Paris Syndrome: what it is and how it can spread to other cities

By TravelWiseJan 31, 2024 11:33 AMNews
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The Paris syndrome
Paris syndrome. Source: Freepik

Paris, known for its iconic landmarks and culinary excellence, is home to a unique phenomenon called Paris Syndrome.

This psychological condition, which affects a small percentage of tourists, manifests itself with symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and hallucinations. Although the DSM-5-TR does not officially recognize it as a mental health problem, experts acknowledge its existence, as reported by News Bytes.

Paris Syndrome: what it is and how it can spread to other cities
Paris Syndrome: what it is and how it can spread to other cities. Source: Freepik

This is primarily true for Japanese visitors, due to cultural differences and unmet romantic expectations.

Cultural roots: why Japanese tourists?

The Paris syndrome among Japanese tourists is linked to historical and cultural differences.

Professor Rodanthe Cianelli said that Japan's romantic perception of the West, shaped by media images, creates unrealistic expectations.

Paris, which is often portrayed as hospitable in movies and books, contradicts its not-so-friendly reality.

The clash between the orderly and polite Japanese culture and the sometimes confrontational behavior of the Parisians exacerbates the syndrome.

Paris syndrome vs. culture shock: understanding the connection

Paris syndrome is identified as an extreme form of culture shock, a phenomenon that causes disorientation, depression, and physical illness in severe cases.

Culture shock occurs when people from one symbolic reality find themselves immersed in another.

The clash of symbols, norms, and expectations causes anxiety by altering stomach signals and causing nausea, vomiting, and other physical reactions.

Expectations and reality

The complex Paris syndrome arises from the clash between idealized expectations and harsh reality.

The perception of Parisians as generally warm people is often at odds with rudeness and language barriers, which causes emotional stress.

Tension also arises for tourists due to the change of iconic places; for example, the Pont de la Vie, once known for locks for eternal love, has banned the installation of locks - now it is illegal!

Is Paris syndrome unique?

Can the symptoms associated with Paris Syndrome appear in other historic cities around the world?

According to Cianelli, this phenomenon may go beyond Paris and be rooted in the broader concept of disillusionment when reality does not match idealized perceptions.

As travelers around the world prepare for a variety of experiences, the syndrome may be a generational phenomenon, but culture shock remains a universal problem regardless of age or travel experience.

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