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What is Paris Syndrome?

Updated on July 9, 2013

Are you going to Paris, France soon? If you're not, you'll never have this issue. If you are, make sure to check out this problem before booking your flight. This is a real issue which most often affects between 12 and 20 Japanese tourists a year, but every Parisian tourist could be open to feel its effects.

This syndrome strikes tourists when they discover that Paris is not as romantic as it advertises. It is a transient psychological disorder characterized by the following psychiatric complaints:

acute delusional states


feelings of persecution








Triggers include the language barrier, the cultural difference, the idealized images of Paris and exhaustion. As the syndrome is most related to Japanese tourists, the triggers have been researched using Japanese subjects.

The Language Barrier - The Japanese and French languages don't mingle well. There are very few Japanese who speak French, and the French don't embrace the Japanese language either. This barrier is believed to be the biggest contributing factor to the Paris Syndrome. The French and Japanese languages do not have many cognates, additionally, some translations do not work between the languages. This makes for a very confused Japanese tourist.

The Cultural Barrier - It is believed that the delivery of humor is the biggest issue between cultures. The French culture can be very informal compared to the rigid Japanese culture. Many Japanese tourists get confused and put out by the French and their tendency to be quite easy going.

Idealized Images of Paris - The image of Paris in Japan is very exaggerated by the media. Japanese citizens view Paris to be a city oozing with romance. It's not. It is the same as every city - it is what you make of it. When the Japanese visit Paris and realize they have to make their own romance, they become disillusioned by the city. They will suffer the symptoms of Paris Syndrome.

Exhaustion - All three of the above reasons combine to contribute to exhaustion. Additionally, tourists might want to cram too much into one vacation. They push themselves, loaning to the exhaustion. When the body gets tired, it opens itself up to illnesses.

Take a Walk Around the REAL Paris


Paris has opened up a 24-hour hotline for Japanese tourists who believe they are affected by Paris Syndrome. The office is in the Japanese Embassy. Japanese tourists can call any time to get help for the syndrome.

Rest is encouraged to care for the exhaustion symptoms. Often, the victim will be called into the Japanese Embassy to talk about their symptoms. In extreme cases, the victim is asked to return to Japan as soon as possible.


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