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Can Paris Make You Sick? Science Says It’s Possible

Paris Syndrome is a mental condition experienced by some individuals when visiting Paris. This psychological condition happens as a result of extreme cultural shock derived from disappointment.

Almost everyone in the world has overly-romantic expectations of Paris. What happens it that the city of lights is not what they expected it to be, and these rare, but existing, tourists fall into a delusional state.

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The symptoms of this strange condition are vomiting, sweating, dizziness, tachycardia, and in the severe cases, even hallucinations. Some psychiatrists suggest that this might be due to the mere fact of traveling, and not Paris itself. But still, these cases were mostly found in the French capital. It is experienced almost exclusively among Japanese tourists, but within the last decade, it spread among Chinese visitors too.

So what makes these Asian travelers sick in Paris?

The main argumentation stands in Japanese obsession over everything that’s French. Tokyo is full of French Patisseries and luxury outlets with top French brands as Chanel and Louis Vuitton. Their popular culture maintains an overly-romanticized image of Paris, as seen in movies like Amelie.

Japanese travelers expect cobble-stoned streets, love on each corner, glamorous and noble Parisians. Unluckily, what they find does not fit their imagination.

They simply can’t cope up with the French metropolitan reality. They find notoriously rude service, confusing public transport, homeless people all over the city instead of the idealized Paris they were imagining.

Language and cultural barriers make these visitors’ emotional state even worse. When combined with exhaustion and delusion, it’s likely that the syndrome is taking over them.

The Japanese embassy in Paris is dealing with this psychological distress. They introduced a 24/7 helpline for all Japanese tourists that are experiencing this syndrome. Reportedly, on average 20 tourists per year are sent back to Japan with a doctor or nurse in order to recover from the shock.

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Does that mean you shouldn’t travel to Paris?

Absolutely not. Paris is definitely among the most beautiful cities of the globe. Just don’t expect the perfect city you’re used to seeing in movies.

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