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Paris syndrome (wikipedia.org)
120 points by smacktoward on Jan 11, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 156 comments



I am part Parisian. (I used to live there and my family is from the city and nice banlieue). I love Paris, but what shocks me every time I go back is the quantity of dog poop (and also trash) in the streets and the inability of city officials to do anything about it. Here are a few tips for visitors:

- When interacting with locals, always start off by saying Bonjour Monsieur, Bonjour Madame. That will help disarm cranky Parisians. If doing an AirBnb make sure to do this when seeing people on the “palier” — stair landing in Parisian apartment buildings.

- Consider going to the top of the Tour Maine-Montparnasse, instead of the Eiffel Tower. You will have 1/100th the foot traffic and you won’t be surrounded by pickpockets. Plus you’ll be able to see the Eiffel Tower :-)

- Check out and buy food from the local street market in your area.

- My favorite thing to do in Paris still is flâner — to stroll about the lovely city.


> Plus you’ll be able to see the Eiffel Tower

A story about Guy de Maupassant always makes me smile. He hated the Eiffel Tower (“I left Paris and even France because in the end, the Eiffel Tower annoyed me too much”) and yet supposedly ate lunch there every day. Why? Because it’s the only place in Paris where you can’t see the Eiffel Tower.

https://www.thevintagenews.com/2016/09/20/priority-french-wr...


Seconded about Tour Montparnasse. The Tour Eiffel has become an expensive, crowded, dangerous nightmare. You have to go through airport-level security just to approach it, and going up requires previous reservations or waiting in very long lines. Tour Montparnasse is as pleasant as Tour Eiffel was 20 years ago. Tip: Go just before sunset and stay at the top as the sun goes down. Paris is loveliest during the sunset transition.


"I love Paris, but what shocks me every time I go back is the quantity of dog poop (and also trash) in the streets and the inability of city officials to do anything about it."

Is the amount of dog poop in Paris even worse than in Berlin? I cannot imagine that.


As a Berliner, dog poop (like litter in general) is very localized. There are large parts of Berlin (especially in the south west) that are very clean and if you e.g. live in Zehlendorf and work in the nice/wealthy parts of Charlottenburg you will not be overwhelmed by dog poop and grime.


I would also recommend not being too loud, French people usually are pretty quiet in restaurants or public spaces, and being loud is frowned upon.


> French people usually are pretty quiet

It's not just French people. American tourists have a reputation in many countries for being annoyingly loud.


An American colleague sent his children (7 years old ish) to the British International school on a foreign assignment, as there was no American school in the city.

The teacher sometimes asked the children were to "use their one metre voice".


As a European I'm still shocked at how loud Americans are. I cannot stay more than a couple minutes in an American bar or pub


Same, it's pretty rough.


You might have only been to higher-end restaurants, and not the "good ol' french" types that are as much about the atmosphere as they are about the food. The kind of thing I could only name as "à la bonne franquette". For a representative sample of the kind of place I'm talking about, try 'Chez Gladines' in the 13th arrondissement.


I have worn my earplugs (still carried from the flight that morning) in a Paris restaurant where the locals were watching the football.

It was a great atmosphere, but I was glad when the waiter asked us to swap tables to the other room — he rearranged all the noisy people into one room, and the quiet ones into the other.


I’m from a place where “bouchons” is exactly this :P still less loud than any restaurant in the US


> still less loud than any restaurant in the US

Sounds like you might need to try some restaurants in the US. It's more than McDonald's and TGI Fridays.


Not true in the South of France. Boisterous, fun, loud.


> quantity of dog poop

You should checkout San Francisco, it's not only dog poop here though ;)

In all seriousness, I'm Married to a French woman, lived in France for a little while. Paris is my favorite city, followed by Tokyo probably

PS: Last time I visited the Eiffel Tower I was 4 years old.


This advice on the Tour Maine-Montparnasse reminds me of my advice to people visiting New York City:

- Touring the Statue of Liberty is a great experience, but if you just want to see it, then the Staten Island Ferry has a great view of it, and it's free to and from Staten Island

- The view from the Empire State Building is amazing, but if you instead go to the top of 30 Rockefeller Plaza, then you get to see the Empire State Building and Chrysler Buildings, and in general get a better experience.


Eiffel Tower in summer was fine, even when Paris was ridiculously hot.

It is so iconic that I think folks should do it.

Also, highly recommend waking up at dawn and visiting Trocadero. The views of the Eiffel Tower are just ridiculous amazing: https://www.danaberez.com/paris-instagram-spots/

Our family (8, 5, 5, myself and wife) had a very good time last summer as Paris tourists (with day trip to Versailles — grounds better than palace tour).

Paris also has Uber, so traveling around isn’t difficult even if you don’t speak French.


This is my milage, been there 5 times. I agree with the salutations. Just learning a few lines of French goes a long way of the locals liking you. They truly appreciate the effort and was able to have quite a few conversations and even was invited to a night into town, it was fun to experience Paris through the eyes of a local.


Hang on. Why is everyone talking about dirty Paris streets and not about the claim that unrealistic expectations can result in literal psychosis? Surely this kind of mind-body connection would suggest further investigation, inform policy on deceptive advertising, etc.


IMO it's also really obscure, 20 in 6 million.

That's about 0.0000003 chance.

Isn't there a base rate? If anyone does something anything new that's as big as visiting Paris while coming from Japan, then I'd venture to guess that 1 in 6 million will get a psychiatric disorder. I mean, the chance is so low that I dare to guess that it might be the base rate.


It's probably limited to people who are only able to endure life because they entertain a fantasy of Paris as a heaven of sorts. You can endure almost anything if you have hope, and some people daydream about a better life elsewhere or a perfect place they will visit one day. Then they finally go on their voyage and realize their life in Paris is still shit but made up of higher percentage of dog shit, and they just crack.

But yeah this only justifies a wikipedia article because we have memed it because it is funny.


