Je t'aime Paris? - Why Paris Can Be a Nightmare for Some

No one can deny that Paris is a compelling city that never fails to exude romance and sophistication. Amelie, Devil Wears Prada, and Gossip Girl  these are just some of the visual treats which make us think that Paris must really be that inspiring. Of course, French fashion also plays a pivotal role here. Who wouldn’t want to walk on cobbled streets, browse chic Parisian couture houses, and munch on cream-filled macarons? For some reason, we find ourselves smitten by the magical city which embraces the “live and let live” philosophy.

However, such is not the case for some people particularly Japanese.  Caroline Wyatt of BBC News reports that more than a dozen of Japanese tourists have to be repatriated every year from the city because of “Paris syndrome”.

Twenty years ago, a Japanese psychiatrist who was working in France coined the term “Paris Syndrome” to identify the psychiatric breakdown experienced by Japanese tourists in the French capital. This is what happens when tourists find out that the city’s reality does not meet their cinematic expectations.  In short, culture shock.

Some triggers that contribute to the emotional destabilization of visitors include language difficulty, cultural difference, and exhaustion from jet lag.  Japanese are used to a rigidly formal and calm culture which might be different from the French aura. Women are most susceptible to this syndrome which is very believable because we are the ones who love to watch Paris-based films and form mental images of an enchanting and tranquil metropolis.

Felt disappointed when Carrie (Sex and the City) left Aleksandr and his luxurious French lifestyle?
Think again.
"Paris is a mess. I never should have come here. Everything fell apart,
we had a big fight and then I got slapped."
-Carrie, SATC "An American Girl in Paris: Part Deux"
As always, it’s never right to set skyrocketing expectations especially if you do not have a firsthand experience but that’s okay for Paris itself will always remain as le fabuleux!