Travel Report: Shanghai French Concession Part II.
Want to get the full picture? Before reading this why not start with my article: Shanghai French Concession Part I.
March 2019. It was late afternoon in the French Concession Shanghai and I’d been exploring pretty much the whole day. My legs were so tired at this point, hence 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 I found myself face to face with 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 23 when he drowned while swimming with friends in Japan.
The park was busy 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.
Back on the walking route and it wasn’t long before I came across the sleek Shanghai Symphony Orchestra Hall on Fuxing Zhong Lou. This 1200 capacity venue is where Shanghai’s finest musicians come together for performances. Shows here have to be booked online and usually sell out well ahead of time.
The iron railing-clad approach outside the hall includes a wall of fame style overview of the orchestra’s most revered members.
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.
Further down, on Fuxing Middle Road, there were more beautiful old colonial buildings to add to the day’s collection.
French Concession Shanghai.
I particularly liked this imposing old apartment block. In fact, it reminded me a little of New York City’s The Dakota, famed from the movie Rosemary’s Baby and as John Lennon’s former home and murder site.
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. As I passed, 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.
When I stumbled across this funky French Concession hairdresser I knew I had to go in. Partly because I needed a haircut, but mainly because of the cool prints on the facade.
Inside the tiny interior 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, with a simple short back and sides priced at 70RMB (£8/€9.30/$10.40).
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