Humans like to talk, so if we don't have anything to say about one topic, we'll change it to what we do have something to say about. All we need is a path of associations from A to B. The way to get there is first to switch to a generic superset of the topic (Paris Syndrome -> Paris), i.e. go to Central Station, and from there hop on a train to something you have opinions/feelings about (Paris -> Dirty streets in Paris). In this case the path was also plausible because the OP references tourism. But at least the comments here are talking from personal experience, rather than going into generic ideology, which is worse (and did flare up in a spot or two).

Hopping to more generic subjects makes threads less interesting, because the larger a topic is, the fewer unpredictable things there are to say about it. Even if one comment manages to say something unpredictable, the replies quickly revert to predictable things. The most-commonly-repeated arguments have accrued so much mass that no discussion can resist their pull. Therefore, one rule that has developed on HN over the years is to resist generic tangents: they are antithetical to curiosity. Curiosity likes to look around and see something new and specific; generic tangents are powered by emotional energy that wants to talk about something old and familiar.

https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=false&qu...

Edit: This is a medium-is-the-message thing. A large, flat, open forum like HN can't discuss generic topics well, because of the mass effect I mentioned above. For such discussions to be interesting requires longer (for depth) and more individual (to stay on track) genres. An essay at least, if not a book.


I suspect this started as an April 1st. joke.


We went to Paris in a rainy November, took public transit exclusively and stayed in a building with an elevator that could fit one suitcase, by itself, and a shower about the same size. We saw some homelessness and scams.

And yet it was absolutely lovely. I could talk endlessly about the people, the sites, the food (and hardly just French food) and the museums. I'm sort of dumbfounded at people who can't see that.

No one was rude to us, even outside of tourist areas, mostly just professional.

Of course it's not Disneyland. We had to learn language basics, checkout travel books and scour the internet. I think this gave us rational expectations.

Semi-related, I live in Portland, OR which has a similar climate, possibly similar civic challenges and interestingly, a similar fascination from Japan.

https://www.wweek.com/we-went-to-japan/

Oregon even uses Japanese style animation in ads, presumably because of that.

https://m.youtube.com/user/oregon


Meh... in every city it depends on the place you visit. San Francisco is horrible due to the extreme amount of homeless, addict and crazy people (I got harassed by one of them in my last visit). Ney York people are assholes (they just shout at you and mock you as tourist when you ask for directions). London was really nice.. but of course I'm talking about Hyde park and surroundings. Liverpool is beautiful, just dont go to Kensington. Paris for me was nice: very dirty but Sacre Cour and Champs Elysees walk was nice. Berlin also very nice.. somewhat messy and full of tourists (me being among them of course).

Mexico city is freaking ugly 90%. And insecure, but if you go to the centre or Santa Fe , you will have a nice experience...


yes if you visit San Francisco first, then Paris, then Paris seems lovely.


Very interesting, I had the opposite effect.

I grew up in a very “red” part of the US and was given a very negative view of the French (or anyone else for that matter). I was so surprised to find the people were friendly, kind and inviting. A small French restaurant even stayed open late because my friend and I had just arrived in Paris and had no idea of where to find food.

The city struck me as beautiful. Everything was so clean and manicured (my town by comparison was dirty, dusty and unkempt).

Paris destroyed my sense of exceptionalism.


That’s funny, because Paris in general is pretty dirty city compared to other European cities.


I grew up in a "blue" part, and visiting third world countries opened my eyes to, "maybe there is something we are doing right in the US".

(The exaggerated liberal perspective being, we're doing it all wrong & screwing everything up. The exaggerated conservative perspective being, we are perfect and changing anything risks ruining everything)


You may do many things right in the US, except the fact that you still rank the countries into first, second and third!


I somehow had the opposite effect too. I grew up in Eastern Europe, and people told me Paris is beautiful, but not necessarily more beautiful than, say New York City, or other western big cities. Well, once I visited Paris, I loved it so much, that I can't find any other city that compares with it.


If you think Paris is clean, you'd probably get Tokyo syndrome if you visit there.


So clean and manicured? I am not sure what part of Paris you were in, but having lived in France for 4 years, “clean and manicured” is about the opposite of what reality is. Dog shit on side walks, people urinating in public, cars parking on sidewalks, crowded, often un-air conditioned subway trains packed with sweaty people, dingy hotel rooms, trash piled up on sidewalks, rats traveling in packs, pickpockets, prevail any graffiti.. Paris is a spectacular city with some incredible beauty, but “clean and manicured,” is a stretch outside of the marquee parks and well scrubbed tourist sites.

As far as your good experience with a restaurant, those experiences certainly happen, but try going into a bank five minutes before lunch. Or try to enter a grocery store 10 minutes before closing.. or even many restaurants; your experience was a pleasant exception, but let’s be careful not to judge a city based on a single happy experience — I would be willing to bet in your “red” area of the United States, visitors could argue similar instances of unexpected kindnesses. Humanity is generally good, but we always see the grass as being greener.. Also comparing a world class tourist city to your town is a bit unfair, plenty of blight all over France. Travel 30 minutes north of Paris and it looks like a third world country in many places. But on the French: they can be kind and inviting, no question, but for a real treat, travel to the south of France.

Zürich on the other hand is very clean, very orderly, very manicured. Vienna as well.


What you describe in the first paragraph accurately describes Beverly Hills. American cities are not spectacular, so with an American perspective, Paris is a big step up.


>American cities are not spectacular

Beverly Hills isn't a "city". NYC isn't spectacular?

> Paris is a big step up.

I didn't feel it was a big step up from NYC - especially given the hype that paris has.


> I grew up in a very “red” part of the US and was given a very negative view of the French (or anyone else for that matter).

Why make it political? What does "red" have to do with it. American exceptionalism is an national traditional. Do you think all the movies and tv shows making fun of the french came from a very "red" part of the US? Last I check NY and LA weren't very "red".

> The city struck me as beautiful. Everything was so clean and manicured (my town by comparison was dirty, dusty and unkempt).

