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Hengshan Road

Hengshan Road

Hengshan Road (Chinese: 衡山路; pinyin: Héngshān Lù), formerly Avenue Petain, is a street in the former French Concession of Shanghai, China. A major thoroughfare that connected the heart of the French Concession with the Catholic district of Zikawei (Xujiahui), the boulevard was for much of the 20th century the centre of Shanghai's premier residential district. Since the 1990s, many of the mansions along the road have been converted into bars, night clubs, and restaurants, and is one of Shanghai's more vibrant nightlife districts and popular particularly among expatriates.

History

Named after Philippe Pétain, Marshal of France, the boulevarde was constructed in 1922 to link the heart of the French Concession with Zikawei, now Xujiahui, the centre of Catholicism in Shanghai. It stretched from Rue Pottier and Rue Henri Riviere in the east, to the intersection of Avenue Haig and Rue de Zikawei in the west.

The newly developed boulevard soon attracted an American presence, as American expatriates who worked in the Shanghai International Settlement built more spacious residences in the newly developed area. This American presence can still be seen in the form of the former American College (No. 10), and the Community Church (No. 53). A large number of mansions were built along the road in the 1920s, with some high-end apartment blocks built in the 1930s as land value soared in the area. The Shanghai headquarters of Pathé Records was also located on Avenue Petain.

The French Concession was handed over by Vichy France to the Wang Jingwei government in 1943, which renamed the boulevard as "Hengshan Road", after Mount Heng, a sacred mountain in Hunan province.

In the 1990s, many of the former mansions were converted into bars, night clubs and restaurants, making the street an important centre of night entertainment in Shanghai. Many of the restaurants and bars are located in side streets off Hengshan Road, particularly, Dongping Road and Taojiang Road.

The Community Church (at the corner of Wulumuqi (Ürümqi) Road) is open to foreigners and has services on Sundays.

There is a bowling alley on Hengshan Road where many foreigners and Chinese go to bowl.

Just off Hengshan Road near the Hengshan Road Metro station, on Gao'an Road, are some of the few remaining manhole entrances mark "CMF" (Conseil Municipal Français). The man hole covers have been replaced, but the metal structures around the outside are original.

Transportation

The central part of Hengshan Road can be reached by taking Shanghai Metro Line 1 to Hengshan Road station. It is also a short ride by taxi from central Shanghai.

References

The leisure street at Hengshan Road (Shanghai Tour)

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