In the hinterlands of Hangzhou, away from the hustle and bustle of the city lies a bohemian and romantic neighbourhood. It’s an area full of iconic architecture, walkable promenades, and magnificent gardens. Some might even call it the ‘The Paris of the East.’

Statues in China's 'Fake Paris'
If you want to see just how ‘real’ the Chinese Paris is, take a look at this photo series by François Prost.

Because, well, Tianducheng is literally a fake Paris in China. This neighbourhood and accompanying park were carefully planned to look exactly like the original ‘City of Love’. The transportation is made complete with Parisian boulevards, a copy of the gardens at Versailles and even a beach area made to feel like the French Riviera. And of course, no Paris would be complete with the Eiffel Tower.

What is all the more impressive is this isn’t some empty backdrop for wedding photos, it’s a regular, livable neighbourhood: there are restaurants and cafes; people are going about their daily lives just like any other part of the city. Tianducheng feels surreal, exotic, but at the same time routine. It’s a piece of France entirely populated by Hangzhou. Walking around, Tianducheng simultaneously feels exotic and mundane. It’s ordinary life, in an extraordinary situation. More than anything, it’s something you could only find in China.

Wedding photos in China's Fake Paris
China’s ‘little Paris’ is a popular destination for wedding photographs.

So, if you’re looking for an appropriate setting to serenade your paramour, write sonnets of love that’s been lost and then found, or just want to drink some bubble tea under in the shade of one of the world’s architectural masterpieces, go to Tianducheng. Have a Sunday afternoon picnic in Ile-de-France and then return for dinner on the banks Xihu. A day in China’s ‘Fake Paris’ is an event, and you’d be remiss not to experience it.