This past week I’ve been in Paris for POPL and... it has not been pleasant. Generally I love traveling, and I was looking forward to visiting mainland Europe for the first time, but
I hate Paris.
Like, everything about it. This city is entirely opposed to anything resembling accommodation for disabled folks. And not just the city, but the university venue as well.
As mentioned in my previous, standing in place for a long time fucks with my circulation. There was nowhere to sit in the room where they served coffee. The “lunch” was standing tables only with, again, not even benches around the edges of the room. The one working/meeting room they had (which actually had chairs) was only open on the workshop days and got locked down before the talks finished for the day. And the library, the only other place we found to sit, is entirely closed on weekends.
In addition, the venue for the workshops was on the second floor. Technically they had elevators, but (a) the closest one was out of order, and (b) all the others were unusable because they locked the hallway doors around the workshops, thereby prohibiting access to the venue area from these other elevators. While I myself don’t have issues with stairs (yet), one of my friends here does.
Exacerbating this absurd refusal to accommodate anyone who may need to sit or take a lift, everything is noisy. I have sensory overload issues, and while it’s usually not too onerous to deal with, evidently the Parisians refuse to do any sort of soundproofing or baffling. None of the ceilings use acoustic tile, floors typically aren’t carpeted, walls are thin, and every surface is sound-reflectingly hard. Plus many of the rooms have harsh and noisy lights (yes, I can hear lights). The constant assault is exhausting. I have to wear my noise-cancelling headphones to bed in order to be able to get any sleep. The only quiet places we found were the library (closed on weekends), the working/meeting room (locked most of the time), and one coffeeshop (thankfully decorated with wood).
All the rampant ableism aside, it’s impossible to eat here. Vegetarian-wise it’s about like the early 1990s in the US: often you can get a salad, and if you’re lucky they might have one meat-free entree. Gods have mercy on you if you’re also sensitive to wheat. I’m used to conference lunches being hit-or-miss, but this year was especially bad. Of the days I even tried going, they only had vegetarian food once. And according to folks who went on other days, they mostly only had hors d'oeuvres rather than an actual meal.