“La Concession Française de Changhaï”, the Shanghai French Concession was officially created by the Whampoa treaty in 1844. It became much real at the arrival of the first French Consul Général, Charles de Montigny in 1847. One of the main task of the Consul was to open a Consulate General, and later to build an actual building to host the Consulate.
As seen on above map, the original French Consulate building was not on the Bund, but a little behind, within the plot of the Catholic missions. This plot is where the current Saint-Joseph Church is, on Sichuan Nan Lu.
The Consulate moved a few years later to a location on the “Quai de France”, the French Bund. The French Concession has original just a small access to the river, much shorter than the Bund of the International settlement. With the extension of 1861, the river side called “Quai de France” or French Bund was extended. From that point, Quai de France, or French Bund, became much longer and with more traffic. It became important for the French consulate to be on the French Bund, just like the Brititsh Consulate down river (See post “HBM Consulate Shanghai” for more info). The new consulate building of classic style, was planned from 1863, built from 1865 and the consulate moved to this location in May 1867.
Although the plot where the Consulate was built was on the riverside, the building itself was located further away from the river. The building on the far right was the original office of the French shipping line, the Messagerie Maritime. The street on the left side of the Consulate became “Rue du Consulat” (today Jingling Dong Lu).
Below picture is also of the French Consulate showing a full view of the Rue du Consulat and the other side of the street. It was probably taken a few years later as the trees have grown significantly.
Construction of the 1867 Consulate building was of low quality. As mentionned in “Histoire de la Concession Française de Changhaï) by Maybon & Fredey, walls started to show massive cracks from 1870. Emergency work was required in 1872-1873 as a large part of the carpentry was rotten by humidity. This building did not last very long as a new Consulate was built on the same plot but closer to the river and the French Bund, opening in 1896, when Paul Claudel was the French Consul in Shanghai.
The story of this building continues in post Shanghai former French Consulate (Part 2)