The French Concession

October 14, 2015
One place that I like to frequent in Shanghai is the French Concession. It is just a short taxi ride away from where I'm living, and it's an interesting mix of Eastern and Western cultures. This is an area that I'd like to explore further, but for now, check out a few of my favorite places which are bolded below.

Although I had visited the French Concession many years ago, I recently went to a section of the French Concession called Tian Zi Fang. This is an artsy area that is popular with expats like myself. There are many restaurants, bars, and shops selling arts and crafts. It's a great place to go souvenir shopping or to pick up something eclectic. There are hand painted fans, boutiques full of clothes and accessories, a store where they make candy, as well as tea shops. This list really only scratches the surface.

One night after school, Scott, Tara, and I decided to return to Tian Zi Fang, and we popped into a tea shop and do some tea tasting. We sampled some jasmine tea and two types of oolong. I left with one of the kinds of oolong because it had a delicious, sweet aftertaste due to it being flavored with licorice. On top of that, it was also recommended by the man who prepared our tea for us. I asked him which type of tea was best for teachers and he said that one was good for the throat. Since I am prone to vocal problems, I need all the help I can get. Tara and I also splurged on some adorable mugs...With all the tea I drink here, I considered it a worthwhile investment, even if we did get a little ripped off on them.

While meandering through the French Concession another time, a group of friends and I tried this restaurant called Kommune, which is also located in Tian Zi Fang. Apparently it has been open for 15 years, but what I liked about it right away was its breakfast menu. I ordered the avocado and tomato smash which is described as "two eggs on sourdough toast surrounded by freshly cut tomato and avocado basil with sundried tomato pesto, onion, and feta cheese." Are you drooling yet? Another trip back to Kommune is in order ASAP.

The French Concession is also where I go to get my hair done. Rachael introduced me to Franck Provost on Anfu Lu. Truthfully, I think is pretty expensive, but I will pay it because her (and now my!) hairdresser is awesome and has a lot of experience working with "foreigners' hair." Our hairdresser trained in France for three years and when I went in for highlights a few days ago, he used the comb method to apply the dye. He told me that this is "the new way" and that it's "better than foils" because it makes it look more natural. He said that when my hair grows out the roots won't be as obvious as they are when it is done with just foils. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised with how well it turned out and gosh it's nice not to have roots anymore! Our hairdresser also told me that he might do Gwen Stefani's hair soon because she is coming to Shanghai for a private event. I about fainted and told him to take lots of pictures. 

If you're looking for a good laugh and fancy a cup of coffee or tea, then head to Teddy Bear Family. The whole restaurant/cafe is teddy bear themed and there are hundreds of teddy bears on display and also for sale. All of the decor fits in with the theme, and even the chairs are shaped like teddy bears. Apparently you can take a class here and make your own bear!

Last but not least, Rachael suggested going to Maya for a Mexican brunch one morning. After paying a flat rate, you can have either unlimited sangria or margaritas! A group of us stayed for a few hours, and it was a relaxing way to unwind on one our days off. The food was tasty and there is even a pool under the restaurant that Rachael says we can pay to swim in. We will have to do that once the weather is nicer.

What is one of your favorite areas by where you live?

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