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The Eiffel Tower silhouetted by a sunrise.
The Eiffel Tower in Paris

Paris syndrome is a cluster of psychiatric symptoms exhibited by some individuals when visiting Paris, that can be viewed as a severe form of culture shock. [1]

The syndrome is characterized by symptoms such as acute delusional states, hallucinations, feelings of persecution (perceptions of being a victim of prejudice, aggression, hostility from others), [2][ irrelevant citation] derealization, depersonalization, anxiety, as well as psychosomatic manifestations such as dizziness, tachycardia, sweating most notably, but also others, such as vomiting. [3][ unreliable medical source?]

While the syndrome has been particularly noted among Japanese tourists, perhaps due to the way in which Paris has been idealised in Japanese culture, the syndrome has also affected travellers from other countries such as China, South Korea, and Singapore.


Hiroaki Ota, a Japanese psychiatrist working at the Sainte-Anne Hospital Center in France, coined the term in the 1980s [4] and published a book of the same name [5] in 1991. Katada Tamami of Nissei Hospital wrote of a Japanese patient with manic-depression who experienced Paris syndrome in 1998. [6]

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 traveler." [7] 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. [8]

Although the BBC reported in 2006 that the Japanese embassy in Paris had a "24-hour hotline for those suffering from severe culture shock", [4] the Japanese embassy states[ clarification needed] no such hotline exists[ clarification needed]. [9] [10] Also in 2006, Miyuki Kusama, of the Japanese embassy in Paris, told The Guardian "There are around 20 cases a year of the syndrome and it has been happening for several years", and that the embassy had repatriated at least four Japanese citizens that year. [11] However, in 2011, the embassy stated that, despite media reports to the contrary, it did not repatriate Japanese nationals with Paris syndrome. [12]


Japanese tourists in Paris

Of the estimated 1.1 million annual Japanese tourists in Paris, [13] the number of reported cases is small. A journal[ which?] also identified two types of the condition: Those who have previous history of psychiatric problems and those without morbid history who exhibit delayed-expression post traumatic stress disorder. [14] In an interview with, Mahmoudia stated that of the fifty pathological travelers hospitalized each year, only three to five are Japanese. [12]

The French newspaper Libération wrote an article on the syndrome in 2004. In the article, Mario Renoux, the president of the Franco-Japanese Medical Association, states that media and touristic advertising are primarily responsible for creating this syndrome. [15] Renoux indicates that while magazines often depict Paris as a place where most people on the street look like models and most women dress in high fashion brands, in reality neither Van Gogh nor models are on the street corners of Paris. 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 a 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.

In 2014, Bloomberg Pursuits reported the syndrome also affected a few of the million annual Chinese tourists in Paris. Jean-Francois Zhou, president of the association of Chinese travel agencies in France (Association Chinoise des Agences de Voyages en France), said "Chinese people romanticize France, they know about French literature and French love stories... But some of them end up in tears, swearing they’ll never come back." [16] The article cited a 2012 survey from the Paris Tourism Office, in which safety and cleanliness received low scores, and also noted that the Paris Police Prefecture website was made available in Chinese, [17] in addition to English and French. However, Michel Lejoyeux, head of psychiatry at Bichat–Claude Bernard Hospital in Paris, noted in an interview that "Traveler's syndrome is an old story", and pointed to Stendhal syndrome which, conversely, is a set of symptoms arising from an overwhelmingly positive touristic experience.

See also


  1. ^ Witztum, Eliezer; Kalian, Moshe (2016). Jerusalem Syndrome and Paris Syndrome: Two Extraordinary Disorders. In: Unusual and Rare Psychological Disorders: A Handbook for Clinical Practice and Research. Oxon: Oxford University Press. p. 208. ISBN  9780190245863.
  2. ^ Wilson, Scott (8 July 2015). "Another Japanese celebrity claims discrimination in France; netizens not so sympathetic". Japan Today. Archived from the original on 3 August 2020. Retrieved 20 February 2020.
  3. ^ Fagan, Chelsea (18 October 2011). "Paris Syndrome: A First-Class Problem for a First-Class Vacation". The Atlantic. Archived from the original on 19 February 2021. Retrieved 20 February 2020.
  4. ^ a b Wyatt, Caroline (20 December 2006). "'Paris Syndrome' strikes Japanese". BBC News. Archived from the original on 31 October 2009. Retrieved 4 November 2009.
  5. ^ Ota, Hiroaki (1991). パリ症候群 [Pari shōkōgun] (in Japanese). TRAJAL Books [ ja]. ISBN  978-489559233-8.
  6. ^ Tamami, Katada (1998). パリ症候群の1症例についての考察 [Reflexions on a case of Paris syndrome]. Nissei Byoin Igaku Zasshi = the Journal of the Nissey Hospital 日生病院医学雑誌 [Journal of the Nissei Hospital] (in Japanese). 26 (2). Science Links Japan: 127–132. ISSN  0301-2581. Archived from the original on 30 October 2013. Retrieved 5 November 2009.
  7. ^ Xaillé, Anne (21 November 2002). "Voyage pathologique: Voyager rend-il fou ?" [Travel pathological: Traveling makes you crazy?] (in French). Assistance Publique – Hôpitaux de Paris. 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.
  8. ^ Magherini, Graziella (1995). La sindrome di Stendhal (in Italian) (1995 ed.). Ponte alle Grazie. ISBN  88-7928-308-1. Total pages: 219
  9. ^ "Contacts". Ambassade du Japon en France (in French). Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. 7 January 2020. Archived from the original on 1 January 2020. Retrieved 12 April 2020. En dépit d'informations erronées publiées/citées dans (par) divers médias, l'Ambassade du Japon en France vous informe ne disposer d'aucun service téléphonique dévolu au soi-disant "syndrome de Paris" et ne répondra à aucune sollicitation de quelque nature que ce soit concernant ce sujet.
  10. ^ ご意見・ご相談 | 在フランス日本国大使館. Embassy of Japan in Paris (in Japanese). Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. 16 November 2018. Archived from the original on 16 July 2019. Retrieved 12 April 2020. ※複数のメディアにおいて間違った報道がなされているようですが、在仏大使館では「パリ症候群」のホットラインやこれに関するいかなる対応もしておりません。御理解のほど宜しくお願いいたします
  11. ^ Chrisafis, Angelique (25 October 2006). "Paris syndrome hits Japanese". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 30 August 2013. Retrieved 4 November 2009.
  12. ^ a b Georgen, Annabelle (26 December 2011). "Paris ou le choc de la réalité" [Paris or the shock of reality]. Slate (in French). Archived from the original on 31 August 2019. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  13. ^ Haupt, Tomas (9 December 2019). "Japanese Tourists Show Growing Interest in French Destinations". Tourism Review. Archived from the original on 13 April 2020. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  14. ^ Robinson, Mike; Picard, David (2016). Emotion in Motion: Tourism, Affect and Transformation. Oxon: Routledge. p. 102. ISBN  978-1-40942133-7.
  15. ^ Levy, Audrey (13 December 2004). "Des Japonais entre mal du pays et mal de Paris" [The Japanese between homesick and Paris sick]. Libération (in French). Archived from the original on 19 December 2019. Retrieved 25 November 2014.
  16. ^ Nussbaum, Ania (14 August 2014). "The Paris Syndrome Drives Chinese Tourists Away". Bloomberg. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  17. ^ "Préfecture de police (中文)". Retrieved 12 April 2020.

External links