The freshly renovated Lane House is sparkling clean and full of light. Art deco buildings are few and far between in Shanghai so it’s a lovely opportunity to experience the comfort and dimensions of a 1930’s building bought up to contemporary levels of comfort.
The neat little kitchen is a great spot to cook up the local grocery store delicacies (and oddities) on display though the neighbourhood means that excellent restaurants and cafes (eg: Citizen) are just a short step away. The light interior and calming white colour scheme are soothing after a day in manic Shanghai. The location of the flat, in a Laneway House is not only unique – it gives you a chance to experience a real Shanghai neighbourhood complete with games of majong, kids playing in the street and maudlin Chinese love songs playing on the radio.
The French Concession is where Shanghai takes on a more human scale. Yes, the city blocks still seem particularly large and what seems like a five minute walk often turns out to be 15 or 20 minutes. However, it’s a walk full of interest and life. On the one hand, the bustle of small family run grocery and service stores that hark back to the time before Shanghai became a megopolis and when getting around in pyjamas was de rigeur. On the other hand this neighbourhood is the flash point for Shanghai’s bar, restaurant and fashion evolution. If it’s cool, looks great or tastes fantastic, you’ll find it here. The apartment is located between Changle Lu, Maoming Lu and Shaanxi Lu at the crux of the French Concession. Public transport options include the Changle Lu Bus stop just outside and Metro South Shaanxi Lu about a five minutewalk from the flat.
Just note that the flat is in an old, unrenovated building – so the staircase etc is nowhere as salubrious as the flat interior. Also, you’ll have to carry luggage up a staircase so if elevators/lifts are on your must-have list, this is not the place for you.