An American in Paris part 1: Welcome to the City of Lights
An American in Paris is a special blog series from FIGO President Dr Jeanne Conry that explores the highlights of Paris as a destination for the FIGO 2023 World Congress. The first blog of the series is a welcome – to the Congress, to Paris, and to the wonders we will all be able to share together in October.
I want to thank you for joining me as I countdown to the FIGO 2023 World Congress, being held in Paris, France, 9–12 October! I am Dr Jeanne Conry, President of FIGO. I live part time in Paris and part time in California. I have started this blog from the perspective of someone exploring and enjoying Paris, in the hopes I can share this enthusiasm as you consider and decide to come to the FIGO World Congress.
Now I need to tell you that my dearest colleagues in Collège National des Gynécologues et Obstétriciens Français (CNGOF) are the real experts. So instead, this is a light-hearted introduction to Paris – my granddaughter will probably be seen somewhere, and of course what you might look for in visiting the capital of France!
I will pick some topics like food, shopping and museums, and there are topics that are just fun, like Paris neighbourhoods (arrondissements): how to visit, maybe stay in rented accomodation, and what the neighbourhoods are known for. I thought I would look at the excitement of vintage shopping in Paris – for those who would like to find a Dior scarf, a Chanel pin – or see what exhibits might be highlighted during your stay.
One caution for planning: The Rugby World Cup is being held in France between 8 September and 28 October. The games will be held around the country but believe me when I say, rugby fans will scoop up hotels, book restaurants and compete with other spaces. Fortunately, there are no rugby games taking place in Paris during our Congress, but if you are planning a vacation, please remember to schedule your plans early.
Paris by foot
First, Paris is a walking city. There are days when I walk 6–10 miles just because of my destinations. If you would prefer to take public transport, the Metro is easy to use, safe and covers the entire city. In fact, for the World Congress, you can stay in many neighbourhoods and travel just one or two stops to get to the Paris Convention Centre – the host venue of our event! I simply use my navigation app, choose subway or on foot, and follow the directions. There are many travel apps and most will provide you with route options and estimated times.
As I say this, WiFi is essential, but access is only easy in cafés, public buildings and museums, not on the streets of Paris. You can add a daily fee to many mobile phone plans. I have also purchased my own SIM card when I have had a long trip, but they are often best purchased at a provider office in country, because then they can help load it for you. Paris has a number of great walking tours, so consider signing up for one if there is a neighbourhood or a part of the city that interests you. I can devote a blog to neighbourhoods and fun – come back to read it soon.
Paris by day and night
Let’s start with the tourist highlights that never cease to entertain me! I love Paris after dark, whether it’s travelling down the busy Avenue des Champs Élysées to see the lights, watching the sparkling lights of the Eiffel Tower, or taking a dinner cruise on the Seine. These are Paris experiences that should not be missed. There are so many museums, and not enough time, so pick and choose based on your interests (OK, if it’s your first and only time in Paris and you want to see Mona Lisa, then maybe just allow time for that). I love Impressionism, so I enjoy Musée d'Orsay. But it might be worth checking to see what expo is featured during your stay and getting tickets for that in particular.
Join me in Paris
More to come each month. Please do send me questions if you have them, but most importantly: please join all of us in Paris for the FIGO 2023 World Congress. It is a beautiful destination for family and friends, we have a great Congress with science and camaraderie, and it is a great time to recover, rejuvenate and reconnect.