Accessible france: travel strategies for motorized wheel chair users

Though France presents certain challenges with accessible travel, correspondent Emma Verrill argues the “je ne sais quoi” of French existence outweighs any potential frustration.

Her tips try to make travel in France an unforgettable experience despite physical challenges.

Traveling requires persistence and organization, and going with an impairment takes much more preparation. After working nine several weeks navigating France inside a motorized wheel chair, I’m able to securely say France is really a fascinating and manageable destination.

Whether or not this was bravery or blissful naivety, I overcome metropolitan areas, trains, hostels, and restaurants, taking copious notes on the way to ensure that others may feel the allure of France.

Before you begin

Accessible Travel - French coast - photo by Emma VerrillIt’s usually smart to understand the policies regarding ease of access when you are traveling overseas.

With France, take a look at Handicap Worldwide for many fundamental info on France’s method of disabilities.

Mobility Worldwide USA (MIUSA) can also be a great resource.

Getting there

Flying from Boston to Istanbul for any panel on students with disabilities, When i first learned that  airlines cannot always accommodate disabilities. Forty-5 minutes before that flight, I visited check-along with the gate agent, but as a result of miscommunication with respect to the air travel, I had been denied boarding. They claimed these were not able to support me simply because they unsuccessful to organize the cabin crew and also the on-board aisle chair was not requested.

There after, I learned to analyze what airlines are accommodating and which carriers to prevent. To fly to France I suggest Air France, U . s . Airways, American Airlines, and US Airways, all whom I’ve had very enjoyable and comfy experience.

Eiffel Tower and Carousel, France - photo by Emma VerrillOne caution: EasyJet and RyanAir are a couple of extremely popular European budget airlines. While I have not had any problems, I’d stay away from these airlines if you’re going with an impairment. They’re infamous to be unaccommodating to motorized wheel chair users, even to begin not allowing individuals passengers to board.

With regards to Accommodations Check, Then Check Again

While everybody realizes that requiring motorized wheel chair access means extra space along with a bigger, more-outfitted bathroom, sometimes things explore translation. To guarantee your comfort and security, be an advocate on your own.

“Accessible” means different things to everybody. It is vital to check on along with your accommodation, hostel, or rented apartment to verify, again, that the accommodations are organized and will also be suitable for the thing you need.

It’s my job to remain in a hostel or rent a property to save some cash. In regards to a week before coming, I email the hostel once more to verify I’m remaining inside a bottom bunk which there’s a baby shower chair easily available. Once after i didn’t remember to specify me I discovered a hostel whose check-in and toilet were both up several flights of stairs.

In Paris, I suggest Oops! hostel if you’re on a tight budget. For extended stays or bigger groups, use Airbnb to locate accessible apartments.

Sacre Coeur - Accessible TravelAirport terminal and Train Travel

Based on where you stand moving in France, fly straight to Paris or Nice then have a train or perhaps a smaller sized flight for your final destination.

Destinations like Normandy, Brittany, and also the Loire Valley are readily available by train from Paris. Provence, Cannes, Monaco, and also the Mediterranean are available through the train from Nice.

If you are planning into the middle of Paris in the airport terminal, there’s a couple choices. Taxis are a good option since they’re always available. If you like to order taxis ahead of time when you need TaxisG7.

There’s additionally a shuttle that’s comfortable and comparatively affordable (€11 one of the ways, €18 roundtrip) from Orly and Charles de Gaulle airports to various locations within Paris. Since the shuttle operates by Air France it’s reliable, although not the fastest choice for motorized wheel chair users.  The buses are completely new, and also the driver frequently does not have experience working the lift.

Trains in France are extremely accessible, comfortable, fast, and cost-effective. They’re very reliable, well-organized and responsive to all disabilities. You will have to purchase your tickets ahead of time, so consider the RailEurope Site.  Should you speak French, consider Voyages-SNCF.

While in doubt, call. Calling these businesses is usually a good idea since you can indicate the precise assistance you’ll need. Reach the stop a minimum of thirty minutes early, and mind straight to the “Accueil” or even the welcome area, which is clearly marked with indications of disability assistance.

For additional on riding on the bus in Paris, don’t miss: Le Tramway & Beyond: Transportation in Paris

Paris Metro signPublic Transit

Understanding public transit is vital to some good experience of Paris. To obtain anywhere rapidly, taxis is the best choice, however if you simply have enough time, the buses are extremely accessible. Make reference to a roadmap to verify which buses and metro stops can hold a motorized wheel chair.

I learned first hands the Paris Metro is very inaccessible with limited stops with elevators. Within my first knowledge about the metro, my buddies and that i were inside a hurry to get at the Eiffel Tower from sleep issues from the city. My buddies then bumped me lower two flights of stairs towards the Metro, simply to realize i was heading within the wrong direction.

We returned up, back lower towards the correct platform, and lastly showed up in the Eiffel Tower around night time prior to the astounding light show, and prior to the Metro to shut. Then we walked an hour or so . 5 to the hostel in The month of january.

I learned then to not depend on subterranean transportation, especially in the center of winter.

By Emma Verrill for Visit Emma online at

Related Links:

  • Le Tramway & Beyond: Transportation in Paris
  • Traveling Abroad For Motorized wheel chair Users
  • Travel Tip: An Impairment Legal rights Milestone & Accessible Travel Sources
  • Travel Tip: Motorized wheel chair Accessible Rides
  • Accessible Cruise Tips
  • Accessible Travel section

Accessible Travel – Italy, Tunisia, Spain, France, Monaco – 2010 (Wheelchair user) (Paraplegic)


Nath Aston: Really cool! I recently did a roadtrip around Europe which was incredible! I put videos on my youtube but a camera just can’t capture the experience!

Delightful Travellers: Cool video. Well done! We truly liked it.

WheelzOfFortune: @frostychestnut Princess Cruises.

frostychestnut: I went on a Mediterranean cruise with Costa 4 years ago but I don’t recognize the boat on your video. What ship company was it? Makes me feel like going there again!

WheelzOfFortune: @belgikske Yes, it was really an amazing trip. Thanks for watching.

belgikske: I see that you had a wonderful trip to the “old country” I was in Rome a few years back and it is nice to see all of those great places back. I really enjoyed the Adrian Villa in Tivoli. Barcelona is very popular too.

WheelzOfFortune: @dwht100 It really was. Thanks for viewing!

WheelzOfFortune: @bracerphil It really depends on the airport and the country, to be honest.\n\nI’ll give you a rundown of what I can remember.\n\nAirports:\nNewark – This was a breeze. They really didn’t search me much at all. (However I have had issues at other US airports other times.)\nFrankfurt, Germany – They weren’t as accommodating. They did a very thorough search and seemed suspicious of my wheelchair.\nRome, Italy – Even easier than Newark.\n\nThe cruise ship didn’t do much of a search. Except for “goods”.

dwht100: Looks like an amazing trip

WheelzOfFortune: @posediva !!!! I can’t believe I forgot to make that joke. I had planned to do it about a week before making the video.