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Paris Syndrome

Written by 5 August 2011 8 Comments

Have you ever arrived somewhere and been so utterly disappointed with what was waiting for you; dirty streets, unwelcoming locals, terrible weather and rude waiters? Sometime a city just doesn’t live up to your expectations but no need to fear, there is now a medical condition related to this destination disappointment; introducing Paris Syndrome or Syndrome de Paris
Paris Syndrome occurs when an experience in a new city becomes too stressful or too disappointing for a tourist and they consequently suffer a psychiatric breakdown. For some, the shock of their dream city turning into a nightmare destination is enough to push them over the edge.
Typical patients of Paris Syndrome are Japanese women in their 30’s. They arrive in the French capital expecting an Amelie Poulain type experience where they want to see beautiful French high-society women, cobbled streets lined with quaint houses and experience art and life in one of Paris’s many museums. Instead what they come across are streets littered with dog poo, unaccommodating and rude locals, dirty streets, tramps on every corner and an inability to communicate in French.
According to this (obviously highly reliable Wikipedia source) Paris Syndrome is characterized by a number of symptoms such as acute delusional states, hallucinations, feelings of persecution (perceptions of being a victim of prejudice, aggression, or hostility from others), derealization, depersonalization, anxiety, and also psychosomatic manifestations such as dizziness, tachycardia or sweating. On average 20 cases a year are diagnosed.
What do you think? It is a load of bull? Or have you ever been devastatingly disappointed when taking a long awaited trip? Whatever it’s medial credibility I sure hope I don’t start suffering from Berlin Syndrome when I take my much awaited trip to the German capital next month.
lorna stokes This post was written by Lorna Stokes, part of the travelettes team from 2009 to 2013. Originally from the UK but currently based in Brussels after stints in Canada, Peru, Italy and a job for the French military, she’s always had an unquenchable thirst for exploring new places! She’s still travelling the world with her family so catch up with her adventures on Instagram & Twitter.
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  • Pola said:

    Paris didn’t disappoint me in the least bit!! But… I expected to love Barcelona, and it took em a few days to warm up to it (but I still don’t love it).

  • Charlotte said:

    Never been to Paris, but Southern France which is probably the best place in the world. So I expect to love the rest of France as well… We’ll see if I will suffer of the Paris Syndrome :)

    I was disappointed by Melbourne, though. I had been traveling through Australia for 1.5 months already and so many people had told me how wonderful, beautiful and great Melbourne is. And that it’s a shopping paradise. So much culture.
    I was highly disappointed. It was alright, not the worst place, but nothing compared to Sydney :)

  • Faith said:

    I am in San Francisco right now, a city I couldn’t have been more excited to see, and while I’m not needing the hospital or anything quite so drastic, I’m definitely down. Everyone I’ve talked to loves this city! And I’ve wanted to go here since I was a little. I’ve been walking all around for about a week now and am still just…meh. It’s such a downer!

  • San Francisco Syndrome aka Paris Syndrome | Growing Wings said:

    […] read a blog post recently about Paris Syndrome. This is where people have dreamed of Paris their whole lives, saved up to make the trip, and then […]

  • KoolBreez said:

    This problem is mostly with France because the people are very rude and uncivil. The Japanese, coming from a polite society can’t handle it, and blame themselves. The French get under my skin too, but I know whose problem it is and let them have it. The Japanese are not able to..

    You can experience it just on Air France even if you are not going to France.

  • Iona said:

    As a French young woman, I’m not surprised at all by this type of reactions. French people are known for being quite rude, always unhappy about something, always complaining. Yes, France is beautiful for its history, castles, museums and so on, but sadly a lot of people are rude and contemptuous, which I hate. In places other than Paris, they say that Parisians especially are rude ;)

  • Cindy said:

    What about Nanaimo syndrome from organized stalking

  • angela said:

    The nicest people I have ever encountered on travels are the British people. They are so polite and gentle with strangers, even on the subway or in the streets. My dad and I would cross the streets and the cars would patiently wait for us to cross while other drivers in other countries don’t heed to pedestrians.

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