Are you sure it was paris and not another european city you were in? Parts of Paris is beautiful for sure, but I've never heard anyone describe it as "so clean and manicured". At least those aren't the words I'd use to describe Paris having visited it.

> (my town by comparison was dirty, dusty and unkempt). Paris destroyed my sense of exceptionalism.

If you were from a small town in a very "red" part of the US, any medium sized city anywhere would have cured you of your sense of exceptionalism.


I've lived in a few big cities but Paris definitely is very different to the others. There are moments when it's like the depictions in the films: quiet boulevards lined with Haussmann apartments sitting ontop of quaint boulangeries. I think this is why it's such a shock when you're faced with the rest of it which is dirty, smelly, noisy, home to 10 million people filled with scam artists and impatient Parisians.


Paris reminds me a lot of San Francisco. Both have world class neighborhoods but also areas that are pretty awful (homelessness, crime, trash, etc.) Personally I find Paris very similar to navigate. The not-do-good parts do not seem much different from the Tenderloin in SF and require the same attention to surroundings.


I’ve also lived in SF and believe me, the problem is entirely different. It’s just a different scale.

We’re not talking about having « diverse neighborhoods » or « sketchy neighborhoods » ( it’s part of the fun of living in a big city). Actually i’ve lived a huge part of my life in those neighborhoods, and criminality isn’t such a big problem (although things are very very different if you’re a girl).

The most pressing matter for the country is the cultural gap between very large parts of the whole french population (not just a district or a city).

The country is currently facing an identity crisis and the fact that overtly racists political parties are close to winning every election should be a sign that something’s going really bad there.

Unfortunately the debate is completely crippled by people who refuse to address the issue like grown ups ( either by calling everyone a racist, or by actually being racist)


I thought the people in Paris were surprisingly nice. (I speak a bit of French, and in my experience people were very friendly if you at least tried to communicate in French to begin with.) That said, Parisian bathrooms give me nightmares. The only place outside of Bangladesh where I’ve seen squat toilets.


You may find squat toilets along the autoroute in resting areas without restaurants and gas station, and maybe at some campings, but I've never seen any in a bar or restaurant, let alone a hotel.


> I thought the people in Paris were surprisingly nice.

I've had extremes. Either very rude, or unreasonably nice and friendly. Paris has 10 million people around, so there must be some very good people. But the average guy you'll hit on the street is probably going to be a mediocre experience.


Squat toilets permit a straighter path for stool to pass through: https://stat.ameba.jp/user_images/20180115/02/r-m-hiro/8f/e2...

Here is a study that confirms this: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12870773

Did Parisians continue speaking to you in French? I found that they immediately switched to English when I spoke French to them. I'm level B1, what level would you say you are/how many years of instruction have you got?


> Did Parisians continue speaking to you in French? I found that they immediately switched to English when I spoke French to them.

I've found this to be the case too. But their English is almost always better than my French. I've found that attempting French does produce a much more friendly response than just going in an speaking English loudly.


let’s be honest. Paris center is really great, but all the rest is trash by any standard (not even the japanese one).

And i’m not even talking about suburbs, which people coming from the airport must go through. People are absolutely not what you’d expect french to look like ( and i’m not talking about size), public transport are a total trash, working only half the time correctly.. Restrooms makes us look like a third world country, etc.

I could go on and on , but i’ll just sum it up with one anecdote : i spent a month in japan, and this is the first time in my life i felt ashamed of the way we treat tourists in Paris. Food in touristic places is garbage, people are generally rude, etc etc..

My advice if you want to visit paris : rent something nice in the center, and take a cab straight from the aiport, and make the ride by night.


I think you're being downvoted for having a negative viewpoint, but what you said is very accurate. I'm not French, but I've spent some time in France and loved it. France is a gorgeous country and people were generally friendly and welcoming, Paris is the exception. There are parts of Paris which are nice, but a significant chunk of the city is exceptionally dreary (partly due to architectural design, heavy use of brutalism, etc), dirty, and many people I encountered in Paris were very rude to me, even before I opened my mouth.

I've traveled all over the world, Paris is not anywhere near that bad compared to many places I've been, and generally I enjoy most places I spend time in because there's something positive to be found everywhere. But I wanted to reinforce your viewpoint, because it is not inaccurate, even though I find it to be somewhat one-sided. I don't believe sharing this deserves downvotes, especially in the context of the link.


[flagged]


I’m guessing that you didn’t read the Wikipedia article. Here’s the direct quote pertaining to appearance.

“Renoux indicates that Japanese media, magazines in particular, often depict Paris as a place where most people on the street look like "stick-thin" models and most women dress in high fashion brands such as Louis Vuitton.”

Your personal biases made you assume the previous commenter strictly implied race/color.


> and i’m not talking about size

Was what OP said, so I think it’s reasonable to assume they weren’t talking about size.


No, it was speculation the downvoters assumed that.

By the way, why do you assume bsaul read the article then?

(I'm not saying bsaul didn't, but you are assuming bsaul did and ivanbakel didn't read the article.)


Which part is the racist dogwhistle?


"People are absolutely not what you’d expect french to look like ( and i’m not talking about size)"

What would you "expect" the French to look like, that they do not look like in Paris (while cities in Europe are all much more non-white than the countryside, which for the commenter does not have the same problem)? This is a dogwhistle.


Frankly, you are reading subtexts in the original post that are clearly not there. The sensible interpretation is that Parisians don't look like the stereotype that non-French have: https://www.google.com/search?q=stereotypical+frenchman&tbm=...


That interpretation would only make sense, charitably, if OP for whatever reason thought that people look like those images anywhere else in France (unless you're joking, and I'm missing out on the irony).


This is a slightly ridiculous position if it is taken genuinely - just look at the other comments in this thread complaining about "melting pots" and "cultural erasure".

More to the point - dogwhistles are meant to give subtexts with plausible deniability. That you can find an alternative meaning for them is precisely their intent. It is not a compelling argument to claim that the original commenter was, in fact, innocent - you should instead be able to absolve them beyond all doubt.

