A few weeks ago, my newly-married Parisian friends came to visit, after taking a month-long road trip through America. Even though Z has lived in Paris for the last 8 years, she is and always will be a diehard New Yorker, as evidenced by the fact that she kept trying to get a good bagel in L.A.
While she and her French husband were driving their rental through some of the gnarlier parts of the country, Z purchased an orange camo trucker hat, which she adorably referred to as her “blender.” Although it was almost neon in color, the blender is a hunting cap, and when Z put it on, she magically transformed from a sassy Parisian-by-way-of-New-Yawk-Fuckin-City to a down-home country girl “blending” with the natives.
So when I heard about this gated residential development that was designed to look like Paris, outside of Hangzhou, a town moneyed Shanghainese sophisticates refer to as their Hamptons, I thought of my French friends.
Reuters reports that Tianducheng, the Paris of China, which has the second-largest Eiffel Tower replica in the world and an Arc de Triomphe, is not the first or last of its kind:
Italian and German towns are also reportedly under construction, and in 2005, shocked English press reported that a Chinese firm in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province in the country’s southwest, was recreating Dorchester, a village in Dorset that inspired novelist Thomas Hardy.
So when in China, don’t do as the Chinese do.
No blenders required.
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