A fairy tale castle in Shanghai

15 Nov

Shanghai has many hidden treasures – places just around the corner with history dating to pre-Communist days.  Lately we have been trying to search them out – enjoying the autumn weather to find these hidden gems.

First view from the restaurant

First view from the restaurant

One such place that we found was the former residence of Eric Moller which looks like a fairy tale castle, just under the Yan’an elevated highway in the French concession.

Inspired by Snow White?

Inspired by Snow White?

Li found the secret garden when he was looking for lunch special deals – there is a beautiful Japanese restaurant situated in the garden overlooking the castle and so on a perfect blue sky day, voucher in hand, we went to explore.

Beautiful blue sky day

Beautiful blue sky day

The castle was built in 1936 and was supposedly inspired by Moller’s daughter who wanted to live in a castle – but the plaque outside states the castle was inspired by ships and ship-building as Moller was a “merchant prince.”  Either way, it is not something you’d expect in an Asian city today and it appears to have been preserved relatively well, though we didn’t enter inside.  Now there is a Chinese restaurant and event space – we could see people busily preparing for a wedding later in the afternoon/evening as we poked around the grounds.

IMG_20141024_130404 IMG_20141024_130503 IMG_20141024_130552

Our lunch was absolutely lovely – beef udon noodles in a lunch set under the terrace with a small goldfish stream to the side.  Initially when we arrived there weren’t many people there, but it slowly filled up.  I could feel my breathing slow down as the bustle of Shanghai fell away.

Under the terrace, waiting for lunch

Under the terrace, waiting for lunch

Beef udon sets

Beef udon sets

Finished off with a sweet treat

Finished off with a sweet treat

Have you found fairy tale castles in other places?



8 Responses to “A fairy tale castle in Shanghai”

  1. Ri November 15, 2014 at 10:44 am #

    That house is beautiful! I love the detail that went into the brick laying, beautifully done.
    However, what really made me gasp was that wonderful beef udon setーlooks delicious!
    Thank you for introducing me to a new must-see spot in Shanghai when I eventually make it there! 🙂

    • gkm2011 November 15, 2014 at 4:27 pm #

      Glad to share it! I’ve lived here 7 years and had no idea it was there – and you can see it’s not a small place, so hope you find this great corner of Shanghai next time in town!

  2. CrazyChineseFamily November 15, 2014 at 3:52 pm #

    I didn’t know about this places at all. In the past years I only read weird things when it came to china and castles. There seems to be many castles which have been build over the years to resemble all kind of European originals (dontknow if I still find the link). Especially couple of years ago they rebuild an Austrian? Village…
    Anyways it looks like your enjoyd your day there 🙂

    • gkm2011 November 15, 2014 at 4:28 pm #

      I know that recently there have been copies of many different European places in China – if I remember correctly there is a mini Eiffel Tower in one city and another has the Versaille palace. This may have been the inspiration (long ago) for all of those copies! We did have a great time.

  3. R Zhao November 17, 2014 at 2:19 pm #

    The architecture in Shanghai always amazes me. I feel like stuff like this just doesn’t exist in most places in China.

  4. Constance - Foreign Sanctuary November 18, 2014 at 9:30 am #

    It is hard to believe that such a beautiful castle exists in Shanghai. I just the architecture of the building, especially the placing of the tiles (very cool pattern)! It looks the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of city living. Plus, those beef noodles look delicious.

    I have notice over the past few years that have been a few buildings popping up here and there with a European feel. Admission is usually charged. They are mostly for photo opps but they also offer food where a certain portion of your entrance fee can be used. I know it not really ‘authentic,’ but they sure attract a lot of visitors.

    • gkm2011 November 29, 2014 at 9:15 am #

      Very true – the replica of the fake European environment trumps anything actually historically Chinese. Very ironic! However several years ago we did visit a huge film set in Wuxi I think which has a mini-forbidden city and lots of other period replicas. It was a huge lot and also a big tourist draw.


  1. Exploring Shanghai – Indian food at Tandoor in the Jiujiang Hotel | 中国 Jumble - November 22, 2014

    […] special place that we found after we had such a great experience at the fairy tale castle was on the grounds of the Jiujiang Hotel in the French Concession in Shanghai.  The hotel is part […]

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