And clearly that isn't possible here.


I have a fantasy of Paris as a city of beautiful, elegant people, effortlessly fashionable who walk from outdoor cafe to outdoor cafe where they order espresso and croissants while carrying baguettes under their arms. So when I read the original comment, that (admittedly childish) impression came to mind.

The fact that other people immediate jumped to "melting pots" and "cultural erasure" doesn't indicate that that's what the original comment was referring to.

> More to the point - dogwhistles are meant to give subtexts with plausible deniability. That you can find an alternative meaning for them is precisely their intent.

Human communication is difficult. The original comment wasn't specific and so it acted as a rorschach test. It isn't possible to know what the original poster meant without asking.

> It is not a compelling argument to claim that the original commenter was, in fact, innocent - you should instead be able to absolve them beyond all doubt.

No. It isn't possible to "absolve someone of all doubt" when the accusation is "vague racist dog whistle". You have to deal with uncertainty in these situations and your inability to do that, to understand that the meaning of a sentence as intended by the author is almost always partially undefined and open to interpretation, is seriously disturbing.


> I have a fantasy of Paris as a city of beautiful, elegant people, effortlessly fashionable who walk from outdoor cafe to outdoor cafe where they order espresso and croissants while carrying baguettes under their arms. So when I read the original comment, that (admittedly childish) impression came to mind.

The linked article says:

> Renoux indicates that Japanese media, magazines in particular, often depict Paris as a place where most people on the street look like "stick-thin" models and most women dress in high fashion brands such as Louis Vuitton.

So when OP said he wasn’t talking about size, presumably in reference to that, I read it as a dog whistle too. Especially given the whole “great replacement” conspiracy out there and Trump’s “Paris isn’t Paris anymore.” The whole point of a dog whistle is plausible deniability though, so who knows for sure.


> cities in Europe are all much more non-white than the countryside, which for the commenter does not have the same problem

Interesting. I have not been to Europe so did not have that context, but thank you very much for explaining.


[flagged]


Nobody forced the French to colonize a significant portion of the world, by the way.


[flagged]


In Berlin. A great city: fast, honest, poor & sexy.

Stay away.


[flagged]


All those people of Algerian descent surely aren't there by chance.


I could be wrong, but it is my understanding that it was a deliberate policy of the French government after WW2 to invite them in. It is also natural that French-speaking people of the world would prefer to migrate to France.

But if French governments wanted to limit migration from Algeria or elsewhere, they could have done so. It was certainly not an inevitable consequence of colonialism.


They were brought in as guest workers. French governments tried to restrict or revert immigration a few times (in the seventies I think) but it did not work.

And now, in Brest, deep down (or west) into Breton (Celt) territory, we have a radical Sunni mosque. And woke Americans lecturing me about it's supposedly a great thing.


French is very much not a race, and France was very much forged in a melting pot, celts, romans, franks, vikings (the latter both germanic but not exactly the same) etc etc.


It's extremely odd that you assume it's Americans who would be the only ones to call out a racist dogwhistle, when some of the most "progressive" countries in the world are in Europe. I'm skeptical of the idea that a French person is necessarily white - nationality, race, ethnicity and citizenship can (and many times are) not all the same, yet "French" can refer to any one or more of them.


[flagged]


French, Chinese and Nigerian are nationalities, not races. If you think China is ethnically homogeneous, you're quite wrong. Just look at a linguistic map: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/55/China_li... The government does classify 90% of the population as a single group "Han", but that's partially a political move to discourage local separatism. Despite increased mixture between regions since the introduction of faster transportation, cultural differences are still visible, such as northerners eating more noodles, while southerners eat more rice.


> northerners eating more noodles, while southerners eat more rice.

You don't have to look that closely to find diversity in Paris.


I'm not an American, but I think that France should be a melting pot because of its colonial history.

Many immigrants in Paris who "don't look French" are from former colonies that still speak French to some extent. Keeping Paris white would be denying part of France's history.


I didn’t realise it, but it must be “and i’m not talking about size”. I thought he meant they are just ugly, the French.


[flagged]


I know what you mean. Gallia Celtica has been ruined by all these Franks with their funny foreign ways. Gallia Celtica for the Celts, that's what I say.

Nobody forced France to colonise half of Africa.


[flagged]


It is not racism or xenophobia to want to preserve what is good about a nation's culture, and limit the import of other nations' and culture's problems.

Could you please answer the following questions:

1. Is there a limit at which you believe mass migration into France would be undesirable?

2. If you believe that there is such a limit; what would a legitimate movement to argue for limiting mass migration look like, such that you would not be accusing them of xenophobia and racism? How would their arguments differ from core-questions'?


>1. Is there a limit at which you believe mass migration into France would be undesirable?

Too much mass immigration to anywhere would be undesirable, but for economic and population density reasons. I am skeptical of the idea of the idea that culture is fixed and immutable.

> what would a legitimate movement to argue for limiting mass migration look like

It would exist in a time where mass immigration is causing the problems I mentioned above.


> Too much mass immigration to anywhere would be undesirable, but for economic and population density reasons. I am skeptical of the idea of the idea that culture is fixed and immutable.

There is clearly more to it than just economic and population density reasons. Culture matters. Consider, for example, that female genital mutilation is now a European problem. Or that Europe today has de facto implemented Islamic blasphemy laws - where people are afraid to criticize Islam publicly for fear of being murdered. Or that the number of rapes has gone up significantly in Sweden, with more than 80% of rape assaults being carried out by foreign-born individuals? (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rape_in_Sweden) Or that 52% of British muslims believe that homosexuality should be illegal, and that close to half of British muslims believe that wives should always obey their husbands? (https://www.ipsos.com/sites/default/files/ct/publication/doc...)

So mass immigration can clearly change society for the worse outside of simply economic and population density reasons.


You may wish to reflect for a moment on why Africa has 430 million French speakers.


