Paris Syndrome

Paris.  my god, this is a beautiful city.

paris in four months© Paris in Four Months


I do believe the world has a romanticized view of the city.  it has been memorialized by painters, writers, actors, and musicians.  and it has been for hundreds of years. listen to the video below for some excerpts about Paris from some very well-known artists and writers:

I know I certainly had my own romantic notions of the city when I decided to pack my bags and move here almost a year ago.  and for the first six weeks living in the city, it really was like you see in movies, read in books, and hear about from other visitors.  but then that honeymoon period wore off and I got to see what it truly means to live here.  like all major cities, it was dirty and there certainly were a handful (or more) of not so nice people.  coming from living in NYC though, maybe I wasn’t as jaded when it came to being in a big city.

however, a fair amount of tourists visiting from China did not fare as well as I did.  a week, even a few days, in the city and they were done.  that’s it.  never coming back.

they are suffers of something called the Paris Syndrome.  this is a real thing people.  individuals actually suffer from “acute delusional states, hallucinations, feelings of persecution (perceptions of being a victim of prejudice, aggression, or hostility from others), derealization, depersonalization, anxiety, and also psychosomatic manifestations such as dizziness, tachycardia, sweating and others.”  all of this because Paris wasn’t what they were expecting it to be.  apparently all of the not so nice aspects of Paris are conveniently forgotten in Asian representations of the city.  as one author so eloquently put it:

Parisians are constantly breaking new scientific ground when it comes to being unaccommodating and even disdainful towards foreigners. If you do not speak French, you can look forward to stumbling through many uncomfortable, labored conversations with people who resent your very existence.

this is an instance in which the images portrayed online, in movies, books, magazines, etc. could have a detrimental impact on an economy, not just of a destination but of a country.  7.2% of the money brought into the economy of France comes from visitors to Paris.  so when Paris suffers, France suffers.

if we look at the numbers:

1 million Chinese visitors to Paris x 59 euros they spend a day = 59 million euros in the French economy.  that was 2012.  now decrease that number by 20%, as that is how many less Chinese visitors are coming to Paris = 47.2 million euros in the French economy.

a difference of 11.8 million euros.  pretty significant right?


now here comes the big question… should Paris continue to be romanticized in the images portrayed of it around the world so visitors will know what they are getting into?  if that happens, once visitors know the truth, so to speak, would they even choose to continue to visit Paris?

it may at first glance seem like a first world kind of problem; that the trip you plan to Paris doesn’t live up to your expectation.  but as we can see above, the numbers show a very real effect on the economy of a country and thus the people who live in it.



information for this post was generated from this story and also this story.

want to read more about the romantic view of Paris?  check out this writer’s personal opinion.



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