Apartments and Lane Houses in the Former French Concession (FFC)

Real estate listings in the Former French Concession

Living in the Former French Concession (FFC) of Shanghai

A Historical Gem and Modern Expat Haven

The Former French Concession (FFC) in Shanghai is one of the city’s most desirable neighborhoods, offering a unique blend of historical charm and contemporary lifestyle. Its tree-lined streets, European-style architecture, and vibrant cultural scene make it a favorite among expats and locals alike.

Historical Background

Established in 1849, the French Concession was a distinct area in Shanghai governed by France until 1943. During this period, it developed into a bustling enclave characterized by its wide boulevards, Art Deco buildings, and colonial-era villas. The area was home to a diverse international community, including French nationals, Russians, British, and Chinese elites. This cosmopolitan legacy is still evident today in the area’s architectural landscape and cultural diversity.

The French Concession played a significant role in Shanghai’s history, serving as a hub for political, social, and cultural activities. It was a center for the arts and intellectual movements, contributing to Shanghai’s reputation as the “Paris of the East.” Many historic events took place here, including key moments in the Chinese Revolution.

Contemporary Appeal

Today, the Former French Concession is a vibrant, sought-after neighborhood that blends its rich history with modern amenities. Here’s why expats find it an ideal place to live:

  1. Charming Aesthetics: The FFC’s picturesque streets are lined with plane trees, creating a canopy of greenery. The area is dotted with well-preserved colonial-era buildings, charming lane houses, and stylish boutiques, providing a distinctive European ambiance.

  2. Cultural Melting Pot: The FFC remains a cultural hotspot with numerous art galleries, theaters, and museums. It’s also home to a plethora of international restaurants, cafes, and bars, making it easy for expats to find familiar comforts and explore new cuisines.

  3. Convenient Lifestyle: The neighborhood offers excellent amenities, including international schools, supermarkets, and healthcare facilities. Its central location ensures easy access to other parts of Shanghai via metro lines 1, 7, 9, and 10.

  4. Lively Social Scene: The FFC boasts a dynamic nightlife and social scene, with numerous events, markets, and festivals held throughout the year. This makes it easy for expats to meet new people and immerse themselves in the local culture.

Naming Sensitivity

While the term “Former French Concession” is widely used among expats and international communities, it is essential to note that many Shanghainese and the Chinese government prefer not to use this colonial-era name. Instead, the area is often referred to by its current administrative names, such as Xuhui District and Luwan District. This sensitivity stems from the understandable desire to move beyond the colonial past and emphasize the country’s and Shanghai’s modern identity, development, and its success.


Living in the Former French Concession offers a unique experience that combines the best of Shanghai’s past and present. Its historical charm, coupled with modern conveniences and a vibrant lifestyle, makes it a perfect choice for expats looking to settle in one of Shanghai’s most iconic neighborhoods. Whether you’re drawn by its aesthetic appeal, cultural offerings, or convenient living, the FFC provides a welcoming and enriching environment for all.

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