About the Paris syndrome

We long for Paris in all seasons. The most popular destination in the world is the French capital. By an average of 20 million tourists visit Paris in a year. The Japanese are also happy to travel here. According to some surveys, at least six million (!) of them per year. Several of them arrive in the city with excessive expectation, and the romanticising souls eventually leaving in a state of shock.

What is Paris syndrome exactly?

The Paris syndrome is a sense of disappointment, when ones are visiting Paris. Who feel that the city was not what they had expected. The condition is as a severe form of culture shock.

The disease is taking its toll primarily among Japanese tourists. Paris syndrome occurs in those who cherish some sort of overly romantic and idealised image of the place they are visiting. They want to see the City of Lights as they did in Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain.

The syndrome has a number of psychiatric symptoms such as acute delusional states, hallucinations, feelings of persecution, perceptions of being a victim of prejudice, aggression, and hostility from others, de-realization, de-personalization, anxiety, and also psychosomatic manifestations such as dizziness, tachycardia, sweating, and others, such as vomiting.

While the syndrome has been particularly effecting the Japanese tourists, it has also affected other travellers or temporary residents from eastern Asia, such as those from China, Singapore and South Korea.

Let’s lower our expectations!

Well, these expectations are worth unpacking from your suitcase early in the trip. Paris is a bustling big city. Where there are conflicts on the roads, the waiters are occasionally rude. Not to mention that sometime it is impossible to get to the Eiffel Tower, and the subway is often almost unbearably nasal.

The difference – between the cherished, overly romanticised picture and the real image – can cause shock and then leads to collapse.

After all, Paris is not what they hoped for. The city is a real city, besides all the beautiful sites, there are lot people around, it is dirty and noisy. Where the women don’t even dress according to the latest issue of Vogue. And men don’t run in striped t-shirts, with fresh baguettes under their armpits.

Best experiences in Paris that won’t disappoint you!

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16 Replies to “About the Paris syndrome”

  1. I find the idea of a Paris Syndrome absurd and can relate it to a similarly romanticized version of Hollywood, California. People should look to themselves more to conquer their biases.

  2. interesting and great analogy to life in general. when I visited Australia a few years ago, I met a young woman who had such outlandish ideas about Los Angeles, in terms of making money, lifestyle, etc. I wonder if Parisians are disappointed in Paris?

  3. What a beautiful blog you have here! I’m not much of a traveller but I do enjoy to read about travelling, especially when recounting their experiences so, you have a new reader to this blog. Sorry for the off-topic comment but that cover photo, where was it taken? It looks so much like my home islands of the Azores…
    all best!

      1. Great report from S. Miguel! I’m from Flores Island, the westernmost of the archipelago and Europe. It also has a lot of lagoons and it’s a bit like the Furnas and Sete Cidades valleys mixed together 🙂

  4. Thanks for deflating the Parisian bubble a bit. I went to Paris thinking it couldn’t live up to my expectations. Then, the food, the sights, and the Eiffel Tower swept me away. I was not disappointed. I enjoyed myself very much.

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