it was not as easy as one might think
03.11.2007 - 08.11.2007 18 °C
After having viewed 45 apartments in 5 days we were pretty exhausted. We had contacted one agent specialized on providing real estate search for expatriates. They were eager to get started and came to pick us up at the hostel early on a Saturday morning. We toured the city looking at about 10 apartments that day. We weren't particularly impressed, especially since they totally ignored our instructions on where we wanted to live and showed us appartments all around town. Also there was a funny thing about the prices. They were all roughly the same price, independently of size and standards. The agency had asked us for our budget and we had given them a broad range but the strange thing was that the appartments were all just exactly our maximum budget or above. What a coincidence don't you think! Well, we have heard from numerous people that this is fairly commonplace here, so we contacted some more agents to show us appartments and finally our best option came from a local agent who we didn't tell our budget and who just managed appartments around where we wanted to live. During the 5 days we saw everything from 200 sqm fancy places with clubhouse, gym and views over the city to 50 sqm lane house appartments in construction and with no views where you had to walk through somebody's kitchen to get in.
The apartment we eventually decided to take wasn't as big and fancy as the other ones, but quite enough for the two of us and definitely to our taste. It was a newly renovated flat in an old building (1930s) which was also cheaper than the other ones we had looked at and the best part was that it was located almost exactly where we had said we wanted to live. It is located 15 minutes by foot from Sabrina's office and it is exactly in the middle of 3 different metro stations from the two main lines, so it is really easy to get to almost any part of the city.
Apart from that it is located in the middle of French Concession which is in our opinion the most charming part of town. There are many good restaurants and there are many buildings still standing from the 20s and 30s. It simply has more soul than many other places in the city.
Old French Concession
French Concession is a name that does not exist on any street maps. The name is from the time the British, Americans and French had forced China to declare Shanghai a treaty port and had taken up their own autonomous concession zones in the city, each of which were independent of Chinese law. They all brought their own colonial influences to the city, which can still be seen today in the European architecture of the buildings on the Bund and in the old French Concession area. The French Concession was once home to the bulk of Shanghai's adventurers, revolutionaries, gangsters, prostitutes and writers, though ironically, not many of them were French. The majority of the residents were in fact British, American, White-Russian and Chinese. Shanghai's nickname "Paris of the East" stems largely from the tree lined avenues, the Tudor mansions, and the French influenced architecture of this district.
Fredrik and Sabrina