WELCOME TO Paris
PARIS ATTRACTIONS FOR TOURISTS WITH DISABILITIES
Paris is the city of romance and love. History, architecture, painting, literature, fashion, and cuisine attract tourists to this dream place. When choosing a country for a trip or a cruise to several countries, make sure to include Paris in your list. Accessibility of this city begins at the airport.
International Airports and Urban Transport
Charles de Gaulle and Orly international airports welcome passengers warmly. Accessibility for people with disabilities is provided according to European standards. In the event of unforeseen inconvenience to mobility-impaired passengers, the airport staff will help. The order is watched closely by French gendarmes.
Landing at the airport and going through all the customs of red tape, the question raises “how to get to the hotel?” There are three options: train, taxi, and bus. Train is the most inconvenient option because you need to take a bus to the railway station. Bus – even though equipped with an automatic ramp, it won’t take you to the hotel door. So, it is not very convenient too. What remains is a taxi whose driver will drop you at the very entrance of the hotel. But there is one point, you should have the address of your hotel with you because if you say only the name of your hotel, a taxi driver may take you around the city for a long time in search of your destination.
Accessibility of Hotels, Cafes, and Restaurants
When planning a trip, it is better to use a travel agency not to get into trouble with a hotel because a hotel may claim to offer accessible rooms, but in reality, you may get not exactly what you need: it may be spacious and with wide doorways, but have a bath instead of a shower, added with thresholds and no handrails, etc. Therefore, when booking your room, you need to take into account all the details and discuss them with a hotel manager or a travel agent.
Most hotels in Paris have not a very high level of service but they have an interesting design (styles are very diverse), the staff is attentive, and the prices are quite low.
You can enjoy delicious refreshments not only in the city restaurants but also in inexpensive and cozy cafes. The traditional dishes of ham, sausages, potatoes, an unusually tender omelet, croissants and fruit for dessert are very tasty and inexpensive. There are a lot of such places in Paris, but their drawback is limited accessibility for handicapped visitors. Only about three out of ten establishments have no entrance thresholds that cannot be overcome in a wheelchair or scooter without assistance. Unfortunately, there is nothing good to say about restrooms in Paris restaurants and cafes. It’s very rare you can see a disabled restroom in a restaurant. Therefore, it is better to prefer open-air cafes with large platforms and use an outdoor restroom.
Mobility in Paris
In France, you can rent not only a car but also a three-wheel mobility scooter which is much more maneuverable than a wheelchair and allows you to relax and enjoy the sights of architecture instead of focusing on spinning the wheels. The main point is not to forget the scooter charger in the hotel. If your mobility scooter battery runs down, you can charge it in any of the numerous cafes on your way.
The city metro in Paris is not fully accessible for people with limited mobility, therefore it is better to use buses to travel long distances. Buses in France are perfectly adapted for passengers with disabilities. The driver's seat is equipped with a special auto ramp button, so you can get on a bus in a scooter or wheelchair without help and feel comfy in a wheelchair space for passengers with limited mobility.
Taking care of people with low mobility, the historical museums of Rodin, the House of Disabled, Pompidou, and Orsay provide good accessibility. The entrance here is free for people with disabilities and their accompanying persons. Also, they have accessible restrooms. Spacious rooms, unique exhibits, paintings of impressionists and wonderful architecture reveal the history of France in all its glory.
Once in Paris you cannot miss visiting the Louvre. A unique elevator was built in the Louvre Pyramid to get people with disabilities down to the huge lobby from which, guided by signs, one can experience the life of the French kings.
Unfortunately, the Arc de Triomphe is not accessible yet. To visit it one has to get up a long tunnel with many steps (there is no elevator). But the Eiffel Tower is quite accessible. It is equipped with an elevator, where you can rise above the city and enjoy the views of modern Paris and its historical part with cathedrals and temples. Time passes unnoticed while you’re enjoying the view, and the impressions of what you saw will last for a lifetime.
You can appreciate the beauty of Paris by using a pleasure boat on the Seine. This type of transport is also accessible for tourists and residents with limited mobility. Paris is especially magnificent at sunset.
Using a taxi, you can go to the Catholic temple of Sacre-Coeur and then go to Versailles. But one day is not enough to explore the Palace of Versailles and its environs, so it’s better to have a few days to visit it.
The famous Moulin Rouge cabaret is surrounded by nightclubs and intimate salons. It is accessible to people with limited mobility via an elevator, but a few steps is a nuisance to wheelchair users. Fortunately, the staff is always glad to take the visitors in a wheelchair up and down the stairs. The atmosphere of riotous life of the early 20th century has been preserved in the cabaret.
Walking along the streets of Paris, tourists with limited mobility don’t need to worry about the obstacles on their way, as the sidewalks in Paris are ideal. You can walk as long as you want, the lack of outdoor restrooms won’t spoil your plans. They are all over the city. Gray inconspicuous booths, spacious enough to turn around in a wheelchair or scooter there, are equipped with an electronic cleaning system. One drawback is the lack of litter bins, so used hygiene items may just lie on the floor.
Shopping in Paris
Saint-Ouen flea market stands out among the numerous shopping centers and boutique squares. It opens up another side of diverse Paris. Here, antiquities, vintage gadgets, funny and unique souvenirs will surely find their buyers and tourists. Antique goods purchased at Saint-Ouen will always remind you of your walk through Paris. It will be interesting to visit the market not only for shopping, but also to admire antiquities with their own history.
And like any crowded place in France, the market is surrounded by many cafes and restaurants. French cuisine is very diverse and unique. The taste of national dishes cooked in local restaurants cannot be replicated in the restaurants of French cuisine in other countries.
Paris is a holiday city. It leaves positive emotions and unforgettable impressions.
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