The Chinese city in which thinks the idea's Paris

The Chinese City In Which Thinks The Idea's Paris

(CNN) — “We’ll always have Paris,” says Rick in cinematic classic “Casablanca” — yet what if Paris was replicated thousands of miles across the globe, in China?

in which’s the premise of Tianducheng — an unassuming suburb of the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou in which also doubles as a large-scale replica of the French capital.

The Chinese City In Which Thinks The Idea's Paris

Parisian photographer Francois Prost traveled to Tianducheng to photograph the town’s recreations of iconic Parisian sights: coming from the Eiffel Tower to the classic Haussmann buildings in addition to the Gardens of Versailles.
Prost produced an eerie photo series comparing the two locations, called “Paris Syndrome” — inviting the viewer to explore the similarities in addition to differences between these duplicate destinations.

The Chinese City In Which Thinks The Idea's Paris

Duplitecture

The Chinese City In Which Thinks The Idea's Paris

The Chinese City In Which Thinks The Idea's Paris

The buildings in Tianducheng are careful recreations of Parisian sights. Pictured here: Left — Parisian block replica in Tianducheng, China. Right — Parisian block in Paris.

The Chinese City In Which Thinks The Idea's Paris

Courtesy Francois Prost

The Chinese City In Which Thinks The Idea's Paris

Prost first discovered Tianducheng via the video for “Gosh,” a track by UK musician Jamie xx.

As a Paris resident, he was simultaneously amused in addition to fascinated to learn his hometown had been recreated across the earth.

The Chinese City In Which Thinks The Idea's Paris

“I was interested in This specific because I’m French, so I found the idea very funny to pick up […] some cultural heritage coming from my country, in addition to recreate the idea there,” he says.

Prost was also inspired by an article by Rosecrans Baldwin, in which the journalist visited all the American towns called Paris — exploring whether people living there felt a connection to their town’s namesake.
Francois Prost Eiffel Tower silhouette - The Chinese City In Which Thinks The Idea's Paris

In Prost’s photos, the idea’s not always easy to ascertain which Paris will be “real.” Pictured here: Left — Eiffel Tower pose in Tianducheng, China. Right — Eiffel Tower pose in Paris.

Courtesy Francois Prost

Wondering what the idea would certainly be like to live in a town modeled, after one of the most famous cities within the earth, he did some research in addition to discovered there are several places in China in which have consciously replicated the architectural styles of European countries — a phenomenon known as “duplitecture.”

“I read This specific in addition to the idea filtered through my brain somehow,” says Prost.

Further inspiration came coming from the concept of Stendhal Syndrome, a term coined for when tourists visit a well-known destination in addition to are overwhelmed by incredible works of art. Linked will be the concept of “Paris Syndrome” — when expectations of the City of Light don’t match reality.

Francois Prost Versailles Perspective - The Chinese City In Which Thinks The Idea's Paris

There are several places in China in which the architectural styles of European countries have been replicated. Pictured here: Left — replica Versailles, Tianducheng, China. Right — Versailles.

Courtesy Francois Prost

Prost could relate to This specific — he recalls the 1st time he visited Venice.

“Once I got out of the train station, I felt very strange because lots of the scenery I had seen before,” he says. “I grew up seeing lots of images coming from Venice.”

The photographer was intrigued by the idea of taking these concepts to another level — what would certainly the idea be like to visit a “fake” Paris as a Parisian, rendering the familiar unfamiliar?

Reality versus replica

Francois Prost Eiffel Tower - The Chinese City In Which Thinks The Idea's Paris

Prost spoke to citizens of Tianducheng to learn what they thought of their town’s link to Paris. Pictured here: Left — Eiffel Tower souvenirs in Tianducheng, China. Right — Eiffel Tower souvenirs in Paris.

Courtesy Francois Prost

Tianducheng will be meticulously recreated in addition to in Prost’s photos the idea’s not always easy to guess which will be the “real” style.

“The first thing I saw was the Eiffel Tower in addition to the idea looked quite impressive,” he recalls.

Francois Prost lamp post - The Chinese City In Which Thinks The Idea's Paris

Prost says a key difference between Tianducheng in addition to Paris will be in which Paris looks older. Pictured here: Left — lamp post in Tianducheng, China. Right — lamp post in Paris.

Courtesy Francois Prost

The photographer explored Tianducheng, taking hundreds of photographs of recreated locations coming from different angles. He took the corresponding Paris photos later, back home in France.

He says he admired the attention to detail in Tianducheng’s replica — particularly the Parisian-style streets in addition to avenues.

“For example they respected the number of floors, the fact the ground floor will be supposed to be shops in addition to the second floor belongs to the shop. the idea’s the same in Paris,” he explains.

There were some key differences. “Of course the idea was very strange because the idea’s pretty fresh, so there’s not the oldness in which some stones can have in Paris.”

The people in addition to the place

Francois Prost China cleaning staff - The Chinese City In Which Thinks The Idea's Paris

Prost wanted to compare the lives of the people living in these two, duplicate locations. Pictured here: Left — cleaning staff in Tianducheng, China. Right — cleaning staff in Paris.

Courtesy Francois Prost

Prost was particularly fascinated by how Tianducheng wasn’t just a tourist attraction. the idea’s a real, functioning town, in which people live in addition to work.

“For example in Las Vegas the idea looks more like an attraction park, using a hotel,” he says.

During his time in Tianducheng, Prost chatted to people to gauge whether residents were affected by their town’s unusual link to Paris.

“coming from what I saw, people lived there as they would certainly live anywhere else in China,” he says. “the idea feels like any additional little town in China.”

“I wanted to see how the people would certainly live there in addition to compare the idea to Paris — to see between those two places in which are many 15,000 kilometers far away — to see how they would certainly live within the same environment,” he adds.

Snapshots of a city

Francois Prost City view - The Chinese City In Which Thinks The Idea's Paris

Prost says his work will be just a snapshot of life in Tianducheng. Pictured here: Left — city view in Tianducheng, China. Right — city view in Paris.

Courtesy Francois Prost

Prost spoke to people within the city, coming from his Airbnb host to cleaning staff, about their view of Tianducheng.

“They liked the place, they liked the Eiffel Tower, they liked the avenues. yet I’m not sure the idea’s a complete choice, I’m not sure they came especially because the idea’s Parisian,” reflects Prost.

“I think for citizens, I would certainly say they are happy, yet they would certainly be happy somewhere else as well.”

Francois Prost Paris fontaine neappolon versailles - The Chinese City In Which Thinks The Idea's Paris

Left: Tianducheng’s style of the Versallies Neptune Fountain. Right: The real deal.

Courtesy Francois Prost

Before visiting, Prost wondered if Tianducheng may have adopted Parisian culture — yet he says in which wasn’t the case.

“What I quite liked within the end will be, the place will be made by the people living within the place,” says Prost. “To me, what I saw there, was people just living there as they would certainly live anywhere else.”

Prost will be aware in which his work presents a snapshot of life in Tianduchdong — not the full story. His peek into life in This specific Parisian replica was brief in addition to fleeting.

“Let’s see maybe in 50 years who will be going to live there, maybe the idea’s going to be a completely different person in addition to they will make the place probably completely different,” says Prost.

The Chinese city in which thinks the idea's Paris

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