Street Talk

Arguably the best way to see a city, and really get a feel for its atmosphere, is by walking its streets. Newman Tours’ French Concession Tour is a perfect way to explore one of Shanghai’s most aesthetically pleasing areas, without having to tackle the rather daunting task of navigating the winding streets on your own. Commencing at South Shanxi Metro Station, tour guide and founder Daniel Newman entertains and educates his guests with anecdotes of the old district’s vibrant and rich history. From the Opium Wars and eccentric mobsters to tales of influential women in Shanghai, this two-hour excursion packs a concise history lesson into a relatively short time, ensuring you get your money’s worth!

For a relatively young company, Newman Tours have certainly done their homework. Its tour guides are not only highly knowledgeable about the city and its past, but have the charisma to bring the incredible stories of the area to life. The Concession Tour begins under the imposing front of the Cathay Theatre with a blitz on the Chinese film industry and its tales of dramatic heroines. From there it continues on to focus on the ‘wealthy at leisure’ in the Cercle Sportif Français, as well as a number of Shanghai’s most interesting and luxurious hotels. Historical events including the signing of the US-China communiqué and the birth of the Chinese feminist movement are made all the more impressive by the architectural grandeur of the buildings in which they took place. The walk doesn’t stop there as you continue on to explore Shanghai’s involvement in the opium trade and Taiping Rebellion, as well as delve into Shanghai’s darker past and the origins of the French Concession itself. With simultaneously amusing and informative commentary, the tour makes for a perfect morning or afternoon in which to immerse one’s self in the city’s past.

The variety of sightseeing opportunities that Newman Tours offer are designed to provide tourists and locals alike with a fresh perspective on the city in a unique way. As an added touch, the international tour guides are accompanied by a local to make sure the true buzz of the city is well-represented. In addition to the tour itself, revellers have the option of a Shanghainese lunch and calligraphy lesson on the French Concession Tour or an interactive Buddhist dinner on the Ghost Tour. You can even tailor your own tour in or around Shanghai to suit your interests or schedule.

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