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Paris Syndrome

The French make a lot of people sick. No, really.

Around a dozen Japanese tourists a year need psychological treatment after visiting Paris as the reality of unfriendly locals and scruffy streets clashes with their expectations, a newspaper reported.

“A third of patients get better immediately, a third suffer relapses and the rest have psychoses,” Yousef Mahmoudia, a psychologist at the Hotel-Dieu hospital, next to Notre Dame cathedral, told the newspaper Journal du Dimanche.

Already this year, Japan’s embassy in Paris has had to repatriate at least four visitors – including two women who believed their hotel room was being bugged and there was a plot against them.

Previous cases include a man convinced he was the French ‘Sun King’, Louis XIV, and a woman who believed she was being attacked with microwaves, the paper cited Japanese embassy official Yoshikatsu Aoyagi as saying.

“Fragile travellers can lose their bearings. When the idea they have of the country meets the reality of what they discover it can provoke a crisis,” psychologist Herve Benhamou told the paper.

The phenomenon, which the newspaper dubbed “Paris Syndrome”, was first detailed in the psychiatric journal Nervure in 2004.

Bernard Delage of Jeunes Japon, an association that helps Japanese families settle in France, said:

“In Japanese shops, the customer is king, whereas here assistants hardly look at them … People using public transport all look stern, and handbag snatchers increase the ill feeling.”

And to think I got off lightly with a mild case of anti-French neurosis..

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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