composers. Born in Kunming, Yunnan Province, Ni Er is best known for composing March of the Volunteers, which later became the national anthem of The People’s Republic of China. Nie Er died at the tender age of 1983 when he drowned while swimming with friends in Japan.

Men playing cards Shanghai French Concession.
Park card games, Shanghai French Concession.

March 2019. The park was packed with groups of men playing cards that afternoon. These fiercely competitive games drew in plenty of spectators, some of whom were placing bets between themselves on the likely winner. My presence watching these games, whilst not exactly welcomed, was at least accepted with the occasional solemn nod.

Shanghai Symphony Orchestra Hall Fuxing Road French Concession.
Shanghai Symphony Orchestra Hall.

2. March 2019. Back on the walking route and it wasn’t long before I came across the sleek Shanghai Symphony Orchestra Hall on Fuxing Zhong Lou. It’s a 1200 capacity venue where Shanghai’s finest musicians come together for performances. Performances need to be booked online and are usually sold out well ahead of time: https://www.smartticket.cn/venues/shanghai_symphony_orchestra_hall

Outside Shanghai Symphony Orchestra Hall on Fuxing Road French Concession.
Outside Shanghai Symphony Orchestra Hall.

The iron railing-clad approach introduces a wall of fame style overview of the orchestra’s most revered members.

Boxing Cat Brewery Shanghai French Concession.
Boxing Cat Brewery, Shanghai French Concession.

3. March 2019. Shanghai’s French Concession has some of the city’s best craft beer bars. One of these is Boxing Cat Brewery, where the drinks menu includes such tantalizing options as Money Shot Cream Ale and Breast Wishes Milk Stout. The menu isn’t too shabby either, with monster burgers, American BBQ and a selection of Mexican dishes.

Visit Shanghai French Concession.
Colonial style residences, Shanghai French Concession.
Shanghai French Concession architecture.
Rambling old apartment block, Shanghai French Concession.

4. Further down on Fuxing Middle Road, I passed a a row of Spanish style colonial houses and an imposing old apartment block that looked like something out of Rosemary’s Baby.

Yan's Custom Shoes 1309 Fuxing Middle Road Shanghai French Concession.
Yan’s Custom Shoes – 1309 Fuxing Middle Road, Shanghai French Concession.
Violin store 1305 Fuxing Middle Road Shanghai French Concession.
Fancy violin store – 1305 Fuxing Middle Road, Shanghai French Concession.

As Fuxing Middle Road’s house numbers stretched out into the 1300s up sprang a row of trendy boutiques, such as Yan’s Custom Shoes where the owner was busy hand stitching a pair of dress shoes out in the courtyard. Next door there’s a high-end violin store that looked so damn fancy I didn’t even dare walk in.

Old style barber Shanghai French Concession.
Old style barber, Shanghai French Concession.

5. When I stumbled across this funky hairdresser I knew I had to go in. Partly because I needed a haircut, but mainly because of the cool prints on the facade.

Old style barber Shanghai French Concession.
Old style barber, Shanghai French Concession.

Inside the barber’s it was pure simplicity. Just a lone chair for customers, a floor-to-ceiling mirror, a single chest of drawers for all his tools and a little bench where I sat waiting my turn. His prices were similarly no-nonsense too, with a simple short back and sides priced at 70RMB (£8/€9.30/$10.40).

Like this? Check out more articles from my wanderings around Shanghai.

Wanna delve further afield? You’ve come to the right place (!), as I’ve written hundreds of reports from all over China.

For a more detailed and personalized slant, you might want to take a look at my short story series Challenged in China.

I’ve been living, working and traveling all over the world since 2001, so why not check out my huge library of My 5s from over 30 countries.

Leighton Literature Travel blogger Travel reports short stories.

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Freelance travel writer, voice over and English teacher from London. Former music and film journalist, interviewer of the stars. Passionate about travel, film, music, football, Indian food.

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