GASPILLÉ

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

Obsession
China's Transition
Obsession
China's Transition

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:

A lightning bolt streaks across the sky above a replica of the Eiffel Tower at the Tianducheng development in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province August 1, 2013. Tianducheng, developed by Zhejiang Guangsha Co. Ltd., started constructing in 2007 and was known as a knockoff of Paris with a scaled-replica of the Eiffel Tower, standing 108 metres, and Parisian houses. Although designed to accommodate at least ten thousand people, Tianducheng remains sparsely populated and is now considered as a "ghost town", according to local media. REUTERS/Aly Song (CHINA - Tags: SOCIETY ENVIRONMENT BUSINESS REAL ESTATE) - RTX1275U
The Eiffel Tower in Tianducheng in Jiangsu province. (Reuters/Aly Song)
A worker pushes a wheelbarrow at a construction site in Tianducheng, a residential area on the outskirts of Hangzhou in east China?s Zhejiang Province September 1, 2007. After five years of development by Zhejiang Guangsha Co. Ltd., around 2,000 residents now live in Tianducheng, local media reported. REUTERS/Aly Song (CHINA) - RTR1TBAF
(Reuters/Aly Song)
People walk past a fountain at the Tianducheng development in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province August 1, 2013. Tianducheng, developed by Zhejiang Guangsha Co. Ltd., started construction in 2007 and was known as a knockoff of Paris with a scaled replica of the Eiffel Tower standing at 108 metres (354 ft) and Parisian houses. Although designed to accommodate at least 10 thousand people, Tianducheng remains sparsely populated and is now considered as a "ghost town", according to local media. REUTERS/Aly Song (CHINA - Tags: SOCIETY BUSINESS REAL ESTATE) - RTX127X1
(Reuters/Aly Song)
A resident stands on the balcony of his apartment at the Tianducheng development in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province August 1, 2013. Tianducheng, developed by Zhejiang Guangsha Co. Ltd., started constructing in 2007 and was known as a knockoff of Paris with a scaled-replica of the Eiffel Tower, standing 108 metres, and Parisian houses. Although designed to accommodate at least ten thousand people, Tianducheng remains sparsely populated and is now considered as a "ghost town", according to local media. REUTERS/Aly Song (CHINA - Tags: SOCIETY ENVIRONMENT BUSINESS REAL ESTATE) - RTX12766
(Reuters / Aly Song)
A farmer walks through a field near a replica of the Eiffel Tower at the Tianducheng development in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province August 1, 2013. Tianducheng, developed by Zhejiang Guangsha Co. Ltd., started constructing in 2007 and was known as a knockoff of Paris with a scaled-replica of the Eiffel Tower, standing 108 metres, and Parisian houses. Although designed to accommodate at least ten thousand people, Tianducheng remains sparsely populated and is now considered as a "ghost town", according to local media. REUTERS/Aly Song (CHINA - Tags: SOCIETY ENVIRONMENT BUSINESS REAL ESTATE TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) - RTX1275Z
A farmer passes a replica of the Eiffel Tower in Tianducheng. (Reuters/Aly Song)
A view of the Tianducheng development in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province August 1, 2013. Tianducheng, developed by Zhejiang Guangsha Co. Ltd., started constructing in 2007 and was known as a knockoff of Paris with a scaled-replica of the Eiffel Tower, standing 108 metres, and Parisian houses. Although designed to accommodate at least ten thousand people, Tianducheng remains sparsely populated and is now considered as a "ghost town", according to local media. REUTERS/Aly Song (CHINA - Tags: SOCIETY ENVIRONMENT BUSINESS REAL ESTATE) - RTX1276C
(Reuters/Aly Song)
Workers stand in a balcony outside an apartment at Tianducheng, a residential area on the outskirts of Hangzhou in east China?s Zhejiang province September 1, 2007. After five years of development by Zhejiang Guangsha Co. Ltd., around 2,000 residents now live in Tianducheng, local media reported. REUTERS/Aly Song (CHINA) - RTR1TBAX
Workers fix an apartment building in Tianducheng development, China. (Reuters/Aly Song)
Workers shower at a construction site in Tianducheng, a residential area on the outskirts of Hangzhou in east China?s Zhejiang Province September 1, 2007. After five years of development by Zhejiang Guangsha Co. Ltd., around 2,000 residents now live in Tianducheng, local media reported. REUTERS/Aly Song (CHINA) - RTR1TB9V
Construction workers bathe near apartment buildings in Tianducheng. (Reuters/Aly Song)
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