Cite Bourgogne

Admission:

Free

Hours:

24 hours daily

How to get there:

The entrance to the community can be found at 287 South Shaanxi Road (Shǎnxī Nán Lù,陕西南路) and West Jianguo Road (Jiànguó Lù, 建国路), south of Yongjia Road. It takes about 10 minutes to walk due south from the Metro Line 1 South Shaanxi Road Station.

Cité Bourgogne (Bùgāolǐ, 步高里) is a unique example of the shikumen style lane house dwelling constructed across the city during its early-twentieth-century heyday. Located in the former French Concession, one can stroll through the narrow lanes of this block-sized complex completed in 1930 and get a bit of a sense of yesterday's Shanghai. A blend of European and Chinese architectural features, the shikumen (which translates as "stone gate") neatly balanced the demands of density with those of privacy, creating tightly knit communities with shared common space that still allowed residents considerable separation.

Designed to accommodate 78 families, and currently occupied by some 450 households, Cité Bourgogne provides a glimpse of a way of life that is fast disappearing as old housing stock falls before the wrecking ball to make way for high-rise developments and glitzy malls. Located on South Shaanxi Road (Shǎnxī Nán Lù, 陕西南路) just south of Yongjia Road (Yǒngjiā Lù, 永嘉路), Cité Bourgogne makes for a quick stop on a casual walking tour of the French Concession that might include nearby Fuxing Park, the cafés and small galleries on Shaoxing Road and hip Tianzifang, as well as classic colonial-era villas along Fuxing Road (Fùxīng Lù, 复兴路), Ruijin Road (Ruìjīn Lù, 瑞金路) and Shimen Yi Road (Shímén Yī Lù, 石门一路)—including historic sites like Sun Yatsen's Residence, Zhou Enlai's Residence and the site of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party—and the Sinan Mansions development.

If you're interested in more information on the shikumen, the Shikumen Open House Museum in nearby Xintiandi is a half hour's walk away.

Photo © Mintcafe (Own work) CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL, via Wikimedia Commons

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