Paris Syndrome affects around 20 tourists a year, mostly Japanese, for some reason. It appears to spring from the shock of the disparity between the popular image of Paris – of accordions, flowers and cobbled streets – and the exposure to, say, the Place de Clichy at night. They do not know that, within our lifetimes, those cobble stones have been prised up and thrown in anger; they require immediate psychiatric help.
Parisians, by Graham Robb.
I think it's touching that someone would have such a romanticized view of Paris that he or she would need psychiatric help upon finding out that the city has a modern, even seamy side. I'm always pleased when a place I visit lives up to its reputation in a good way. I kind of expect the overdeveloped and seamy stuff -- and that tourists will get the worst of it -- but then, I lived in New York for a long time. Once, returning from a trip to Europe, I was mistaken for a tourist myself by a limo driver who tried to con me into an expensive ride home in his car. Being a New Yorker, I flagged a legitimate cab under his very nose, just as he was saying that cab would never stop for me. I looked at him as the cab drove away. He shrugged. That was in the shadow of charmless, barely distinguishable downtown office towers. Not a carriage horse in sight.