An epidemic is gripping Chinese tourists visiting the French capital: the Paris syndrome.
Like their Japanese counterparts, first-time visitors from China — fed on media reports and movies like “An American in Paris,” or “Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amelie Poulain” — arrive expecting to see a quaint, affluent and friendly European city with smartly dressed men and women smelling of Chanel No. 5.
Instead, they discover Paris’s grittier side — packed metros, rude waiters and pickpockets intent on robbing cash-carrying tourists — all of which sends them into psychological shock.
“Chinese people romanticize France, they know about French literature and French love stories,” said Jean-Francois Zhou, president of the Chinese association of travel agencies in France. “But some of them end up in tears, swearing they’ll never come back.” Read more.