The Paris Syndrome

In I am... on June 9, 2011 at 10:00 am

A London friend emailed me an article this morning about tourists visiting the French capital, specifically Japanese, who fall prey to what is known as the ‘Paris syndrome’. Around a million Japanese travel here every year (yeesh), many expecting the fairytale vacation they once saw in a Woody Allen movie.

But an average of up to 12 Japanese tourists fall victim to the Paris Syndrome each year and have to be sent home accompanied by a doctor or nurse (those numbers came from the Japanese embassy).

No it’s not because they’re knocked out by the amount of garlic we use in our food; the ‘Paris Syndrome’, officially identified over 20 years ago by a Japanese psychiatrist working in France is brought on by one thing and one thing only.

Rude Parisians.

Oh dear.

Are Parisians really that bad that they’re sending home the gentle-cultured Japanese tourists with their tails between their legs?

The article specified ‘victims’ were mainly Japanese women in their 30s with high expectations of what may be their first trip abroad.

Really Paris? Little Japanese ladies? 

My only advice to visitors would be: fight back.

That’s right, be just as rude. Even if it’s in another language.

You see, they* never see it coming.

[*taxi drivers, waiters, snooty sales assistants]

I do it quite frequently, and in fact, I quite enjoy it.

There’s no sense in being the victim. Simply tell that nasty taxi driver to get a new job when he refuses to do ‘le tour’ around the one-way system to drop you, god forbid, outside your door (in the dead of night).

Tell that waiter exactly where he can stick it if he won’t offer you that lovely empty table by the window for no apparent reason (because there is no reason).

It’s terribly empowering not to fall prey to the Parisian rudeness that this town is so unfortunately infamous for. I recommend it to all tourists. In fact I think it would heighten the pleasure of your stay with us should you conquer the perilous ‘Paris Syndrome’.

On that note, I’ve come across an American girl in Paris, who seems to have the right idea….

Check out this vlog (no that’s not a typo and until yesterday I wasn’t fully aware either that vlog was now an official term for video blogs)…

Vlogger Michelle’s vlog (I like this new lingo) tells you the secret to learning French with one magic word


[If you’re living or thinking about living in Paris and you like this blog, you should head to The Observing Participant to read/ watch more about a bi-linqgual ex-pat in Paris including Confessions of an American Girl in Paris and Paris livin. Good stuff]. 


Right, I think that’s enough of focusing on the bad manners of my newly adopted city (because you know what, some cities are just too damn happy).

Time for that wonderfully positive spin on living in France that you all know and love me for….(right?)


I want one. They line the banks of the Seine, making me feel weirdly jealous, something like Goldilocks might have felt watching MTV Cribs. I want to go and try living in every single one.

By the way, can anyone name that car out of interest?


That Perfect Little Apartment in Paris

One thing people living in Paris tend to do quite regularly is dream about real estate. Over morning coffee croissant with my Paris bestie [I’ll codename her] KathKidston (because she is the personification of the traditional English homeware brand), we often describe in great detail (down to the embroidered lace towelettes we would have in the guest bathroom) the perfect Paris apartment we might one day share together– we have vivid imaginations. But while KathKidston and I dream (on), those just visiting Paris can actually experience what living in a charming Parisian apartment could be like…

Behold ‘Le Petit Paradis’ …

Nestled on a cobbled street in the heart of the Latin Quarter (you don’t get more central than that) this chic little paradise/studio apartment is up for rent for short periods of time. Your landlord is a French artist who has filled the place with nothing but Parisian charm.  With a romantic mezzanine sleeping area and kitted out with wifi, a flat screen, sound system and hand-picked books on Paris, you’ll be the envy of all Parisians staying here.

For more info visit the site (price is £800 for the week – between two people, that’s cheaper than most hotels).


Hey, the guy from the Hangover movies Speaks pretty Impressive French!

All American guy, Bradley Cooper, you know the actor that plays the screw-up in those disaster comedies, well who knew, but the man can carry more than just a conversation. Check out this interview he did on a French news channel, speaking entirely in zi French!

Pressure! Perhaps a tiny tweak here and there on his accent but the guy can ramble! He makes me feel like I need to dust off that French grammar book before I go back outside. And yes it’s true, the French really, really, really do appreciate when foreigners speak their language well.


Swimming in French

Oblivious to the German occupation and a continent torn by war, Parisians frolic on the riverbank of the Seine in the summer of 1943.

You know when you move to a new country and things that once seemed very easy and normal back home suddenly feel like the big scary unknown? Well that’s how I felt about finding a new swimming pool in Paris. Do they swim a certain way? Will all the elegant Parisian ladies make me feel like a baby hippo thrashing through the water? These were the type of questions racing through my mind as I edged towards my first Parisian swimming pool, pulled led by boyfriend through the doors of La Piscine Pontoise.

Wow. You’re not really prepared for the calibre of Parisian public pools when coming from the tired and slightly icky indoor pool at the Chelsea Sports Centre in old London town. La Piscine Pontoise just so happened to be a magnificent example of Art Deco architecture (my favorite kind), lit up at night like a skyscraper in Dubai. I should’ve known swimming in Paris was going to be fabulous!

P.S. Another Art Deco swimming pool in Paris was brought to my attention (thanks to the forementioned blogger/ vlogger The Observing Participant). Since I’m pretty much obsessed with all things derelict, I was instantly fascinated with the abandoned Piscine Molitor in the 14th arrondissement.

Built in the 1920s, apparently the bikini was first introduced at this very pool by Louis Réard in 1946. It’s now only frequented by graffiti kids and the odd rave parties, but what a treat this would be to go and explore.

As my new vlogger buddy points out, you can be a fan of the Piscine Molitor on Facebook. I’m going to do that right now...


Oh and this is the City I Live in…

Not to rub it in or anything, but I just wanted to make sure you were aware of how not normal Paris is.

Just behind one of the busiest streets in Saint Germain (central Paris hub), I found this quiet little courtyard of paradise (birds chirping and everything).

I like to come here and eat my sandwiches and just be content about the city I live in.

And I’ve got dibs on this apartment at the top of the stairs.

That is all.

(and you can find my little secret spot here)


P.S. Just had to get this off my chest…

WHY hadn’t they invented these sunglasses-cum-pacifier-in-one when I needed them???? 


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