> So mass immigration can clearly change society for the worse outside of simply economic and population density reasons.

But it can also change for the better.

His point is that culture is not fixed and immutable. Whether it changes for better or worse depends on circumstances.


But suppose that it is perceived by the public that the net benefit from mass immigration is negative. How should they organize into a political movement or even voice their concerns, such that they do not get accused of being racist, xenophobic, populist, fascist, far-right?


> Too much mass immigration to anywhere would be undesirable, but for economic and population density reasons.

This seems like a very... austere, perhaps even autistic lens to use on the problem. It sounds like if we were just able to pack people in as perfectly as possible, like apples in a box, and somehow still maintain an average tax profitability from them, you'd be okay with whatever was happening inside the apple box.

Clearly that's a mis-characterization of you or any other reasonable person's viewpoint. The welfare of individuals, their life experience, their safety, their freedom, their ability to express themselves and find their niche... all of this matters.

> I am skeptical of the idea of the idea that culture is fixed and immutable.

Of course not. However, it moves slowly! There's a viscosity to it, and part of that resistance to change is something like an implicit Chesterton's Fence:

> Chesterton's fence is the principle that reforms should not be made until the reasoning behind the existing state of affairs is understood.

Just because you _can_ change a culture (in this case by force, by changing the cultural makeup of a region, often by fiat) does not mean that it is a moral act, or that the result you get out the other side is some predictable good. It is too complicated, too reactionary, too slippery of a concept to deal with in any way other than the purely speculative. Trends don't always continue - and conversely, pretending a trend or other demographic factor doesn't exist can be just as bad. There are far too many inconvenient truths to learn that illustrate the fallibility of humanity in every form, _particularly_ in terms of how we collectively get along with one another.

> It would exist in a time where mass immigration is causing the problems I mentioned above.

A compelling argument that this is already the case is being made by many. The solution thus far has been to remove them from the public square so we can go on pretending there are no problems.


> The solution thus far has been to remove them from the public square so we can go on pretending there are no problems.

Clearly, this is what is happening with your contributions to this discussion. No matter how carefully written, your original contribution is nowhere to be found now. This only goes to show that these matters can not be debated.


>I am skeptical of the idea of the idea that culture is fixed and immutable.

It's absolutely not fixed and immutable. That's what this whole discussion is about: whether there should be policies directed at preserving culture as it exists.

>It would exist in a time where mass immigration is causing the problems I mentioned above.

That the Far Right has gained power in Germany, Austria, Poland, Hungary, Italy, etc etc (not to mention the US) today is all the evidence I need that we live in that time already.


No one is saying that culture is fixed and immutable. If you put X million people of <Y> origin somewhere, you'll end up with <Y> culture there.

That's precisely the problem.

Do you support mass immigration of European or Chinese people to Africa until population density becomes a problem?


There was a HN discussion here recently which made me realise, not even Japan is without racism. There is racism there towards all kinds of people, those with family trees originating in the ancient lower caste, people with Korean heritage, the ainu, and most of all, towards people who are visibly different.


This should not be a surprise to anyone who's well travelled. In fact, the least racist countries on Earth are in North America, where it is talked about the most.


Please leave your hatred for Israel out of this. Israel is extremely multicultural. All signs are officially in three languages. The population is 20% Arabic, and 60% of the Jews there come from all over the middle east and Africa.


Please leave your artificial, unfounded judgement calls about "hatred for Israel" out of this. I do not hate Israel, I just recognize it as an ethnic state that is for and by the Israeli people; while others may live there, it is clear from reading any major publication from the region that it is a regieme that operates in its own interests.

I have no issue with that. In fact, I like it so much I'd like to adopt the idea.


Israel didn't seem very welcoming of multiculturalism when they tricked Ethiopian Jewish women into being sterilized in order to keep their numbers down. Apparently some cultures in Israeli multiculturalism are more equal than others.


The Waffen SS was also extremely multicultural. It had units of fighters from Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Hungary, India, Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.


This is a thread about Paris, yet all you rabid haters, who are obsessed with hating Israel, made it about Israel.

@dang -- remove these evil people from Hacker News


No hate here. No obsession with Israel. I support their right to be an ethno-nationalist state. I just don't deny that's what they're doing, which seems to be an approach too many people take.


Is there a condition not listed as a recognised condition in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders for seeing racist dog whistles everywhere? Wokeness comes to mind.


I'm not the person you're replying to, but I can't imagine what else, other than race, "People are absolutely not what you’d expect french to look like ( and i’m not talking about size)" refers to exactly. Misuse of the term does not preclude the actual presence elsewhere.


I assumed that comment had to do with fashion (or attractiveness).

It could be referring to race, but the fact that you "can't imagine" what else it could refer to says a lot about you and nothing at all about the original poster.


Because the only two characteristics Parisian people have are size and race?

The very Wikipedia article we happen to be discussing contains "...Renoux indicates that Japanese media, magazines in particular, often depict Paris as a place where most people on the street look like "stick-thin" models and most women dress in high fashion brands such as Louis Vuitton...".


And OP themselves excluded "size". So I guess they are upset that people don't dress up. A'right.


Are you familiar with the concept of euphemism and dog whistles? Please tell me what visual (since OP mentioned how Parisians "look") characteristic you presumed OP had in mind.


One of the big stereotypes of Paris is fashion and high society. My assumption was that he was saying people are dressed like slobs, that there's a lot of evidence of poverty, and people don't hold themselves in a manner someone with an idealistic view of Paris and Parisians would imagine.

Having been to Paris myself, all of these are true.


Duly addressed in my edit above.

Are you familiar with the concept of confirmation bias? Look hard enough for something and you'll see it ... whether it's there or not.


I saw it as well, before reading the comment pointing it out.

Therefore, there is some sort of signal that we're picking up on. That signal, almost by definition, is the aforementioned dogwhistle.

It isn't quite the right tone to not be somewhat obvious. Since it is intentional, it doesn't matter "how bad" it was: It's the conscious attempt to insult/denigrate/hurt that itself becomes the problem.


