Tianducheng: A Fake Paris in China - Global Photography

Tianducheng: A Fake Paris in China

While millions of Chinese people are making their way to Europe and America to see the outside world, many of them also enjoy visiting the fake Western-style towns within the country - to pretend to be abroad.

One of the most popular places as such is Tianducheng, an elaborate town in eastern China that is supposed to look like Paris.

©François Prost

©François Prost

These photos are from a series called “Paris Syndrome”, by Paris-based photographer François Prost, where Prost places scenes from the French capital side by side with similar buildings in Tianducheng.

©François Prost

©François Prost

©François Prost

The focal point of the development is the cut-size Eiffel Tower, which stands at around 300 feet, or roughly a third of the size of the original. From certain angles, with the faux-tower framed by a double row of cream-colored Haussman-style homes, it nearly looks like the real thing.

Yet Tianducheng lacks much of what Paris has to offer though — including people. The development is now more or less abandoned, giving it an even eerier, ghost-town feel. “The sites in France attract thousands and thousands of tourist per day — it’s never ending! — whereas in China the sites are not very busy and mainly occupied by local people passing by on electrical scooters or by foot,” Prost said.

©François Prost

©François Prost

©François Prost

©François Prost

©François Prost

©François Prost

©François Prost

©François Prost

©François Prost

©François Prost

China is no stranger to lookalike locations and pop-up cities. From the Venetian water town, also in Hungzhou, to French chateau replicas to fake beaches at the recently opened New Century Global Center, China offers the opportunity for a whole lot of eyebrow-raising moments. The Chinese amusement park Window of the World features a number of replica structures — including the former World Trade Center buildings.

All photographs on the left is in China.




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