Just off the northern edge of Fuxing Park, this unusual building was the original French Club (le Cercle Francais Sportif) circa 1904. Later it was moved what is now the Okura Garden Hotel (and much later moved to Cafe Montmartre). For a while this was the French Concession’s most prestigious public high school, Le College Francais. You can still see the monogram ‘CFS’ cast into the wrought-iron railing of the main staircase. There’s also some excellent stained-glass in the lobby, which we would have photographed if the security guard wasn’t
an ass doing his job.
Shanghai’s first mayor, Chen Yi (best known for his statue on the Bund that everyone confuses with Mao) converted the space into the Shanghai Science Hall in 1958. What one does in a science hall is anyone’s guess. Conferences, research, baking soda volcanoes?
The building is one of many protected heritage sites in Shanghai, which means it’s crumbling, could fall down at any moment, and probably hasn’t seen a paint job since the Great Leap Forward. Regardless, it’s definitely worth a look if you’re in the area.
Shanghai Science Hall
59 Nan Chang Road near Yandang Road (南昌路59弄，近雁荡路)