There's no way you can know it was a conscious attempt to do anything. The most one can say is that it's a value judgement about Parisians now versus then - and there's nothing wrong with saying something about that.


Simply pointing out that an iconic city in EUROPE has a large amount of non-Europeans is a dogwhistle? Parisian culture is all but dead and it’s a tragedy.


There's an easy solution to this, of course, which is to simply pretend there was never any such thing as Parisian culture, or alternately, rebrand it as inherently evil and worthy of destruction. Isn't Paris so much cleaner, safer, and better now that all of the oppression of the past is over?


Wow...

At the point where you're professing sadness for Paris' dead culture in reference to the immigrant population, it's no longer a dogwhistle. It's just blatantly obvious standard-issue racism.

Also most of the people in the Banlieus are third-generation French. Thinking of them as "non-Europeans" is another big fat racist standard. And also part of the reason these people are having a difficult time succeeding in France.


Cultures die all the time, and it's usually due to a number of factors - one of them of course being immigration. Pointing this out is not racist. It's a statement of fact, with plenty of history to boot.

>It's just blatantly obvious standard-issue racism.

No, it isn't. There have been entire neighborhoods in e.g. Harlem that have been gentrified out of their cultural heritage. Is lamenting that fact racist? I for one think it's sad, that a culture that was distinctly black is now gone forever - and it's not racist to say this. Now, Harlem is likely a bad example because it's a place in America, where we are supposed to be a melting pot and this kind of thing happens all the time. I don't have enough experience in Europe to give a more pertinent example, but again I still don't think it's at all bad to lament the fact that there's been some cultural turnover - especially when it happens on a very short timeline. That seems perfectly normal.


>At the point where you're professing sadness for Paris' dead culture in reference to the immigrant population, it's no longer a dogwhistle. It's just blatantly obvious standard-issue racism.

There is nothing racist in saying that importing vast numbers of people from a different culture into another will radically change the culture native to that area. Quite the contrary, it's absolute fantasy to try and pretend it does not.

I understand that the concept may be completely foreign to someone who has grown up in modern America, but it's a rising issue amongst Europeans to the extent that the EU has created a position titled "VP for Protecting Our European Way of Life" in the midst of Europeans getting continually more aggrieved over the cultural changes happening with mass migration and worse - the cultural changes expected of them to facilitate that mass migration.

If we can't get past the hand-wringing and proclamations of "racist!" every time someone infers anything remotely negative about immigration, especially mass migration as Europe has encountered, then I can guarantee you there are very dark times ahead.

There are positives and negatives to migration, to bang the drums happily when discussing the positives and then sticking one's fingers in one's ears, closing one's eyes and lashing out when the negatives are brought up is a very dangerous game to play, and that is on any topic, not constrained to migration.


Not just pointing it out, but putting it in a list of extreme negatives to the city.


Japan is a fairly ethnically and culturally homogeneous country. It is natural that they would expect Parisians to look and behave a certain way. When they don't, it is of course a big negative to many visitors - they come to Paris expecting a certain look and feel, a certain atmosphere and culture, but they are getting something else.

You do not need to be from Japan to feel that way when visiting Paris either. And I do not see anything wrong with pointing that out.


Here's how it sounds if worded more frankly: "Paris sucks. The transport sucks, bathrooms suck, food sucks, everyone's rude, and there's lots of immigrants."


Completely agree. I've been to both Paris and Tokyo in the past year. In Paris we took extreme precautions with our belongings and we still got pickpocket attempts on the subway (fortunately none successful). In Tokyo of course we just took zero precautions because crime against tourists is virtually unheard-of (with the possible exception of Roppongi after dark, where the level of caution you need is still 1/10 that of any neighborhood of Paris.) I'm very sad about how stressed I felt on my last trip to Paris and how unfriendly it seems now. I'll probably never go back.


tokyo is definitely one of the best cities in the world. i can only think of sidney as a competitor in quality of life. no european city comes close.


Osaka has a lot to be said for it too. It has as much culture as Tokyo but the pace and energy are dialed back a bit. There are also fewer English speakers and the signage doesn't use as much Romaji, so your Japanese skills need to be a little sharper.


I'm french and indeed I would not recommend someone to go to Paris. There are much nicer cities here (Bordeaux, Montpellier, are some examples.)

Also: send your tourists to San Francisco, we have even lower standards here :D


I really like Montpellier, but just like with Paris (on a much, much smaller scale of course), the center is really nice, but not so much for the rest of the city.

I think that's the case with most French cities. Nice centers but the surroundings are average at best. An exception would be Marseille, it is filthy even in the center ;).


Yeah that's pretty much the design of French cities (and maybe European cities to an extent). The center is great, around the center is meh, suburbs are to be avoided. Very different from the typical American city.


Have you ever been to Los Angeles? I love it but it is pretty gritty. Poke around with street view. Paris is a utopia in comparison--the metro map looks like a kid scribbled with crayons there are so many lines. American standards are pretty low.


I'd seen this Paris syndrome thing a number of times before visiting over the past year. It set my expectations low enough that it paradoxically helped make my visit a delight.

People were delightful. Streets were clean enough. The subway system was older but functional and fine. It felt like any large city that wasn't built in the past 20 years (e.g. Shanghai) and has history and a broad demographic. It had the gritty underside of any large, bustling city, and many of the faults I could equally apply to London, NYC, and other major cities.

Loved it. Plan on going again. I never felt unsafe or uncomfortable, and was always in awe of the beauty and history.


Potentially Paris current mayor wants to turn the city into a mostly car free place. That might change a lot of the mentality. Let's review this syndrome in ~2025.

As other people say, medium sized cities are gentler, and countryside is friendlier.

e.g: was lost in a small town, and after roaming around in front of some tiny store, the cashier came out proposing to help me. I didn't even try to ask her from outside, she naturally took the initiative.


What do visitors expect Paris to be like? What do they find instead? The article is missing this critical piece of information.


