What is Paris syndrome?
4 mins read

What is Paris syndrome?

Spread the love

Paris syndrome is a psychological condition characterized by a sense of extreme disappointment and culture shock experienced by some individuals when visiting Paris, who feel that the city was not what they had expected. 

The syndrome is characterized by several psychiatric symptoms such as acute delusional states, hallucinations, feelings of persecution, derealization, depersonalization, anxiety, and psychosomatic manifestations such as dizziness, tachycardia, sweating, and even vomiting.

The syndrome was first coined by Hiroaki Ota, a Japanese psychiatrist working at the Sainte-Anne Hospital Center in France, in the 1980s. 

It has been particularly noted among Japanese tourists, but it has also affected other travelers or temporary residents from East and Southeast Asia, such as those from China, South Korea, and Singapore. 

The condition is believed to be caused by the conflict between the romanticized expectations of the city, often portrayed in literature, cinema, and popular culture, and the experience of the city. 

Cultural disparities, linguistic hurdles, and the overwhelming aspect of a new place are all cited as causes of Paris Syndrome. The stress of traveling, including jet lag and exhaustion, can also exacerbate the symptoms.

While Paris syndrome is not formally recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), it is recognized by many experts as a real, though rare, phenomenon. 

The Japanese embassy in Paris even operates a 24/7 emergency helpline for any of its nationals suffering from its symptoms and potentially in need of repatriation.

Ways to prevent Paris syndrome

Paris syndrome

Paris Syndrome can be prevented by managing expectations and taking steps to minimize stress and exhaustion. Here are some ways to avoid Paris Syndrome:

1. Manage Expectations: Understand that Paris is not always glamorous and romantic. It is a bustling city with its own set of challenges.

2. Take It Easy: Avoid overexertion and exhaustion. Spend less time in line at popular attractions and more time exploring the city at a relaxed pace.

3. Cultural Preparation: Learn about the local culture, customs, and language before visiting. This can help reduce the impact of culture shock.

4. Seek Support: If feeling overwhelmed, seek support from travel companions, local resources, or professional help if needed.

5. Stay Positive: Focus on the positive aspects of the experience and be open to embracing the city’s unique charm and character.

By being mindful of these factors, travelers can reduce the risk of experiencing Paris Syndrome and have a more enjoyable visit to the city.

Cultural differences to be aware of when visiting Paris

When visiting Paris, it’s essential to be aware of the cultural differences to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience. Some cultural differences to be aware of include:

1. Greeting: Parisians tend to be more formal and do not greet strangers as frequently as in some other countries. They may not appreciate being greeted by strangers in the streets, unless they are in a shop or being introduced to them.

2. Personal Space: Parisians value personal space and privacy. They may find it intrusive to be greeted too closely or have their personal space invaded.

3. Dining: Meals in France often take place at designated times, and it’s essential to plan accordingly. Breakfast is typically a light meal, and lunch is usually between 12 pm and 2 pm. Dinner is typically served later in the evening.

4. Fashion: French people are known for their stylish dress sense. While it’s acceptable to wear comfortable clothing, it’s essential to dress neatly and presentably.

5. Public Transportation: Paris has an extensive public transportation system, and it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the trains and metro system to navigate the city efficiently.

6. Formality: French culture is more formal than some other countries. Smiling and greeting strangers in the streets may not be as common, but once you form a relationship with locals, they can be very welcoming and friendly.

7. Shops and Markets: Grocery stores, patisseries, bakeries, and markets are open between 7 am and 7 pm. It’s essential to plan your shopping accordingly.

By being aware of these cultural differences, you can better adapt to life in Paris and have a more enjoyable and immersive experience.

Have fun in Paris!

Continue reading: Why is the Aiken Lake called the Devil’s Eye Lake?

Leave a Reply