A great way to see a bit of Shanghai off the beaten tourist path and do a little off-the-the-beaten path shopping, is to take a nice walk down Fuxing Road.
Where to start: begin your walking tour at the intersection of Ulumuqi (pronounced "woo loo moo chee") and Fuxing (pronounced "foo shing") Roads. Start on the north side of Fuxing Road and go west. Shanghai street signs are well marked in both Chinese and English and conveniently give directions (north, south, east or west) as well.
How to get there: jump in a taxi and say "woo-loo-moo-chee loo, foo-shing loo". Lu ("loo") means road in Mandarin. Here's the address: 复兴路乌鲁木齐路路口
When to go: May through September is the best time because the Plane trees, planted by the French at the turn of the century, are in full green leaf.
How much time to set aside: at least 2-3 hours to enjoy this lovely stroll down one of Shanghai's most beautiful French Concession streets.
First Stop: Skylight Tibetan Gallery
Skylight is tucked away down two steps of the yellow apartment building on the north side of Fuxing Road. It is tiny but charming and one of the best places to buy Tibetan goods in Shanghai.
What you'll find: gorgeous photos of Tibetan people and landscapes, handmade silver jewelry, turquoise and coral jewelry and beautiful breezy cotton clothing.
Tips: they don't bargain here but prices are reasonable and the quality is very high.
Address: Fuxing Xi (West) Road, #28
Business hours: open every day, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Second Stop: Urban Tribe
Head back to Fuxing Road after leaving Platane. Turn left again onto Fuxing Road staying, again, on the left-hand side. You'll eventually find Urban Tribe in a few minutes on the same side of the street. The owner designs the clothing with a friend and everything is made from hand-dyed 100% cotton. They're a little on the new age-y side, yet sophisticated when paired with some of the beautiful unique silver jewelry.
What you'll find: breezy, baggy tops and long skirts of sumptuous cotton, gorgeous large format matted photos in black & white, as well as color, of Tibet, Burma, Vietnam and Cambodia, taken by the owner's husband. A line of unique silver jewelry including darling mobile-phone accessories, as well as a distinctive line of pottery.
Tips: relax in their garden at the back of the shop with a latte or a cup of Chinese tea.
Address: Fuxing Xi (West) Road, #133
Business hours: open every day, 9:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Fifth Stop: SQ Decor
Keep walking west on Fuxing Road. You'll soon come to #291 where two enormous candles herald the entrance to the tiny SQ Decor. This lovely shop stocks brightly colored, modern porcelain with a traditional Chinese flair.
What you'll find: lime green or bright mandarin orange tea-sets serving six, traditional fabrics covered photo albums, glassware and homeware.
Tips: their take on the traditional Chinese ancestor painting is fantastic and much easier to get home in a suitcase: it's printed on a throw-pillow case, a great accent to your sofa.
Address: Fuxing Xi (West) Road, #291
Business hours: open every day, 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Sixth Stop: Le Passage Fuxing
Go left out of S&Q Decor and continue for a few steps west staying on the same side of the street. You'll soon come to a little round sign indicating you've reached Le Passage Fuxing, a restored art deco building housing some lovely shops, a cafe and a yoga studio upstairs.
What you'll find: a little oasis in a beautiful 1932 art deco building. Rouge Baiser Elise, on the ground floor, sells hand-embroidered clothing and table linens. Their children's collection is divine and they'll make to order bed linens, table linens and baby bedding.
Tips: Relax after your tour at Ginger out back. Serving Asian fusion small dishes and tapas, Ginger's outdoor seating, relaxed mood and talking mina birds wrap up your tour of Fuxing Lu on a high note.
Address: Fuxing Xi (West) Road, #299
Business hours: Rouge Baiser open every day, 10:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Ginger open every day, early till late.