I guess it's expected to be self-evident.

Expectation of Paris: "the city of light", "the city of love", the home of iconic structures such as the Eiffel Tower, home of fashion, moulin rouge

Reality of Paris: construction, traffic, fences, security, getting scammed on the street... a normal city


But the food is pretty great.


> Many of the visitors come with a deeply romantic vision of Paris - the cobbled streets, as seen in the film Amelie, the beauty of French women or the high culture and art at the Louvre.

> The reality can come as a shock.

> An encounter with a rude taxi driver, or a Parisian waiter who shouts at customers who cannot speak fluent French, might be laughed off by those from other Western cultures.

> But for the Japanese - used to a more polite and helpful society in which voices are rarely raised in anger - the experience of their dream city turning into a nightmare can simply be too much.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/6197921.stm



> 20 per cent of people living in the city of Paris are immigrants and 41.3 per cent of people under 20 have at least one immigrant parent.

Wow - that's a very fast demographic change.


Capitals tend to attrack most inmigration. As an anecdote, my son's primary class in Madrid had more than a third of inmigrant parents, including Russia, Iran, South America (most) and Morocco.

The question, at least for me, is not where you come from, but how well can you integrate. Latins have it easier because we share the language.


Not all capitals - it is a question of policy. Tokyo, for instance, seems to be very different.


Interesting. So in Japan people inmigrate more uniformly?

In Spain is just a matter of opportunities. It's easier to find a job in big cities.


Japan has very little immigration when compared to other countries. In 2015 ~2% of the population was from immigrants. The USA for comparison, has a 14.5% rate (+/- a few tenths, I'm pulling that from memory.)


Nah, as far as I know there is no such policy:

https://www.nippon.com/en/japan-data/h00398/the-changing-fac...


12% in the most foreign-populated area still seems very low by European standards. Given that a lot of the foreigners are Chinese and Korean, to the European eye it looks even more homogeneous than that.

Seine-Saint-Denis, for comparison, had 27% residents born outside Metropolitan France, and that was in 1999. Marseille is 25% muslim.


- "Capitals tend to attrack [sic] most inmigration."

- "Not all capitals - it is a question of policy."

- "Interesting. So in Japan people inmigrate [sic] more uniformly?"

... then you don't answer but proceed to compare capitals of the world to each other. I thought we were comparing countryside immigration to capitals vs to the rest of the country. Not between countries.


But narag was talking about immigration between countries: "...had more than a third of inmigrant parents, including Russia, Iran, South America (most) and Morocco". I understood narag's point as "that's a fast demographic change, but inevitable in any modern large capital city, as capitals tend to attract immigration".

My counterpoint was that there is nothing inevitable about it, and that it is a policy choice. Tokyo is a very large, very modern city with a massive economy, yet it has a very modest foreign population and is recognizably Japanese almost everywhere you go (which results in being really safe even at night, almost completely litter-free, and certainly a great experience of Japan for a visiting tourist).


A misunderstanding then. I just meant the difference between big cities and the rest, similar to Paris/rest of France.

The difference you meant was between Spain and Japan. Only 14 km of sea separate our mainland from Africa, with little boats full of desperate people crossing every day. Also we have two towns in continental Africa with land borders with Morocco where border barriers are sometimes just rammed.

But that's just the most dramatic side of it. Most immigrants simply cross the borders as tourists and stay for work. I guess Japan is a little different.

FWIW, Madrid is very safe at night. Only a few neighborhoods, far from downtown, are dangerous.

Edit: immigrant, note taken. Inmigrante in Spanish.


It specifically says towards the bottom that in Japanese magazines, they depict Paris as being filled with people so thin they look like stick figures and that only wear high class fashion.


Idk about high class fashion, but I thought everyone in Paris dressed surprisingly nice. Scarves everywhere lol. Even people wearing sweatpants seemed put together with planned outfits.


Paris is a big city, that's all. The Eiffel Tower and Moulin Rouge are not among the most interesting things to see in Paris. People are not like in a Disney movie.


I'm surprised no-one so far in the comments mentioned the smell of piss in the streets - has that changed? Seems like it must have. I was there in the mid 80s.

I loved it. Particularly amazing melt-in-your-mouth croissants for breakfast and delicious huge (almost apple-sized) strawberries bought by the kilo. And the art and architecture, of course.


Happened to me too, once! I remember passing by the Moulin Rouge, which I imagined like this:

https://cdn.civitatis.com/francia/paris/entradas-moulin-roug...

But instead I saw something like this:

https://dimg02.c-ctrip.com/images/100k1900000162nrc547D_Z_64...

(Plus dirt, bad smell, etc.)

But in general, Paris is a beautiful city with many really nice places. Can be very inspiring for a short stay.


Who can blame them. Apart from the very center of Paris (that makes up maybe 10% of the city) with the old town and museums and cafes Paris is a very ugly city.


You clearly don’t know Paris.


I've had this reaction to working in some large corporations

I went in thinking it would be just amazing and expecting an exemplary brand experience only to land in HR hell with some dirty scoundrel managers and rampant corruption all through the ranks compounded by lame duck self-dealing executives

I eventually had to be airlifted out after a bad reaction similar to a psychotic break

People it doesn't have to be this way!


Paris has some iconic landmarks but other than that I find it's a very unpleasant and ugly city.

If you want to see a beautiful imperial and romantic type of city go to Vienna.


Paris syndrome is fake news :

https://web.archive.org/web/20110719120910/http://www.aphp.f...

"No, because if these people looked good in their own skin, it was only an appearance. Indeed, they already had slight mood disorders, or a general malaise, but which remained unexplained or unconscious. "During the consultation, there is often a history that goes unnoticed, which neither the patient nor those around him or her have been aware of. At that time, these people were somehow predisposed to psychic decompensation," explains Dr. Mahmoudia. And all it takes is a triggering factor for the pathology to reveal itself. Also, being in an unfamiliar environment can lead to a distressing experience and reveal certain disorders. However, the journey is not the only revelation. "The same type of disorder can also occur at home, following a completely different traumatic event such as the loss of a job, a break-up with a loved one, or an assault," adds Dr. Mahmoudia. But in the context of a trip, what would have been a "banal" depression takes on a much more dramatic expression.

