In order to protect the capital city During World War I, the French people built a fake replica of Paris. The main reason of this project was to foolish German troops and to avoid bombs over the real capital city. The second Paris was very realistic with the main streets and the most famous landmarks of the city such as the Champs Elysées and the Northern Railway Station.
A Crazy Story
The details of this incredible plan came to the public light only when Paris was preparing to mark the 93rd anniversary of the World War I truce. According to the archival information, published by the one of the most powerful French newspapers Le Figaro, it was expected that German pilots simply could be confused after seeing an artificial copy of Paris and drop the bombs there. The second Paris was located on the outskirts of the real city. Every little detail was installed such as streets with electric lighting, replicas of buildings and even the North Railway Station, from where trains run to London, were built.
According to Jean-Claude Delarue, one of the most famous historians in Paris at this moment, this is an amazing and incredible story, but French people know very little about it. The plan was kept in a secret for obvious reasons, but it shows that the threat of bombing was taken very seriously back then.
Details of the Plan
This plan was created in 1918 when the war was coming to an end. Radars were still in a primitive stage of development and the accuracy of them could be called just a suggestion. The planes dropped bombs on the first objects that appeared. The location of the bomb dropping often depended on the decision of the pilots. The amount and spread of information were extremely poor. The knowledge of people about other countries was also not high. As a result, such a plan that now seems like nothing but an absurd, could have saved thousands of lives during the time of World War I.
The executors of the secret plan chose a location about 24 kilometers from the center of Paris at the bend of the Seine, like the one in the real city. Private companies were hired to make copies of the buildings, and electrician and engineer Fernando Jacopozzis was hired to electrify the new city. Wooden copies of many of the buildings were made and painted accordingly. Special lamps were connected in artificial factories to create the effect of night production.
However, the second Paris was not fully completed until the last German air attack above the real city in September 1918, as a result, the ambitious plan was never tested under the real circumstances of bombing. However, the engineer Fernando Jacopozzis was awarded for his impressive work. Later, he became famous after he was honored to illuminate the Eiffel Tower. Fake Paris was quickly disassembled after the war. Now, the real district of Paris has been in that place for a long time.