The Former Shanghai French Concession

The Former French Concession is one of the two former concessions in Shanghai (the other one is Shanghai International Settlement). is located inside the current Luwan District and Xuhui District of Shanghai. Established in 1849 and ended in 1943, the Shanghai French Concession had been one of the centres of Catholicism in China as well as home to many of the Chinese revolutionaries. Today the Former Shanghai French Concession is a charming part of town to visit and during the day its quiet tree lined avenues and parks make for a wonderfully refreshing stroll (Foster 2008). Despite re-development over time, the area maintains unique features and is one of the top tourist destinations in Shanghai City.

Travel information:
Ticket: Free of charge
Opening time:Full day
Suggested duration of visit:half day
Locations:Luwan District and Xuhui District of Shanghai
Best of season to visit:Any season is fine.
How to get there: take bus 167、320、42、911、920、926 and get off at Middle Huaihai Road Station (淮海中路站) or Shan’xi Road (S) Station (陕西南路站).

Historical buildings in the French Concession

Former site of the International Mixed Court for the French Concession (公审会廨)
Former site of the International Mixed Court for the French Concession
Photo by Fayhoo, own work,CC BY-SA 3.0,

Located at no.20, Middle Jianguo Road, the International Mixed Court for the French Concession was jointly set up in year 1864 by Britain, United States and China (Qing Dynasty) to trial legitimate disputes between the Chinese people and foreigners in the concession (in a single case, a Chinese judge and a foreign assessor will sit on it).

Former Route Paul Brunat fire station (宝昌路消防站)

Former Route Paul Brunat fire station
Photo bySource: Fayhoo – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Located at no.197, Huaihai Road, the Route Paul Brunat fire station was known by the old Shanghai people as 救火会(fire saving house). After the ending of the Concession, the fire station has been taken by “Songshan Road Fire Squadron” and is still used today.

Former Avenue Joffre police station (霞飞路巡捕房)

Former Avenue Joffre police station
Photo by Fayhoo – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Located at no.235, Middle Huaihai Road, the Avenue Joffre police station was established in year 1912 and was changed to a middle school in 1960, but the French Renaissance style building has been well-preserved.

Former Guarde Municipale headquarters (法租界警务处)
Former Guarde Municipale headquarters
Photo by Fayhoo – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Located at no.22, Jianguo Road, M., the Guarde Municipale headquarters was built in 1916 to serve as center of the Concession police force. Since establishment, the ownership of the building had been changed for four time. Today, the building is owned by the Luwan Public Security Bureau.

Former Residence of Dr Sun Yat-sen/The Museum of Dr Sun Yat-sen (孙中山故居)
Former residence of Sun Yat-sen
Photo by Alan Levine – originally posted to Flickr as Sun Yat-Sen’s House, CC BY 2.0,

Opening hours: 9am-4pm
Address: 7 Xiangshan Rd, near Sinan Rd
Admission: 20 yuan
Tel: 6437-2954
To get there: Metro Line 1 Huangpi Road N. Station), Buses No. 02, 17, 24, 36, 42, 96, 781, 786, 911, 920, 926

Walking along the Sinan Road from the end of Huaihai Road leads you to the house at the corner of Sinan and Xiangshan roads where the Sun Yat-sen and his wife Song Qing Ling lived from 1918 to 1924. The road was well-known as Rue Moliere, one of the city’s most picturesque streets. The house has been included into the list of national cultural heritage sites (Shanghai Daily 2014). Dr. Sun is widely known across China as a “great revolutionary and father of the Nation“ who fought against feudalism and imperialist aggression for the independence the Chinese people.

The Cloisters, a residential building (修道院公寓)

The Cloisters, a residential building
Photo by Livelikerw – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Located at no.62 Fuxing Road W., the Cloisters (修道院公寓) can be traced back to year 1930. Despite being called as the Cloister, it was never a cloister even in the colonial-era; the Spanish style building was a residential low-rise apartment belonging to an English businessman when first built.

Grosvenor House, an apartment building, now part of a hotel 峻岭公寓(锦江饭店)

Grosvenor House
Photo by Qiao Mingxing- Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,


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Located at no.59, Maoming Road S. and built in 1934, the Grosvenor House is a 78m high apartment building with a symmetrical five-curve shape, both sides ascendes towards the middle part in a bench slope (13th ~ 18th floors). The whole structure is made up of 3 parts, the central part (suites) and east wing and west wing (serviced apartments) ( 2015). It is one of modern buildings of fine architecture and scenic spots.

Lyceum Theatre, mainly used by British residents (兰心大戏院)
Lyceum Theatre
Photo By Qiao Mingxing – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Located at no.57, Maoming Road S., the Lyceum Theatre is one of the oldest theaters in Shanghai City. During the concession, the Lyceum Theatre was known as a get-together place for consuls, diplomatists and celebrities from all circles. The classic European style theater hosts performances including Chinese operas, dramas, acrobatics & circus, children & family theaters, ballet and so on.

Former Hôpital Sainte Marie (瑞金医院)
Former Hôpital Sainte Marie Photo by Legolas1024 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Located at no.197, the second Ruijin Road, the former Catholic St. Marie Hospital was built in 1907 and later changed to Ruijin Hospital, a university hospital under Jiaotong University. The hospital is now the biggest clinical teaching center of the university and is renowned throughout the country for its care given to patients and has been classed as a grade three, class A hospital in the Chinese healthcare system.

List of reference

Foster, S. 2008 Shanghai & Surroundings Adventures, New Jersey: Hunter Publishing, Inc. 2015 Grosvenor House accessed on Feb 29, 2016 [online] available:

Shanghai Daily 2014 Dr Sun Yat-sen’s Former Residence in Shanghai accessed on Feb 29, 2016 [online] available:

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