Legends of the fall
Oriental planes are the most common plants found along the streets in Shanghai. As early as the 1890s, when Shanghai Port opened to foreign traders, this kind of tree was introduced by French missionaries and grown mostly in the French Concession then, where it got its name. Since then, this shady tree with luxuriant foliage has taken root in the city.
Let’s take a walk at the seven most attractive avenues and streets in Shanghai, following the missionaries’ steps.
Huaihai Road was named Avenue Joffre during the French Concession era, and is recognized by all as one of Shanghai’s most elegant and exotic streets, or the “Oriental Champs-Elysees.” All of its architecture is French inspired, and both sides are planted with dense oriental planes.
It starts from Renmin Road to Kaixuan Road and houses various luxurious department stores, artist workshops, bars and restaurants.
The 911 sightseeing bus goes all the way around Huaihai Road from west to east. Take a seat and enjoy the road.
Narrow and tidy lanes, buildings with different features, and lines of bars and specialty shops give Hengshan Road a style of its own. Most adorable are the thick oriental planes all along the road, which endows the area with an exquisite European zest.
Fuxing West Road
Once named Route Gustare de Boissenzon, Fuxing West Road was planned as a high-end residential district, with garden houses and apartments lining both sides, mostly decorated in the Art Deco style. Landscapes are integrated with street scenery here, and oriental planes create pleasant shadows, attracting numerous intellectuals.
Called Route Francis Garnier in the French Concession era, Dongping Road has a quiet solitude. With few buses or cars passing by, it offers a feeling of sedateness and ease. It’s also referred to as “the best couple street in Shanghai,” and lovers can have a walk without being disturbed under the shade of trees.
Huashan Road, once the Avenue Haig, starts from Jing’an Temple in West Nanjing Road to North Caoxi Road. It crosses three districts in Shanghai, Jing’an, Xuhui and Changning. Along the way, dozens of tourists spots with rich historical contents line up alongside ancient architectures with hundreds of years of history. Several celebrities have left their mark here. In the light of day, the road receives crowds of people and cars; while at night, it’s immersed in darkness and silence. You can even hear the rustling tree leaves.
Yuqing Road was built in 1936 by the then French Concession board and named Route Edan. No bus routes pass here. Rows of oriental planes stand on both sides and shade houses built in the Southern European style, with red roofs and spiral columns. Ivy vines climb over pseudo-Roman balconies with baroque curves.
Once named Route Henry, Xinle Road is a short and cozy road circled by surrounding bustling shops and a Parkson store. It takes only 15 minutes to walk its length. With neighborhood bars lining the side, it has a leisurely elegance.
By Xinyuan Zhong and edited by Michael Thai