Everyone knows about the feverish changes underway in Beijing but Lisa Sun discovered on her recent trip to China that there are also exciting developments in Shanghai. Specifically, there is a lot happening in the French Concession, which has always been lovely for daytime exploration but now has some excellent boutique properties that make staying there a great alternative to the Bund. Lisa’s favorite discovery was the Mansion Hotel, a charming new hotel in a restored villa that was once the home of a high-ranking member of the Chinese mafia. Each of the 30 rooms are individually decorated, and framed old photographs and elegant antiques throughout create an atmospheric sense of old Shanghai. Lisa also liked 88 Xintiandi , which has an unbeatable location in the heart of fashionable Xintiandi. To truly experience the French Concession, Lisa recommends spending a leisurely day or two exploring its many restaurants, galleries, and shops. Her suggestions for a perfect day? Browse the shops and galleries of Taikanglu, sample savory soup-filled buns (Shanghai’s specialty) at Din Tai Fung in Xintiandi, and stroll over to the excellent nearby Shikumen Museum, an undiscovered jewel that recreates Shanghai’s traditional courtyard homes. Conclude the day with a drink atop the Mansion Hotel’s rooftop deck, watching the sun illuminate the orange tile roofs of Shanghai’s most charming neighborhood.