Paris is widely considered one of the most romantic cities in the world, and rightfully so. But there could also be an argument made that Paris, alongside New York, London, and Rome, is also one of our most romanticized cities. Though the City of Lights is undeniably spectacular, it may be that we're collectively just as in love with the idea of Paris as with the town itself.
To wit, observe the city development Tianducheng in China. Perhaps , Tianducheng was developed, starting in 2007, to closely resemble the French capital.
The fabricated city, technically a luxury real estate complex, is located on the outskirts of the Chinese lakeside city of Hangzhou, and its dedication to the Parisian illusion is impressive. 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. The central plaza is called Champs d'Elysees, and features a replica of a fountain from the Jardin du Luxembourg.
The idea, presumably, was that people who lived thousands of miles from the real Paris would jump at the opportunity to settle down in the next best thing, and it's not the first development of it's kind in China. The in Shanghai is modeled after London, and there's even a complex .
In the case of Tianducheng, however, aspirations seem to have outraced reality. The development is an island of infrastructure in the middle of isolated farmland; as a result, just a handful of people live in this knockoff City of Lights, designed for 10,000. According to , demand may well catch up with supply as more roads are developed in the area, but for the moment Tianducheng remains a Parisian ghost town.