Paul’s Gospel

This bakery chain opened its first shop in Shanghai one year ago only. In this short time they have changed life here. For sure they were not the first bakery in Shanghai, but others with similar bread quality generaly hide in high end hotels. The great idea of Paul is to create shops in high street locations. Their concept of Bakery / Coffee shop is just the right thing for Shanghai, complemented by a restaurant in a few locations. Paul has fresh bread and pastries on offer and it has become such a recognised brand name amongst the urban clique living in the center of Shanghai… that it’s difficult to remember how we could live here before they opened.
Some of the shops really match the French touch of the bakery with the french touch of the French concession. I particularly enjoy the one at the corner of Avenue Joffre and Avenue Cardinal Mercier (Huai Hai Zhong Lu and Maoming Nan Lu). It is located in the building of the only remaining Shanghai restaurant from the old time (The red house). The bakery fits perfectly in the renovated building, located in one of the best preserved corners of the French Concession, opposite the Cathay theater. Paul creates a modern and fashionnable place to be for the new Shanghai generation, as well as bringing essential confort for the expat community and helping recreate some of the old spirit. This location is fast becoming an essential stop after intense shopping in the cloths shops down the street. It is a revival of the old time when people would browse the highly fashionnable shops of the Avenue Joffre and stop for a coffee around this area (for example in the Cercle Sportif Francais or the Cathay Appartments).
The DongPing lu store is also located in a spot evocating the old time. The shop’s building itself looks old (though it is not), but it is mostly the surrounding that creates the “French Concession” atmosphere. This section of “Rue Francis Garnier” hosted the house of T.V Soong (inherited from his father, where the family grew up), the one of Chiang Kai Check and the one of HH Kung (married with Soong Ailing). The pane trees, small street and old houses along with fresh bread make it feel just like Europe.
I used to bike for 20 minutes to the XinTian Di shop, buy my bread and come back to Jiajia waiting for me with fresh coffee. Riding in the small streets of the french Concession under the pane trees, I felt I was in 1938… not 2008. Instead of going to the Church every Sunday, I would go to Paul every Saturday religiously. Nowadays with the Dong Ping Lu Paul very near to my home in the French concession, getting fresh bread on Saturday morning is just a short walk. Paul has answered the prayers of some of the Shanghai inhabitant, asking for quality bread. Let’s pray for their success and long life in Shanghai.

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