There’s an actual medical condition associated with the trauma first-time travellers to the city face when finding out Paris isn’t as they expected it to be – it’s called Paris Syndrome.
According to an October 2011 report in the US-based news website The Atlantic, the condition manifests differently in different people, but some of the most common symptoms are acute delusions, hallucinations, dizziness, sweating, and feelings of persecution. The psychological tailspin it creates has even, on rare occasion, led to patients being flown back to their countries under medical supervision.
This letdown isn’t unique to Paris – you might have felt it when travelling elsewhere, and in some ways, the sensation is not surprising. Often, our impressions of a place are formed from literature, movies, and heavily filtered pictures on social media networks. So, when we thrust our expectations on a destination, without accounting for all its flaws and sketchy nooks and crannies, we end up getting disappointed and bewildered.
But we can overcome travel disappointment. According to a 2013 study in the Journal of Travel Research, which surveyed over three dozen travellers from the US and the Netherlands, vacationers feel worst at the beginning and the end of their trips – and the best during the middle 60 per cent.
It might take a little mindset adjustment and recalibration to stop focusing on how we think a destination is supposed to be, and to just enjoy it for what it truly is.