Monthly Edition: August 2008

5 Days in Paris

By Bruno Dubois, MD, PhD, Member, Paris Congress Organizing Committee

Hubert Fernandez, our new Website Medical Editor asked me to write "an article regarding Paris, to wet the appetite of people for the next International Congress". I decided not to speak about the funny Eiffel Tower, an iron work erected for the glory of the modern times; about the Place de la Concorde where Louis XVIth was beheaded; or about the French Open which will end the day before the Congress. Rather, to convince you to come next June, I prefer to share a short passage by the writer, Joan Didion, from her reflections at the time she received the highly honored French literary award, the Prix Medicis. I thank Christopher Goetz for the English translation.

I discovered France rather late. The film that I wrote with my husband, Panic in Needle Park, was shown at Cannes and hence I had the opportunity to spend several weeks in Paris before and after the festival. Immediately, I felt at ease. I believe that up to that point in my life and since, I have never felt so much at home anywhere else. Paris seemed to be a place where everything was ordered, right and exactly as it must be. Blue and white checked curtains in the ground floor windows of buildings were exactly as they must be, the radishes in the market stands were exactly as they must be . . . .

On the morning of our first visit to Paris-we had selected a left bank hotel--my husband and I walked to Notre-Dame. Inside, before all this splendor, all this fragility, I started to cry without being able to stop. "Why are you crying?" asked my husband. "For Western civilization, I responded." He burst out laughing, and he was right, how absurd to say such words-but for the first time in my life, and moreover here in Notre-Dame, I felt at home with myself.

Come to Paris with the same sensibility, for science, for art, for fine summer weather, and . . . for self-discovery.

About Bruno Dubois
Bruno Dubois is Professor of Neurology at the Neurological Institute of the University Salpetriere Hospital in Paris. He is also Director of the Research Unit Inserm U-610 and member of the Institute of Neurosciences of the University Pierre et Marie Curie Paris. He has published on anatomical and biochemical studies on the central cholinergic systems in rodents and humans; on cognitive neuropharmacology; and on neuropsychology in patients with dementia, with special reference to memory and executive functions.

13th International Congress