Antidote to "Paris Syndrome": Garbage in the Seine

Paris Plages, the beach along the Seine River.

When Mariette, who runs a small B&B in Paris, first told me about "Paris Syndrome", I was rather skeptical. After all, it's hard to believe that anyone could have such a highly romanticized view of Paris that they would actually suffer from a psychological disorder when confronted with the less-than-perfect reality of the city. But apparently it happens on a fairly regular basis. Rumor has it that there's even a hotline for Japanese tourists, who are the most frequently afflicted by this transient disorder, to call at the Japanese Embassy if they find themselves suffering from any of the symptoms, such as thoughts of suicide, hallucinations, feelings of persecution, anxiety, dizziness, etc. And while I'm still not sure what is fact and what is myth, I plan to do more research when the city returns to normal in September.

In the meantime, I'm going to start doing my part to help dispel the misconception that everything is perfect in Paris. It isn't. There's a homeless guy living on a bench in front of my apartment, dog poo on the sidewalks, and most of the Parisian women don't dress like fashion models. Sure, I could only post pictures of the Eiffel Tower at sunset, couples gazing into each other's eyes at a cafe, and all of the other vignettes that francophiles adore.  But that would be doing the city and you a gross injustice, for as William Hazlitt said, "I like a friend better for having faults that one can talk about."

So, here's the first antidote to "Paris Syndrome". The two pictures in this post were taken during a walk along the Seine.  One shows what we expect to see, a picturesque view of Paris, in this case the Paris beach, while the other is of the less-than-beautiful side of the city, all of the garbage floating in the river. Part of a baguette, some wine bottles, plastic water bottles, a Lay's potato chip bag - the Seine has it all!

Click here to read more about Paris Syndrome at Wikipedia.

The thick soup of garbage floating on the surface of the Seine River.

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