We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Paris in a wheelchair

Which Paris hotels are on sale?
dd/mm/yyyy dd/mm/yyyy
See hotels
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
423 posts
14 reviews
Save Topic
Paris in a wheelchair

My wife has recently been diagnosed with motor neuron disease and is now confined to a wheelchair. She has always wanted to visit Paris so we are hoping to go in the next few weeks.

I have being reading old posts on wheelchair accessibility etc but would like to clarify/confirm a few details if possible.

Most people say that it is best to travel by bus with a wheelchair. If so what is the best area to stay for catching buses to the main sights? Also what is the best area to stay for just walking around pushing a wheelchair, ie smooth paving?

Do most train stations have wheelchair access and if not do you know of a site that details which do?

I have read that people in a wheelchair and their carer get free admission to some museums etc and can go straight to the front of the line. Is there somewhere I can get a list of these to assist with my planning? Our daughter may come with us as well. Would she be able to enter with us or would she have to queue?

Are there any main attractions that don't have wheelchair access?

What do we do beside the main attractions to just get the feel of Paris?

We don't speak any French, is this going to be a great problem?

What type of weather should we expect in late March/early April? I am hoping to have as little luggage as possible.

We plan to have two weeks in France. If we have 5-7 days in Paris what other areas do you suggest we visit that won't provide difficulties with a wheelchair?

Should I hire a car once we leave Paris or take public transport?

Sorry for all the questions and I am sure there are more things I need to know but I really want to make this a memorable trip so any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

New Hampshire
Destination Expert
for Paris
Level Contributor
20,949 posts
25 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Paris in a wheelchair

I would urge you to secure accommodations ahead of booking plane/train tickets, as fully accessible can be a challenge and it may be necessary to adjust your dates. Know that, often, accessible does not mean fully accessible, if that's what you require. It's essential to ask questions in that regard, before confirming a booking if things like a large marble step or two at the entrance, minimal bathroom features, etc., matter.

The weather in late March/early April will likely be quite chilly and could be very rainy. Sometimes, there's a spell or warmer, sunnier, weather, but you cannot count on that. There could just as well be a spell of very cold weather. If you can wait a few weeks or longer, the more likely the weather is to be more pleasant.

Last April (14-28), we had mostly pleasant, cool but not too chilly, only one day of rain, a few warmer days, lots of sunny days. Someone there the week before reported cold, rainy, windy, the entire week. But, you never know...all that could have been the reverse. During our visit, the spring bulbs and flowering trees were in bloom all over - absolutely magnificent! All the gardens had plenty of blooming flower beds (along with flowering trees).

I'm going to search for trip reports...back in a few minutes.

Val-de-Marne, France
Level Contributor
8,616 posts
Save Reply
2. Re: Paris in a wheelchair

Here is the transportation site for disabled travellers. All RER stations in Paris have elevators and métro line 14 is fully accessible. www.infomobi.com/en/disabled-travellers/

One of the main obstacles while visiting Paris will be bathroom access in most restaurants and cafés: those are often downstairs, down a narrow spiral staircase. So take advantage of the public toilets (sanisettes) which you will see on the streets whenever you need one.

The Paris touris office website also has a page dedicated to disabled travelers. I will see if I can find it.

California
Level Contributor
5,355 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Paris in a wheelchair

Here are some links that might be helpful. The first is the interactive RATP map (metro, RER). Using most metro lines would be a nightmare with a wheelchair, but some stations do have elevators. Line 14 I believe is completely accessible. So on this map, you can click individual metro stations, and when the little menu of tools pops up, click the circle with an i in the center--that will bring up a screen that will indicate whether there are elevators (indicated by a wheelchair and up and down arrows). Might be wise to choose a hotel along line 14. www.ratp.fr/plan-interactif/carteidf.php…

This website has been recommended here previously, and they may be helpful for you for tours or planning: http://www.parisonwheels.com/

I've read that in train stations (maybe only the gares?) you can notify them ahead of your train and they will have a ramp ready for you to use to get on the train.

