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Fake Paris: An Ultimate Shocking Secret Of French Authorities Unrevealed!

An unbelievable secret of Paris remained hidden until 2011, Le Figaro newspaper revealed a well-planned strategy of Parisians to fool German pilots by building a fake replica of Paris “Faux Paris”, “Sham Paris”, a ‘shadow city’, a fake City of Light. This was hidden with an obvious reason but its discovery has left people mesmerized.

Fake Paris: An Ultimate Shocking Secret Of French Authorities Unrevealed!

Why France needed a Fake Paris

During World War I, Germans used to send silent, stealthy zeppelins and heavy-duty airplanes known as Gothas across the continent to bomb the civilian cities of their enemies, particularly during the night. The constant threat of attack gave way to the birth of the extraordinary idea in the year 1917 of fooling the German bombers by creating a replica of Paris just outside the city so that the bombs could only destroy the decoys made of wood and fabric.


This was the time when Radar was in its infancy and even Gothas weren’t exactly stealth bombers either, so pilots had to fly purely by sight. When they spotted what they believed to be their target, they used to send bombs one after another onto the unsuspecting populations. This uncertainty gave the plan a momentum and an Italian Engineer Fernand Jacopozzi was appointed.

Fake Paris: An Ultimate Shocking Secret Of French Authorities Unrevealed!

The plan ultimately called for the construction around the commuter town of Maisons-Laffitte, 15 miles from the Notre Dame because it was situated on a similar-looking stretch of the River Seine with that of Paris. A total of three areas were chosen in the North East for replicating the iconic train hub, North West to replicating city center complete with iconic monuments and East of Paris was the faux industrial zone with factories and other indications of wartime production. Among the replica buildings was a copy of the Gare du Nord train station, the Arc de Triomphe and the Paris Opera.


But the ultimate wonder was its minute details – the designer went to bring ultimate perfection. Most of the structures were made with plastic, wood, and cloth giving it a real look from the air but not much from the land. Streets were laid including the street light. Wooden replicas of buildings were completed with translucent paint on roofs giving an illusion of dirty glass roofs of factories. Wooden trains were moved along the track to give a feel of real train moving.


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Fake Paris: An Ultimate Shocking Secret Of French Authorities Unrevealed!

But the real gem was its lighting, German was attacking in the night so the light served as most important. Fernand Jacopozzi was in responsibility of illumination. He imposed a complete blackout on the city of Paris at night camouflaging the city in darkness.


He used multicolor light to recreate the effect soft glow of lights peeping out from behind heavy drapes, white, yellow, and red lamp was used to create the effect of machines in operation at night, even the smoke coming out of the furnace and false trains and rail tracks were illuminated to give a feel of moving trains. To get the height of perfection, the crew tested the effectiveness of their work from the Eiffel Tower’s third story.


Destiny of Fake Paris

But sadly, only some part of the project came into existence including a fake running train and some factory buildings as before the unbelievable decoy city was ever built, In 1918 the war came to an end and the government quickly dismantle their secret project and suppressed all information concerning its existence. Thus, the extraordinary existence of a masterpiece was ended with it.


Parting Thoughts

So, if you ever travel the beautiful and the most romantic city of Paris travel back in time and imagine the little replica city of light with its moving empty trains, wooden Arc de Triomphe, and flickering streetlamps lining the silent Champs Elysées.


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