The world’s most famous buildings have spawned many replicas and Paris’ Eiffel Tower is no exception. No less than 30 copies of the “Iron Lady” exist around the world, although none has quite the appeal of the original. This icon of Paris, built by engineer Gustave Eiffel in 1889 for the World’s Fair, but meant to be only temporary, still catches people’s imaginations. City of Paris replicas also exist.
Since there are around 15 cities in the U.S. named Paris, it’s fitting that there are at least three Eiffel Tower replicas – in Paris, Texas, Paris, Tennessee and Las Vegas, Nevada. Two exist in China, one in Russia and there’s one in a Greek town that lights up at night.
It’s not only the Eiffel Tower that inspires imitation. The Arc de Triomphe, the Paris Opéra and the Louvre’s glass pyramid have all been copied around the world.
A Chinese town, Hangzhou, has even gone as far as constructing an imaginary Paris neighborhood inside a gated community, around a 108 m (354 ft) replica of the Eiffel Tower. The original is three times as high at 324 m (1,063 ft). The 12 square mile area includes Parisian-style architecture, streets and squares. It also features a reproduction of the Arc de Triomphe and Montmartre.
The imitation Paris has failed to attract residents, though, and only 30 people actually live there. It’s known as “the ghost town” and is principally a tourist attraction.
At the other end of the scale, you don’t need to leave France to find a complete replica of the City of Light. At Vaїssac in south west France, an enthusiast spent 14 years building a scale model of Paris, “Le Petit Paris” (Little Paris). It is 130 times smaller than the original.
At Le Petit Paris the city unfolds at your feet, from the Défense Business District to the Louvre, with Paris’ most famous monuments reproduced in fine detail. It’s like having a bird’s-eye view of the city itself.
Le Petit Paris is estimated to be worth around €1m euros – somewhat less than the real thing.