I was lucky enough to call Paris my home for seven or so years, and during that time I saw the city morph and change (more often that not, for the better). It’s encouraging to see that Paris is becoming a more global and accessible city for travellers with mobility needs and disabilities. With its cobble-stoned streets and winding lanes, it’s true that an old city like Paris is hard to get around by wheelchair, but here are some tips that will hopefully help when planning a wheelchair friendly trip to Paris.
Here are some suggestions, ideas and links that I hope might come in handy:
A good place to start? Contact the local councils in the arrondissements that you plan to visit, and ask for the latest travel, metro, and road accessibility updates (unfortunately the Paris metro is not the best when it comes to wheelchair access). Here’s a link to the Mairie de Paris council site. It’s actually quite comprehensive and a lot of the text is translated into English.
Do you know the travel site The Man in Seat 61? I’m a fan. In addition to fab train travel tips, the site includes some handy information on booking wheelchair-accessible taxis. You can pre-book through Taxis G7 (call the English speaking service on +33 1 41 27 66 99).
Try researching with advice from the Association Tourisme et Handicaps, a good place to start when needing to check accessibility details and accreditation.
I find that most Parisian restaurants are more than accommodating when you call in advance to make enquiries and/or requests. Here’s some information on restaurants, brasseries, bars and cafes that comply with handicap access accreditation. I recommend calling to make reservations (whether you are needing to enquire about wheelchair access or not), as some spots in Paris do get very busy.
For a treat, visit Georges Restaurant at the top of the Pompidou Centre. Amazing views. If you don’t want to break the bank, visit just for a coffee 🙂
For a chilled-out cocktail, try the chic Mama Shelter (designed by Philippe Starck) – a hotel/bar/restaurant/all-round hot spot located in the 20th arrondissement.
Some of my favourite museums in Paris have wheelchair access, including the Louvre and Musée d’Orsay (I do find Musée d’Orsay less overwhelming!). Read over details of museum accessibility in Paris here.
You could also check out the Victor Hugo house, near the stunning Place des Vosges (another favourite of mine).
Here are a few helpful websites and resources:
The ParisInfo website has some comprehensive information, including how to find accessible tourism offices in Paris (always good to have one on hand for maps, tips and booking day-trip tickets in advance).
The Independent Traveler website shares six travel apps for medical emergencies – handy resources to download onto your smartphones and saves you carrying loads of paperwork or books.
Compare Travel Insurance has a great little guide on keeping your kids healthy and safe while abroad, along with lots of tips for planning your trip with children.
If you want to read more about my favourite Parisian places, head over to Khoollect and read Rachel Khoo’s 24 hours in Paris. You’ll get the ins and outs of how I spend a day in one of my favourite cities in the world.