There's lots of information for you here: …parisinfo.com/practical-paris/info/guides/p…

Val-de-Marne, France
Level Contributor
8,616 posts
Save Reply
4. Re: Paris in a wheelchair

Here it is:

…parisinfo.com/practical-paris/info/guides/p…

…parisinfo.com/how-to-get-to-and-around-pari…

Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
1,095 posts
62 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Paris in a wheelchair

Here's a recent trip report. I realize the person in the review has some limited mobility; but hopefully some of the tips are helpful.

tripadvisor.ca/ShowTopic-g187147-i14-k707545…

New Hampshire
Destination Expert
for Paris
Level Contributor
20,949 posts
25 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Paris in a wheelchair

Also

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g187147-i14-k54456…

tripadvisor.com/…55130302

davidlebovitz.com/2008/02/accessible-trav/

the big blue marble
Level Contributor
15,694 posts
39 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Paris in a wheelchair

I don't know your budget. We used to live near Sevres Babylone, which a LOT of bus lines seem to cross, making it convenient for seeing Paris by bus. The Hotel K+K Cayre is near by and they have large modern elevators, so should be full accessible for wheel chairs. Unfortunately, I think the hotel is pricey.

For museum entrance, just go to the front of any security line. They'll let you skip the lines, your daughter, too.

For a secomd destination. Its very hard to say. France is full of a lot of very old buoldongs that have not been made accessible. And I don't know your interests....

Metro Vancouver
Level Contributor
4,737 posts
1 review
Save Reply
8. Re: Paris in a wheelchair

Please look at Paris streets at random, near places where you might go, on Google Earth.

The main avenues have wide sidewalks but side streets often have narrow uneven sidewalks, both in Paris and in most French towns.

The good thing about provincial French towns is that their historical downtown area has car-free streets so there it is easy to move a wheelchair around. One of the closest good-sized city is Lille, 1hr or so from Paris by fast train.

Los Angeles
Destination Expert
for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park
Level Contributor
10,884 posts
105 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Paris in a wheelchair

Someone in your situation once posted here that the area around Quai des Grands Augustines was the best all round for her. Remembering that the RER stations always have lifts, that would put you near many bus routes, near RER C, and a short taxi ride from Pyramides, where you could catch Line 14. To be honest, though, if she has a folding wheelchair that can fit into the back of a taxi, you might consider the use of a taxi for some of your journeys. The buses are very easy to navigate and all of them will "kneel" to accommodate a wheelchair, is my understanding (we stay near Saint Michel when we plan to use the buses more).

The major museums are all accessible. The Arc de Triomphe is accessible. The last part of Eiffel Tower is not, but most of it is, IIRC. To me, it's not that big a deal to go up it.

Smooth sidewalks are an issue in several places - but the parvis in front of Notre Dame is relatively smooth. Many areas have pavers (what many would call "cobblestones") and as mentioned above, some sidewalks are very narrow on side streets. But main boulevards, like Saint Germain or Saint Michel or Saint Jacques or Rue de Rivoli are fine.

The French are very gracious about accommodating wheelchair bound travelers, do not stand in line for security at the Louvre, go directly to the head of the line and ask the guy to let you in - he will.

Many of the smaller museums are accessible too - just visit their websites to find out the details. There are accessible boat rides, too. And lots of accessible shopping (although there are stairs involved, unfortunately, in getting to the roof of Galeries Lafayette, the store itself is still amazing). Most of the covered passageways are accessible and charming.

You may run into a few difficulties with some restaurants and cafés that are so cramped that it would be hard to fit a wheelchair in, so do a little research about what's near your hotel that's not cramped and have a couple of go-to places that you can enjoy. Places with terraces can almost always make room for you, especially if you arrive before peak dining times (7 pm or earlier).

The sidewalk along the Seine on the left bank is not too rough. The Pompidou is accessible (there are elevators in addition to the famous escalators - and the view is great...)

So you'll be able to see all of the things most people see on a quick trip to Paris!

(While looking at http://www.ratp.fr/plan-interactif/ I noticed that a lot of places have a construction cone, indicating they are, perhaps, closed?) Hopefully this means more improvements in accessibility on the way because the population of Paris, itself, is aging too - and people are living longer and needing those accommodations.

There are non-pricey hotels with elevators (you may have to sacrifice some other quality, but you can definitely find them). If there are three of you, it will be much easier (elevators may be so small that only the chair will fit - although usually you can fit one person and the chair - but if necessary, one of you can walk up first and meet her on whatever floor you're going to).

www.booking.com allows you to filter for "services for the disabled" and by the number of people in the room - and it comes up with 485 properties from which to choose, in several price brackets. Hotel D'Aubusson is one of them - it's not astronomically pricy and in a lovely location near bus routes.

Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
423 posts
14 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Paris in a wheelchair

Thank you all for your super quick responses.

The information is great and has definitely given me a tremendous starting point.