The Displaced Nation

A home for international creatives

Dear Mary-Sue: Things to do in Paris

Mary-Sue Wallace is back and she’s dishing out advice to the helpless like it were soup, soup from a big tureen of common sense in the soup kitchen we call the blogosphere … or something like that. If you are looking for solace, then you need Mary-Sue Wallace. Submit your questions and comments here, or if you are a shy bunny requesting anonymity then you can email Mary-Sue directly at

Dear Mary-Sue,

Growing up here in Japan as a big-time Francophile, all my life I’ve wanted to visit Paris. This fall I finally have a chance to go visit it for myself. I am so happy at the thought. I will get to stroll the streets and eat plenty of good food. Being such a travel expert could you give me a list of the top things you think I should do when visiting Paris?

— PA, Kyoto

Dear PA,

Ol’ Coley Porter put it best when he wrote that lovely classic of his, I love Paris. “I love Paris in the springtime / I love Paris in the fall / I love Paris in the winter when it drizzles / I love Paris in the summer when it sizzles.” And that sums up so perfectly and so succinctly my own thoughts about this darlin’ city. No matter the time of year, I fall in love with it. Whenever I arrive in Paris, I always make sure on that first night that I go for a stroll along the Seine. Ah, bliss. And when that’s over I go to a little cafe that I adore that is called…

….wait a moment….


….I’m sorry about this, PA, but I just noticed that you wrote that you’re from Japan. In that case, forget Paris. It’s overrated. Have you thought of visiting Malmo? I hear there’s also an interesting cement works in Frankfurt, you could go there. I’m sure it’s fascinating. And people keep telling me Swansea is the Paris of south Wales…

…Aw, shoot. As a loyal Mary-Sue-ite, you deserve a fuller explanation from me, PA. A Japanese Francophile finally visiting Paris after a lifetime of waiting? Aw, honey, sounds like you could be a prime candidate for Paris syndrome. Certain places just seem to have a strange effect on people. Believe me, I know this only too well. It’s why I’m never going back to Jerusalem. Went on a cruise there with my hubby Jake a few years back. Darn it if he didn’t come over all Messianic on me – thought he could walk on water. Well, the fine people at Cunard weren’t too impressed when he went overboard when trying to be all Matthew 14.

And Paris syndrome ‘aint no picnic either, honey. You can end up psychologically destabilized, suffering anxiety, hallucinations, feelings of persecution. Many Japanese visitors to Paris go there with such a romanticized image of the city and its occupants, that it’s a place of sophistication and politeness, that when they finally get there and see for themself the surly, rude reality of Paris they simply can’t cope. 

So PA, I ask again, have you thought about going to Frankfurt? 

— Mary-Sue

Anyhoo, that’s all from me readers. I’m so keen to hear about your cultural issues and all your juicy problems. Do drop me a line with any problems you have.

Mary-Sue is a retired travel agent who lives in Tulsa with her husband Jake. She has taken a credited course in therapy from Tulsa Community College and is the best-selling author of Traveling Made Easy, Low-Fat Chicken Soup for the Traveler’s Soul The Art of War: The Authorized Biography of Samantha Brown, and William Shatner’s TekWar: An Unofficial Guide. If you have any questions that you would like Mary-Sue to answer, you can contact her at, or by adding to the comments below.

img: Close, by Corina Sanchez.

STAY TUNED for Monday’s post.

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One response to “Dear Mary-Sue: Things to do in Paris

  1. ML Awanohara October 12, 2011 at 10:13 am

    I assume you haven’t seen Woody Allen’s latest flick, Midnight in Paris — perhaps it hasn’t reached Tulsa yet? I happened to be in the UK for the film’s release last week-end, and even the critics who found it “frivolous” still had to admit that Allen conveyed his swooning adoration of Paris with a force that’s hard to resist. I myself was bowled over just by the trailer, as reported on TDN last summer.

    I predict that for the time being at least — as long as Allen’s glowing cinematography and postcard images of the city are still fresh in all of our minds — it’s going to be an uphill struggle to talk anyone into Malmö, Swansea or Frankfurt instead. (Speaking from the experience of living in Tokyo for many years, I can assure you the Japanese are great Woody Allen fans — and that was during his fallow period, before he discovered Europe.)

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