Shanghai, China’s largest city, is an exciting metropolitan city with an intriguing cultural diversity in architecture, history, food and people. With its large influx of Europeans who made their home here in the early part of the 20th century, Shanghai became known by the 1930s as one of the most exciting, sophisticated cities in the world. Today, some parts of Shanghai (such as Old Town) are distinctly Chinese, while other parts (such as the French Concession) feel like a Parisian Boulevard.
In the French area, The Bund is well known for its exciting fusion of Eastern and Western styles and culture. At the centre of the Bund—China’s most sought after waterfront estate—stands Bund18, a fashionable mixed-use entertainment complex, housed in a stunning 1923 neo-classical building that won a UNESCO award of distinction. Here you will find some of the city’s top boutiques restaurants, lounges, nightclubs and exhibition spaces with unparalleled panoramic views of the Huangpu River and financial mecca of Shanghai’s financial centre in Pudong.
If shopping’s your thing, merchants include Cartier, Patek Phillipe and Zegna. Dining options are innovative and diverse, from Sibilla Cafe for lunch to Tan Wai Lou’s nouveau-Chinese dishes, and the modern French cuisine of Mr & Mrs Bund. Chef Paul Pairet creates imaginative dishes in a chic environment – at my visit, I was blown away by the prawn steamed in a mason jar with lemongrass, and the lemon tart cooked whole inside the lemon for three days, and served inside the lemon rind! Once the night is underway party in style at L18, where trendy lounge music plays in an artistic environment; or head upstairs to Bar Rouge, a rooftop lounge with the hottest DJs in town against the incredible Shanghai skyline backdrop.
Shelley Seale is a freelance writer based out of Austin Texas, but she vagabonds in any part of the world whenever possible. Shelley has written for National Geographic, Globe Pequot’s Insider travel guides, CNN, AOL, USA Today and Andrew Harper Traveler Magazine among others. Her book, The Weight of Silence: Invisible Children of India, follows her journeys into the orphanages, streets and slums of India where millions of children live without families. Her mantra is “travel with a purpose.” She can be reached at shelleyseale.com.
Check out more of Shelley’s work in her 52 Perfect Days stories: 1949 Hidden City: Beijing’s Hippest New Spot.