Paris Syndrome: When the City of Lights Causes Tourists Clinical Levels of Disappointment

Paris is one of the most visited cities in the world, with folks from all corners flying in to see the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Seine River, cute cafes and the city’s famous side streets and architecture.

But for some, Paris isn’t just the City of Lights: it’s the City of Frights…

Enter the ever-elusive Paris Syndrome, a peculiar ailment that turns what was meant to be a dream vacation into a vacation from reality.

Paris Syndrome is a real psychiatric phenomenon (said some doctor) characterized by delusional states, hallucinations and sweaty palms. In short, it’s the realization that Paris is meh.

Who’s particularly prone to this Franco-fizzle? Japanese tourists, it seems.

In Japanese culture, Paris is often painted as a scene straight out of “Amelie”: a world of romance, cobblestone streets and courteous waiters. The reality, however, sometimes includes less-than-amiable locals and a bit more dog crap on the Montmartre sidewalks than anticipated.

After being bombarded by idealized images of Paris, some Japanese visitors arrive and freak out because the real thing is nothing like what they show in the movies.

So, next time you’re packing for Paris, throw in a pinch of realism with your beret and guidebook. Or just don’t go.

Written by Editorial Team

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