Walking time: 1.5 hours
Starting point: Shanghai Library metro station, Line 10
From Shanghai Library metro station, head north up Hunan Lu. At number 11, you’ll find the 1984 bookstore (open 11am-10pm daily), where you’ll have to buzz to get in. Through the back is a pretty garden, where you can drink coffees and teas (25RMB Americanos and 30RMB cappuccinos) among the hanging plants, birdcages and graffiti.
Double-back and turn immediately left, heading north on Yongfu Lu. At number 200 is Yongfoo Elite
(open 11am-10pm daily), which was recently renovated in May 2016. The security guards can be a little snooty about letting you in, but if you do manage to convince the guards, you will be able to see a grand villa with pillared terrace and goldfish-flecked pools that has served as the consulate for the UK, Russia and Vietnam over the years. Though overpriced and slightly neglected, it’s still an evocative spot for afternoon tea or a cocktail.
Inside the lanes
Continue up Yongfu Lu, passing the Shanghai Film Group headquarters on your left. At Wuyuan Lu turn left, and continue until you hit Wukang Lu at the end of the street. Here, take a right and head north. Near the top, close to Anfu Lu, head into Lane 40 on your left. Turn right in the lane and have a look at building number one, with a large green door below a stone arch.
Keep going up Wukang Lu until you hit Huashan Lu. You’re right opposite number 868, a non-descript block of flats. If you go around the back to building 4, you’ll find the excellent Shanghai Propaganda Poster Art Centre
(open 10am-5pm daily, entry 25RMB) in the basement, with no signs telling you where it is. You can, however, get directions from the security staff who will give you a name card with directions. There is also a gift shop with an extensive range of propaganda posters (from 80RMB) and postcards that you can purchase. Otherwise, turn left and go west down Huashan Lu to lane 1100.
From here, cross the road and head south on leafy Xingguo Lu, which takes you down into the residential areas of the western French Concession where the Party cadres live. At Taian Lu turn right and walk until you see the stone-carved archway announcing number 120. Pop inside, and turn left down the lane to find building number 15, which houses the charming shop aroom (open midday-8.30pm Tue-Sun), decorated with plenty of knick knacks.
Double back along Taian Lu, and continue south along Xingguo Lu until you hit the Huaihai Zhong Lu/Wukang Lu apex, by the red-bricked Normandie Building, designed by László Hudec. Cross Huaihai Lu and head south down Tianping Lu, where you will pass by Old Jesse restaurant on your left, turning right where it meets Kangping Lu. A few metres west you’ll find the pretty, curio-filled Le Petit Jardin at number 220 (open 11am-11pm Mon-Thur, 11am-midnight Fri-Sun), complete with sunny conservatory, slightly-overpriced coffee, wi-fi and snoozing cats.
From here continue west until you hit Huashan Lu, where you’ll see signs for Line 10’s Jiaotong University metro station, not far up the road to your right.