Monday, June 6, 2011

Learning Today: Paris Syndrome

Paris. If all you ever knew about Paris came from watching Hollywood films, you'd assume that as soon as you alighted from your plane at Charles De Gaulle your journey would consist of nothing but falling in love, eating scrumptious food, and marveling at the wealth of beauty and culture that Paris affords.

People who've been to the City of Love can tell you that despite the city's charms, the streets smell like piss. It's a great city--but it's still a city, inhabited by humans in all their sweaty variety.

Travelers need to inure themselves against disappointment. Those who don't might have some problems.

One of those problems is Paris Syndrome. Sometimes, when Japanese tourists visit Paris, they are so disappointed by the tawdry reality of the city that they can suffer from a mental breakdown. The problems with the language barrier, the informality of the French, and the horror of international travel all compound to make the victim of Paris Syndrome so disappointed that they crack. The Japanese Embassy in Paris reportedly sends home about 20 people suffering from Paris Syndrome each year.

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