Paris syndrome

Paris syndrome (French: syndrome de Paris, Japanese: パリ症候群, pari shōkōgun) is a condition exhibited by some individuals when visiting or going on vacation to Paris, as a result of extreme shock at discovering that Paris is different from their expectations. The syndrome is characterized by a number of psychiatric symptoms such as 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, such as vomiting.[1] Similar syndromes include Jerusalem syndrome and Stendhal syndrome. The condition is commonly viewed as a severe form of culture shock. It is particularly noted among Japanese travellers. It is not listed as a recognised condition in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.


Professor Hiroaki Ota, a Japanese psychiatrist working in France, is credited as the first person to diagnose the condition in 1986.[2] Later work by Youcef Mahmoudia, a physician with the hospital Hôtel-Dieu de Paris, indicates that Paris syndrome is "psychopathology related to travel, rather than a syndrome of the traveller."[3] He theorized that the excitement resulting from visiting Paris causes the heart to accelerate, causing giddiness and shortness of breath, which results in hallucinations in the manner similar to (although spurring from opposite causes) the Stendhal syndrome described by Italian psychiatrist Graziella Magherini in her book La sindrome di Stendhal.[4]


Japanese tourists in Paris

Japanese visitors are observed to be especially susceptible.[2][5] In Japanese popular culture Paris is associated with romantic films such as Amelie and is thought to be the stuff of fairytales, cobble-stoned streets and all.[6]

When the reality of the modern city of Paris sets in, with its notoriously rude service and confusing public transport, some tourists simply cannot cope with their expectations being dashed.It was first noted in Nervure, the French journal of psychiatry, in 2004.[7] From the estimated six million yearly visitors, the number of reported cases is not large: according to an administrator at the Japanese embassy in France, around 20 Japanese tourists a year are affected by the syndrome.[8] Women are also said to be susceptible, particularly those in their early thirties on their first international trip.[9] The journal also identified two types of the affliction: Those who have previous history of psychiatric problems and those without morbid history who exhibit the delayed-expression type.[10]

Mario Renoux, the president of the Franco-Japanese Medical Association, states in Libération': "Des Japonais entre mal du pays et mal de Paris" (The Japanese are caught between homesickness and Paris sickness). This is also a play on words since Pays and Paris sound similar, 13 December 2004) and that media and touristic advertising are primarily responsible for creating this syndrome. Renoux indicates that media, magazines in particular, often depict Paris as a place where most people on the street look like "stick-thin" models and most women dress in high fashion brands such as Louis Vuitton with no signs of the pollution, overcrowding or rudeness of the locals.[11] In this view, the disorder is caused by positive representations of the city in popular culture, which leads to immense disappointment as the reality of experiencing the city is very different from expectations: tourists are confronted with an overcrowded and littered city (especially if compared to Japanese metropolis) and a less than welcoming attitude by French hospitality workers like shopkeepers, restaurant and hotel personnel without considering the higher safety risks to which tourists used to safer cities are suddenly exposed. [12]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Wyatt, Caroline (2009). "Mastering French manners, the hard way". BBC News. Retrieved 4 November 2009.
  2. ^ a b Wyatt, Caroline (20 December 2006). "'Paris Syndrome' strikes Japanese". BBC News. Retrieved 4 November 2009.
  3. ^ Xaillé, Anne (21 November 2002). "Voyage pathologique: Voyager rend-il fou ? (Eng: Travel pathological: Traveling makes you crazy?)" (in French). The organization of the AP-HP. Archived from the original on 29 September 2011. Retrieved 9 November 2018. ... le docteur Mahmoudia préfère parler de voyage pathologique ou de psychopathologie liée au voyage, plutôt que de syndrome du voyageur.
  4. ^ Magherini, Graziella (1995). La sindrome di Stendhal (in Italian) (1995 ed.). Ponte alle Grazie. ISBN 88-7928-308-1. - Total pages: 219
  5. ^ Tamami, Katada (1998). "Reflections on a case of Paris syndrome". Journal of the Nissei Hospital. Science Links Japan. 26 (2): 127–132. ISSN 0301-2581. Archived from the original on 30 October 2013. Retrieved 5 November 2009.
  6. ^ Kent, L. (2015, December 30). Paris Syndrome: culture shock sickness sends Japanese tourists packing. Retrieved March 31, 2020, from
  7. ^ Viala, A.; H. Ota; M.N. Vacheron; P. Martin; F. Caroli (June 2004). "Japanese pathological trip to Paris: an original model of cross-cultural management [in French]". Nervure Supplément. 17 (5): 31–34. Retrieved 11 July 2016.
  8. ^ Chrisafis, Angelique (25 October 2006). "Paris syndrome hits Japanese". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 4 November 2009.
  9. ^ Mennel, Barbara (2008). Cities and Cinema. Oxon: Routledge. p. 62. ISBN 978-0415364454.
  10. ^ Robinson, Mike; Picard, David (2016). Emotion in Motion: Tourism, Affect and Transformation. Oxon: Routledge. p. 102. ISBN 9781409421337.
  11. ^ Levy, Audrey (13 December 2004). "Des Japonais entre mal du pays et mal de Paris". Libération (in French). Retrieved 25 November 2014.
  12. ^ Giovanelli, Marcello; Macrae, Andrea; Titjen, Felicity; Cushing, Ian (2015). A/AS Level English Language and Literature for AQA Student Book. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 82. ISBN 9781107465664.

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