(CNN) — “We’ll all the time have Paris,” says Rick in cinematic traditional “Casablanca” — however what if Paris was replicated 1000’s of miles throughout the globe, in China?

That is the premise of Tianducheng — an unassuming suburb of the jap Chinese language metropolis of Hangzhou that additionally doubles as a large-scale reproduction of the French capital.

Parisian photographer Francois Prost traveled to Tianducheng to the city’s recreations of iconic Parisian sights: from the Eiffel Tower to the traditional Haussmann buildings and the Gardens of Versailles.

Prost produced an eerie photograph sequence evaluating the 2 places, known as “Paris Syndrome” — inviting the viewer to discover the similarities and variations between these duplicate cities.


Francois Prost Block Front 2

The buildings in Tianducheng are cautious recreations of Parisian sights. Pictured right here: Left — Parisian block reproduction in Tianducheng, China. Proper — Parisian block in Paris.

Courtesy Francois Prost

Prost first found Tianducheng by way of the video for “Gosh,” a monitor by UK musician Jamie xx.

As a Paris resident, he was concurrently amused and fascinated to study his hometown had been recreated the world over.

“I used to be on this as a result of I am French, so I discovered it very humorous to choose up […] some cultural heritage from my nation, and recreate it there,” he says.

Prost was additionally impressed by an article by Rosecrans Baldwin, through which the journalist visited all of the American cities known as Paris — exploring whether or not folks dwelling there felt a connection to their city’s namesake.

Francois Prost Eiffel Tower silhouette

In Prost’s pictures, it is not all the time straightforward to determine which Paris is “actual.” Pictured right here: Left — Eiffel Tower pose in Tianducheng, China. Proper — Eiffel Tower pose in Paris.

Courtesy Francois Prost

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Questioning what it could be wish to stay in a city modeled, after one of the crucial well-known cities on the planet, he did some analysis and found there are a number of locations in China which have consciously replicated the architectural types of European international locations — a phenomenon referred to as “duplitecture.”

“I learn this and it filtered by my mind by some means,” says Prost.

Additional inspiration got here from the idea of Stendhal Syndrome, a time period coined for when vacationers go to a well known vacation spot and are overwhelmed by unbelievable artworks. Linked is the idea of “Paris Syndrome” — when expectations of the Metropolis of Mild do not match actuality.

Francois Prost Versailles Perspective

There are a number of locations in China through which the architectural types of European international locations have been replicated. Pictured right here: Left — reproduction Versailles, Tianducheng, China. Proper — Versailles.

Courtesy Francois Prost

Prost might relate to this — he remembers the primary time he visited Venice.

“As soon as I received out of the prepare station, I felt very unusual as a result of numerous the surroundings I had seen earlier than,” he says. “I grew up seeing numerous photos from Venice.”

The photographer was intrigued by the concept of taking these ideas to a different degree — what would it not be like to go to a “faux” Paris as a Parisian, rendering the acquainted unfamiliar?

Actuality versus reproduction

Francois Prost Eiffel Tower

Prost spoke to residents of Tianducheng to study what they considered their city’s hyperlink to Paris. Pictured right here: Left — Eiffel Tower souvenirs in Tianducheng, China. Proper — Eiffel Tower souvenirs in Paris.

Courtesy Francois Prost

Tianducheng is meticulously recreated and in Prost’s pictures it is not all the time straightforward to guess which is the “actual” model.

“The very first thing I noticed was the Eiffel Tower and it seemed fairly spectacular,” he remembers.

Francois Prost lamp post

Prost says a key distinction between Tianducheng and Paris is that Paris seems to be older. Pictured right here: Left — lamp submit in Tianducheng, China. Proper — lamp submit in Paris.

Courtesy Francois Prost

The photographer explored Tianducheng, taking a whole bunch of images of recreated places from totally different angles. He took the corresponding Paris pictures later, again residence in France.

He says he admired the eye to element in Tianducheng’s reproduction — significantly the Parisian-style streets and avenues.

“For instance they revered the variety of flooring, the very fact the bottom flooring is meant to be retailers and the second flooring belongs to the store. It is the identical in Paris,” he explains.

There have been some key variations. “After all it was very unusual as a result of it is fairly new, so there’s not the oldness that some stones can have in Paris.”

The folks and the place

Francois Prost China cleaning staff

Prost needed to check the lives of the folks dwelling in these two, duplicate places. Pictured right here: Left — cleansing employees in Tianducheng, China. Proper — cleansing employees in Paris.

Courtesy Francois Prost

Prost was significantly fascinated by how Tianducheng wasn’t only a vacationer attraction. It is an actual, functioning city, through which folks stay and work.

“For instance in Las Vegas it seems to be extra like an attraction park, with a resort,” he says.

Throughout his time in Tianducheng, Prost chatted to folks to gauge whether or not residents had been affected by their city’s uncommon hyperlink to Paris.

“From what I noticed, folks lived there as they might stay anyplace else in China,” he says. “It seems like another little city in China.”

“I needed to see how the folks would stay there and evaluate it to Paris — to see between these two locations which might be many 15,000 kilometers far-off — to see how they might stay in the identical atmosphere,” he provides.

Snapshots of a metropolis

Francois Prost City view

Prost says his work is only a snapshot of life in Tianducheng. Pictured right here: Left — metropolis view in Tianducheng, China. Proper — metropolis view in Paris.

Courtesy Francois Prost

Prost spoke to folks within the metropolis, from his Airbnb host to cleansing employees, about their view of Tianducheng.

“They appreciated the place, they appreciated the Eiffel Tower, they appreciated the avenues. However I am undecided it is a full selection, I am undecided they got here particularly as a result of it is Parisian,” displays Prost.

“I believe for residents, I might say they’re blissful, however they might be blissful some place else as effectively.”

Francois Prost Paris fontaine neappolon versailles

Left: Tianducheng’s model of the Versallies Neptune Fountain. Proper: The true deal.

Courtesy Francois Prost

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Earlier than visiting, Prost questioned if Tianducheng might have adopted Parisian tradition — however he says that wasn’t the case.

“What I fairly appreciated ultimately is, the place is made by the folks dwelling within the place,” says Prost. “To me, what I noticed there, was folks simply dwelling there as they might stay anyplace else.”

Prost is conscious that his work presents a snapshot of life in Tianduchdong — not the complete story. His peek into life on this Parisian reproduction was temporary and fleeting.

“Let’s have a look at perhaps in 50 years who’s going to stay there, perhaps it is going to be a totally totally different individual and they’re going to make the place in all probability utterly totally different,” says Prost.