One Day in Paris – Tianducheng

The familiar silhouette of the Eiffel Tower is clearly visible against the gray sky. Streets are lines by typical Paris architecture. Only the Seine is about 9,000km away. We are in Skycity in Tianducheng, a suburb of the City of Hangzhou.

The Chinese Eiffel Tower yeas built 9 years before world leaders came to Hangzhou for the G20 summit. For what reason? None apparent, other than for Chinese couples to take wedding pictures.

After we had visited Dutch town and Thames town, Paris became the natural next step. To do it right, we decided to spend the night at the Versailles-inspired Tianducheng Resort, with room overlooking the lake (10min and two elevator rides away from the hotel reception, which features pictures of Napoleon Bonaparte, past the Monet Gallery). This was more than deserved after our “Run in Blue”, a 5km charity run by Rotaract Shanghai, which we had completed in the morning.

Tianduchengs main feature is the Eiffel Tower, but it also has a Versailles inspired park with a “french village”. After seeing 50 brides in ca. 30min, we stopped counting.

From the park, we walked down Paris main street to see the Eiffel Tower. The tower is about 100m (1/3 of the original). It is set on a park area (rather a patch of weed) against the backdrop of typical Chinese housing skyscrapers. From the opposite site, if you take the picture just right, you can imagine Paris.

As with France version of Paris, this one came really alive at night when the tower lit up and the dancing grandma’s pulled out their gettoblasters to get the party started.

The breakfast on the next morning was a reminder of the times of Marie Antoinette: There was no food, just cake. We managed to steal a few eggs and potatoes from the Kings own land and fled to Hangzhou.

We had visited Hangzhou 1.5 years ago, so we wanted to relax a bit, before we got on the train back to Shanghai. We walked on the lake shore and through the old city. We found a great lunch place on the night market south of the old city gate. New for us was the City God Temple, high up on a hill over the city.  It was very quiet inside (outside, hundreds of locals sat at tables drinking tea and playing cards). Back in the city, we drank a final coffee in a small coffee shop, before walking to Hangzhou Train station.

For the short ride home, we try the business class (I surprise Michi and she does not get my hints, all day: “Once in a lifetime business class), the highest class in China’s superb train system. It comes with full lay-flat seats in its own 5 seat cabin. This awesome service,  which cannot be found in the German train system, comes at a hefty price tag of triple the 2nd class fair. But for this short ride, we let ourselves be catapulted home with 300km/h in style.

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