by Suzanne Bair
Pick your passion: shopping, history, art, architecture, fashion, food, wine, literature, photography… I could spend a whole month in Paris and still not have enough time to see and do all of things this amazing city has to offer.
TransportationReciprocal Disabled Parking Notification Card
The public transportation options are plentiful in this sprawling city. When possible we recommend using one of these many transportation choices: Metro (subway), Bus, RER (commuter), Tram, Trains (SNCF, TGV, Eurostar), and Taxi’s. Ride Sharing companies are not recommended at this time. All buses are wheelchair accessible with extending wheelchair ramps and 90% of stops located throughout the city are accessible. Audio and visual cues are also available on all buses. Visitors can save money by purchasing convenient single or consecutive day, weekly or monthly passes which work for both the metro and bus.
Navigating the metro can be challenging. Over four million people use the metro on a daily basis which can lead to extremely crowded trains with limited, standing room only. For visitors who may need a seat or space for a wheelchair, we recommend using alternative transportation options during rush hour as the metro may not be accessible during those times. While the metro system in Paris is amazing, it truly is a maze. Most stations are not wheelchair accessible. In many stations you may encounter multiple flights of stairs and long tunnels. We recommend checking out these great apps to help you navigate the RATP system.
If you chose to use a car in Paris, parking can be extremely hard to find and costly. However, thanks to France adopting the European Model Parking Card, you can use your U.S. disabled parking pass to assist with accessible parking throughout France. We also encourage you to place a copy of your disabled parking identification card and this statement on the dash of your car. For more information about parking, visit the Official website of the Convention and Visitors Bureau of Paris.
Reciprocal Disabled Parking Card Notification loosely translated: This parking card belongs to a person with a mobility disability visiting your country. Most Member States of the European Union and the European European Economic Area (EEA) recognizes and accepts the Parking of a visitor from another country. This gives them Rights to the same parking facilities granted to citizens with reduced mobility of your country (Council Recommendation 98/376 / EC and 2008/205 / EC of The European Union and ECMT Resolution 97/4). For more information see: http://ec.europa.eu/justice/discrimination/document/index_en.htm#h2-5 Note: Please add this information in a visible way of your parking card.
Paris does an amazing job at creating accessible, inclusive opportunities for everyone by removing architectural barriers and offering adaptive programs throughout the city. A beautifully accessible walkway allows visitors to walk or roll beside the Seine river which winds its way through the city with stops along the way to many of the popular tourist attractions. A great alternative is taking a ride on the fully accessible Bateux-Mouche boats that takes you on a narrated round trip tour up the river. If you are an art lover, the Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, and Musee Rodin will inspire you and ignite your creative side. And no visit to Paris is complete without a stop at the Tour Eiffel.
For travelers with strict dietary needs due to food allergies, diabetes, or other needs, special made to order dishes are common and most restaurants use fresh, whole ingredients as part of the regular French diet. Be sure to brush up on your language skills to communicate your specific requests. It is also important to know that meals and meal time in France are culturally different than you may experience in the U.S. Dinner for example, is often served late in the evening, 8 or 9pm, and can be several hours long as this is the time for families and friends to gather and socialize over their meal. This means that restaurant and café hours are very different than you may expect, be sure to plan ahead.
Many museums allow visitors with disabilities and one person (guest or attendant) who is accompanying them free admission, along with express entrance. These sites include the Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, Musée Rodin, among others. Proof of entitlement and ID is required – your U.S. disabled parking ID card and/or Medicare card is accepted as proof. Other tourist attractions such as Tour Eiffel also offer reduced rates for disabled visitors. Be sure to ask each location if they have reduced rates for more savings.
Finding public restrooms in Paris can be difficult, but we found a map of 400 accessible public restrooms throughout the city, available for free to assist you.
The Paris Tourism Board has made great strides in providing accessible information. Check out their great practical-paris guide and be sure to visit our Paris Resource Page for more great accessible information.