In a second case, rare and more serious, the trip is part of the patient's delirium, it is part of a pre-existing psychiatric pathology. It is then described as a "pathological journey". Dr. Mahmoudia remembers this Japanese woman brought to the emergency room for behavioural disorders. "From Tokyo she said she heard the voice of the Virgin Mary begging her to come in front of the Notre-Dame de Paris church. In such a situation, the patient obeys the orders of a voice that he hears, but which is hallucinatory in nature and actually belongs to his own delirium. In other situations, the journey becomes an escape, a survival instinct. "Some patients have only one idea in mind: to flee at all costs from the haunting voice that persecutes them and prevents them from sleeping. Travel can therefore be a symptom, among others, of a pathology that is already known. "The journey then becomes part of a delirious process that belongs to the patient's psychiatric picture," concludes Dr. Mahmoudia.

These two situations are different. In one case, the journey is part of the patient's delirium, in the other, it is the triggering event of his pathology. But in both situations, Dr. Mahmoudia prefers to speak of pathological travel or travel-related psychopathology, rather than traveller's syndrome. The latter term is used incorrectly, as it originally defines a completely different situation. Also called "Stendhal syndrome", the traveller's syndrome is actually a state of ecstasy accompanied by a strong emotional charge when in contact with a work of art. This experience remains quite rare and affects the most sensitive souls. Their heart accelerates, they are taken by vertigo, they suffocate. And then they quickly come to their senses. This emotion is not a real psychological disorder and therefore does not lead to any particular treatment. It was Graziella Magherini, a Florentine psychiatrist who, in 1990, described for the first time this surprising syndrome linked to travelling in art cities. Surprised to receive emotionally shocked tourists, she wondered about the effects of an artistic overdose. She then made a link with Stendhal's travel diaries, which in 1817, on leaving the church of Santa Croce in Florence, reported: "I had arrived at that point of emotion where the heavenly sensations given by the Fine Arts and passionate feelings meet. On leaving Santa Croce, I had a heartbeat, life was exhausted at home, I walked with the fear of falling". These are certainly moving words, but they are not comparable to the emergency cases that Dr. Mahmoudia is able to meet in his consultation."


There is a similar Japan syndrome in NEETs and weebs who spend years obsessing over how amazing living in Japan would be and who then finally move there and realize it isn't as it is depicted in their anime and porn and on their imageboard


[flagged]


What's wrong with this video? For context, I've lived in Paris for 28 years (left 2 years ago), and I just love the haussmannien architecture. Even in this video, you can see quite a few buildings like that, each more extremely elegant than the next. Is this video supposed to be a negative take on Paris? I didn't get why he showed the ongoing manifestation at the end.

EDIT: OK I read the description of the video, what a disgusting human being. He's making the point that no "French" (for the person in question, that apparently means "white") people is left in Paris.


I was watching this video trying to understand what was wrong with it, then I read the description:

> For those who are confused by the point of this video, the point is that France is changing forever due to mass immigration. The people in this video were not speaking French, the women were not wearing their hair in French Braids, they had their head scarves on. When I was driving from the airport I saw people being fed from volunteer aid vans in the Syrian zones and coming up to your cars with signs in Arabic. The posters on the walls and the protesters yelled refugees welcome. Much of what you are looking at is not legal or proper migration and assimilation. France will not be France for long.

what a bunch of bigotry.


> Not to put too fine a point, but is this the Paris you've encountered?

It's absolutely part of it. I actually have no idea what your fine point is. Please spell it out for me.

> Do you expect others who've visited Paris to come away with quite a different perception, even being in the same places you were in or objectively no?

I don't think this is an objective conversation. I don't understand how someone couldn't have appreciated the things I did, that's all.


That's close to my experiences in some areas, and it's really nice? Wonderful and diverse food, folks walking around, it's really nice.


The 18th Arrondissement looks like the 18th Arrondissement. I am not exactly shocked. Paris is rather busy with being Paris; if it doesn't meet your expectations, that's very much your problem.


Except this kind of video could be shot in every suburb in the northern half of Paris.

You may want to say it’s perfectly « normal », because that’s actually what the situation is now indeed. But for every single tourist i know, as well as for every people that has known Paris before the 1980s , it comes as a great surprise.


Could you tell me what you think the “surprise” is, exactly? I don’t quite get it, I need you to explicitly say what you mean.


i’m afraid you’ll have to ask your asian friends visiting the country for the first time after they took the RER from the airport to Paris (but you’ll have to make them feel like they won’t get sued for giving their impression, first)


You're still doing exactly what I asked you not to do. What exactly is the "great surprise" that you mentioned? What exactly is it that you think my "asian friends" are going to see? Come on, spit it out, have the courage to own your opinions. And if it turns out that your opinion is something that would get you banned from HN for sharing, then maybe you should consider refraining from invoking that opinion via dog whistles and thinly veiled insinuations too.


If you’re truely interested in my opinion on the situation in france just read my other comments in the thread.

But somehow i doubt you are. Your tone seem to suggest you’re rather the kind of person eager to call anyone a racist every time cultural gaps or even identity in general is mentioned. I’m not sure you realize it, but you’re the exact mirror image of people from the extreme right that blame race for every trouble in the country.


I’m not eager to call you a racist, I’m eager for you to stop being racist on HN.


Not all of Paris is like that. Those that can afford to tend to move out from such areas, resulting in a fairly segregated city. The politicians responsible tend to not live in such areas either.


Not just the politicians. The very people commenting that it's a great thing with "great food" (surprisingly the most common argument) don't live there either.


Not all of Paris is like what?


Has a very large proportion of people that immigrated into France within 1-2 generations from outside Europe, mostly North Africa.




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