Paris Has a Bed Bug Problem — and American Tourists Are Being Blamed for It
Paris is chock full of iconic sights: The Eiffel Tower. Notre Dame. The Louvre. Musée d'Orsay. And now, bed bugs? Over the last few years, The City of Light has become permanent home to what newspaper Le Parisien describes as an "explosive phenomenon" of bed bugs infesting the homes and mattresses of local residents. The city’s explanation for why it’s happening? American tourists!
Property management group RIVP, which oversees 1,000 housing properties citywide, says just about one resident per day is forced to discard a mattress because of bed bugs. And they’re pointing their fingers squarely across the Atlantic. "It's been like this for two or three years," Oliver Perret, RIVP’s manager, told Le Parisien, noting that approximately 20% of its properties have dealt with bed bug complaints. "And we think they're coming from North America.”
They’re not alone. A Paris hotel manager also told Le Parisien they've had to deal with bed bugs, too, and that they are "brought every time by American tourists," noting that Disneyland Paris — a popular attraction for American travelers — had had its share of little parasitic critters, too.
Still, while The Local has reported that it’s impossible to track the origins of these bugs, there’s no doubt that they’re a problem. "I think we're dealing with a major public health issue," Jean-Michel Bérenger, an entomologist at Marseille’s La Timone hospital, told Le Figaro. "Declaring the number of infected sites should be a mandatory practice to improve care."
Already, people are reporting their encounters with the bugs on the city's registry for BedBugs.net, which, by the way, includes recent reports for Disneyland Paris’ Dream Castle Hotel. And you thought being blamed for the fanny pack trend was embarrassing.