Japanese Guided Tours of the Louvre, Versailles, the Marais & Other Famous French Places (English Subtitles Included)

“As tourist sea­son here in Paris winds to a close and the air once again becomes crisp, fresh, and new,” writes The Atlantic’s Chelsea Fagan, “we must unfor­tu­nate­ly acknowl­edge that it does not end with­out a few casu­al­ties.” That piece was pub­lished at this time of year, albeit a decade ago, when “tourist sea­son” any­where had a bit more bus­tle. But the world­wide down­turn in trav­el has­n’t done away with the object of her con­cern: Paris Syn­drome, “a col­lec­tion of phys­i­cal and psy­cho­log­i­cal symp­toms expe­ri­enced by first-time vis­i­tors real­iz­ing that Paris isn’t, in fact, what they thought it would be.” This dis­or­der, one often hears, is espe­cial­ly preva­lent among the Japan­ese.

Japan, writes Fagan, is rich with por­tray­als of the French cap­i­tal as a city “filled with thin, gor­geous, unbe­liev­ably rich cit­i­zens. The three stops of a Parisian’s day, accord­ing to the Japan­ese media, are a cafe, the Eif­fel Tow­er, and Louis Vuit­ton.” To some­one who knows it only through such images, a con­fronta­tion with the real Paris — with its ser­vice-indus­try work­ers who treat tourists “like some­thing they recent­ly scraped from the bot­tom of their shoes” to its sub­way cars “filled with grop­ing cou­ples, scream­ing chil­dren, and unimag­in­ably loud accor­dion music” — can trig­ger “acute delu­sions, hal­lu­ci­na­tions, dizzi­ness, sweat­ing, and feel­ings of per­se­cu­tion.”

Not all Japan­ese vis­i­tors to Paris, of course, come down with Paris Syn­drome. Some plunge into an even more over­whelm­ing con­di­tion of love for the City of Light, as might well have been the case with the Youtu­ber France Guide Naka­mu­ra. “I stud­ied art his­to­ry at a uni­ver­si­ty in France and was amazed at how inter­est­ing it was,” he writes on his about page. “When you study art, there is a moment of rev­e­la­tion! Some­thing that was not vis­i­ble until now sud­den­ly appears. It is the ‘plea­sure’ of ‘know­ing’ and ‘under­stand­ing.’ I think this is the ‘core’ of tourism.” It is on that basis that he cre­ates videos like the hour-long Lou­vre tour above, a smooth first-per­son walk through the world’s most famous muse­um that he nar­rates with a high degree of artic­u­la­cy, knowl­edge, and enthu­si­asm.

Expe­ri­enced in lead­ing tours for his coun­try­men, he describes all his videos in his native Japan­ese. But in the case of his Lou­vre tour, you can turn on Eng­lish sub­ti­tles by click­ing the CC but­ton in the tool­bar at the bot­tom of the video. His oth­er pop­u­lar Eng­lish-sub­ti­tled videos include walks through Mont­martre, Marais, and the Latin Quar­ter, as well as cer­tain excur­sions out­side of Paris, such as this vis­it to Ver­sailles. If you do speak Japan­ese, you’ll also be able to enjoy Naka­mu­ra’s many pre­vi­ous videos dig­ging into the nature, his­to­ry, and cul­tur­al con­text of oth­er things French, from neigh­bor­hoods to works of art to con­ve­nience stores, but not, as yet, the Eif­fel Tow­er — or for that mat­ter, Louis Vuit­ton.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Take a Long Vir­tu­al Tour of the Lou­vre in Three High-Def­i­n­i­tion Videos

The Louvre’s Entire Col­lec­tion Goes Online: View and Down­load 480,00 Works of Art

Take Immer­sive Vir­tu­al Tours of the World’s Great Muse­ums: The Lou­vre, Her­mitage, Van Gogh Muse­um & Much More

Hear the First Japan­ese Vis­i­tor to the Unit­ed States & Europe Describe Life in the West (1860–1862)

Down­load Vin­cent van Gogh’s Col­lec­tion of 500 Japan­ese Prints, Which Inspired Him to Cre­ate “the Art of the Future”

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the Sub­stack newslet­ter Books on Cities, the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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