TikTok's 'Paris Syndrome' Is Painting An Unflattering Portrait Of The Famous French City

Picture the perfect morning in Paris. You're in a dappled courtyard, sipping espresso and eating a croissant. Your beret sits jauntily upon your head, and your blue and white boatneck top slays. You mentally prepare for your day. First, there's a stop at the Louvre Museum, followed by a scooter ride around the Arc de Triomphe. Pause for a scrumptious lunch of croque monsieur. Inexplicably, you have a Louis Vuitton bag in your lap. Then, observe the River Seine as you stroll leisurely through the City of Light. Finish off the day with a dinner overlooking the Eiffel Tower. Heck, you might even meet the love of your life that evening. In Paris, anything's possible!

Sound familiar? Paris has been unfairly painted rose by heavy romanticization in movies, shows, and art. Tourists expect magic and are met with the horrors of reality. For those who've been to Paris, or who have been following the phenomenon known as "Paris syndrome," you'll know that this fantasy is a very inaccurate, long-mythologized scene of the famous city. In fact, some tourists have been so crushed by their disappointment in Paris that they've faced serious medical issues. And it's not just an exhaustion issue, like making the mistake of cramming too many activities into your Paris trip

"Paris Syndrome" is a disorder where the tourist is hit by a feeling of extreme disappointment when they realize that the city is nothing like their fantasy. According to the BBC, the affliction was first recognized by Japanese professor Hiroaki Ota in the 1980s. More recently, the term has hit TikTok, and @malfoy_drayco is chronicling "Paris Syndrome" in the most engaging way.

TikTok is exposing the disappointments of Paris

Because of how romanticized Paris is in media (think of films like "Amélie," "Ratatouille," or "Midnight in Paris"), tourists frequently arrive to the city with expectations of what their vacation is going to look like. This inevitably burst bubble — and subsequent depression — is called "Paris Syndrome," and TikToker @malfoy_drayco is showing everyone why they're wrong about the City of Light. Responding to a pinned comment that read, "A lot of people been saying Paris is overrated," Malfoy seemed shocked that people save money to come to Paris. "First of all, Paris stinks. It smells like piss, cheese, and armpits," he said. Malfoy went on to say that there was nothing to do except eat at cafes. "You will see a cafe on every corner because there's no activities here and the food is so mid," he said, adding that Paris looked "grimy." Malfoy even stressed that the nightclubs were boring — so boring, in fact, he pulled out a book!

Malfoy has become so great at stripping Paris of its romanticism that his Paris videos on TikTok have basically become a series. People were admitting to their own idyllic notions about the city. "Not what I expected of Paris," one wrote. Another recalled their own trip, saying: "I'm DEAD. I went in 2013 and I'm still traumatized." Clearly, people are resonating with Malfoy's documentation of the grim reality of Paris.

Is there a way to enjoy Paris without getting hit with 'Paris Syndrome'?

To give Paris a break, not everyone in the comments agreed with TikToker @malfoy_drayco and his assessment of the city. "Paris was amazing when I went....just like everywhere else, research and find things to do before you get there. The Louvre was awesome," someone commented. There are ways to approach Paris without getting crushed by "Paris Syndrome."

For one, scroll through all of @malfoy_drayco's videos and any others online that shed light on the grittier side of the city. These offer an alternative version of the overly romanticized one that we expect of Paris. Next, ground yourself in reality. Like any city, Paris has its postcard moments, where certain scenes of the city live up to the hype, but there are other parts of the city that are just, well, a city. There are neighborhoods that aren't as glamorous as Montmartre. Not everyone lives in these luxurious areas. Just think of New York; not everyone lives on Park Avenue. Paris is a crowded city, packed with residents as well as tourists, so expect crowds and garbage, unfortunately. Expect it to be dirty, expensive, and overwhelming. In a way, expect if not the worst, then at least a very average experience if you go to Paris, and you might be pleasantly surprised. Under-hype the city to enjoy it more. But no matter what, you're not going to relive "Amélie." Sorry.