Welcome to China’s beautiful but empty “little Paris”

Chinese tourists may be flocking to Paris, but they are ignoring their own little piece of the City of Lights on the mainland.

A small development called Tianducheng on the outskirts of Hangzhou is known within the country as China’s “little Paris.” It is complete with tree-lined plazas, stalls for quaint coffee shops and storefronts (mostly empty), and even an Eiffel Tower at one-third of full size. Some architectural experts have lauded the imitation, but five years after its construction, few Chinese residents have taken a shine to it. According to Chinese media, Tianducheng can hold up to 10,000 but only, at most, 2,000 people live there (link in Chinese) today.

We can thus add Tianducheng to the list of ghost cities that have come to symbolize larger problems of waste and high local government debt in China. It seems the best use for the city right now is for wedding couples who can’t afford to the trip to the real Paris.

Here are some photos:

The Eiffel Tower in Tianducheng in Jiangsu province. Reuters/Aly Song
Reuters/Aly Song
Reuters/Aly Song
Reuters / Aly Song
A farmer passes a replica of the Eiffel Tower in Tianducheng. Reuters/Aly Song
Reuters/Aly Song
Workers fix an apartment building in Tianducheng development, China. Reuters/Aly Song
Construction workers bathe near apartment buildings in Tianducheng. Reuters/Aly Song

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