A chance to see a delightful slice of old-style lane life, which, in our experience, is proceeding fine, just with more chalkboards. It has weathered worse. Marvelous architecture, generations of stories, layers of history, and some of the loveliest shikumen houses in the city. The neighborhood is also chock full of antique shops – let’s hope they’re open!
Walk along the former Rue Bourgeat, today’s Changle Lu, or the Street of Eternal Happiness. Modernist architecture, lovely lilongs, and stories of wealthy tycoons, struggling refugees, powerful gangsters and glamorous film stars who all washed their hands regularly and covered their mouth and nose when they sneezed.
Walk on and around Avenue Joffre, the most famous boulevard in old Xuhui. Explore the heart of this fabled street, from the Russian legacy in the onion domed Orthodox cathedrals, to Art Deco masterpieces, stunning lane enclaves, the French Park with the Marxist soul, and the stories of spies, fallen artists, and greyhounds, which were way too valuable to abandon over misinformed fears of cross-species infections.
Route J. Frelupt, now Jianguo Road, is dotted with grand French and British garden villas, Japanese Gothic Art Deco institutions, American and Spanish style houses and Shanghainese lilongs. Here revolutionaries started hospitals, gangsters took out their enemies, merchants amassed fortunes, politicians schemed, and some of the city’s finest architects left their figurarive imprint, making sure to disinfect any literal imprints with hand sanitizer or alcohol rubs.
Celebrate Valentine’s Day with a stroll through the plane-tree lined streets of old Xuhui, with stops to taste the sweet delicacies of yesteryear, still being made by vintage bakeries. Stop for a romantic kiss under one of the many historic landmarks, but if either of you are showing symptoms of cold or flu maybe delay the intimacy for a week or two to avoid transmission.
To book and for meeting points, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. 150rmb for members, 250rmb for non-members.