Travel to Paris without flying.
There are three different ways to get to Paris in France which don’t involve going anywhere near an airport:
- The direct Eurostar train between London and Paris – which takes just 2 hrs 16 mins (if you are arriving in London from other parts of the UK and need to travel across London first, see the Getting To London St.Pancras International From Other Major London Railway Stations article);
- UK train to Dover (1 hr 50 mins); then DFDS, Irish Ferries or P&O Ferries ferry from Dover to Calais (1 hr 40 mins); then French train from Calais to Paris (a direct TGV takes less than 2 hrs. However, the TGV leaves from Calais-Fréthun station, which is outside of central Calais – slower trains which leave from the more central Calais-Ville station may involve a change, and take over 3 hrs); so including waiting times when you change, the entire London to paris journey could take 7-9 hours;
- A FlixBus coach from London to Paris (around 9 hours). This is NOT an accessible option though (yes, some coaches are accessible, but until long-distance coaches have accessible toilets too, they’re to be avoided. 9 hours is a long time to cross your legs).
Flixbus coaches leave from Victoria Coach Station in London; and arrive at Bercy Seine bus station in Paris.
Unless you have another reason to visit Dover or Calais (or if you just love travelling on the water), then there’s little point in travelling between London and Paris via Dover & Calais.
So it all comes down to your budget really: the more expensive, but seriously quicker, Eurostar train between London and Paris – or the cheaper, but much slower coach from London Victoria Coach Station.
When it comes to accessible travel between London and Paris – you only really have one choice: the Eurostar train from London St.Pancras International.
There’s a wee bonus for wheelchair users taking the Eurostar train though:
One companion travels for free. AND. You both travel in Premier Class – but at a standard rate fare.
See the Accessible Paris guide for details of accessible public transport in Paris, and accessibility at the most-popular visitor attractions in central Paris.
Public Transport in Paris
Paris by Bus (Recommended):
As well as just being the recommended way for wheelchair users to get around Paris, it is also the recommended way for all visitors to get around Paris!
True, it is sometimes a lot slower than just using the Metro or RER. However, central Paris is reasonably compact – so the time savings of using just the Metro are not enormous. And by using the bus, you get to see the streets of Paris (parts of Paris you just won’t see from below ground).
You might even see an area that you like the look of, and which warrants a visit itself. This is how REAL Paris “hidden gems” are found.
All 4,500 public buses in Paris are wheelchair accessible (fitted with an automatic wheelchair ramp, and with a dedicated wheelchair space on board).
Not all bus stops are wheelchair accessible too though (the automatic ramp is unable to be extended at a few still). But MOST Paris bus stops ARE wheelchair accessible – and if your choice of Paris bus stop just happens to be one of the few stops that isn’t wheelchair accessible yet, you just trundle along to the next stop which more than likely will be (which is about as spontaneous as wheelchair travel can be I suppose).
The official RATP website (the public transport authority in Paris) has an excellent online map of accessible bus lines in central Paris (simply select the number of the bus line you want, and it then shows you which bus stops are indeed wheelchair accessible – by default all are – the maps actually just show which bus stops are not accessible, as these are by far the exception).
Paris by Metro / RER:
Definitely the fastest way to get around Paris.
So what’s the difference between the Paris Metro and the Paris RER network?
Think of the RER as an express route. In central Paris, both Metro and RER trains serve some of the same stations. However, the RER trains are larger, and the distances between stops is greater (so they cover more ground faster).
And travel tickets for the Metro can also be used for the RER (although you will have to buy a more-expensive ticket if you are travelling to the suburbs). This will be the case for visiting Versailles (RER C), Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (RER B) and also, seriously recommended for a real slice of Paris life, Sceaux/Parc de Sceaux (RER B, but south this time).
With the exception of the newer Line 14, none of the Paris Metro is accessible.
The RER is a different story though. Most lines and trains ARE wheelchair accessible.
Paris by Taxi:
“G7” is by far the largest taxi operator in Paris.
In general though, taxi numbers are controlled in Paris, so that the demand is always greater than the supply.
Great for Paris taxi drivers. Just not-so-great for visitors to Paris though.
If you’re just trying to hail a cab on the street then (something you may have taken for granted in other major cities), there’s a very good chance that you’ll be waiting for a long time.
That’s not to say that Paris taxis don’t exist at all though (or that you won’t see them whizzing by). It’s just that, even when they are empty, they are more than likely to have been prebooked elsewhere.
And this is the key!
Prebooking your taxi.
So when you think you will need a taxi, either book it yourself as far in advance as possible (Tel: 01.41.27.66.99 in Paris – or book your Paris taxi online (no language barrier at all then), or simply ask Reception at your Paris hotel to book it for you).
G7 have over 200 wheelchair accessible taxis in Paris alone.
And they have a dedicated telephone number for their “G7 Access” service: Tel: +33(0)1 47 39 00 91. Your hotel reception will be only too happy to call them from your Paris hotel. Or you can order a taxi yourself on their website (at www.g7.fr/en/ – it’s in English, so no language barrier at all), or book your Paris taxi via their free app.
Or simply Walk (or Roll):
Paris is a reasonably flat city (with a few exceptions). So simply wandering around the centre of Paris is completely possible. And should you get lost on your wanders, you will never be far from a Metro station or bus stop.
Paris Hotels / Paris Hostels / Paris Apartments
Paris Left Bank
Hôtel Artus is located in the heart of Saint Germain des Près on the chic Rive Gauche of central Paris
1-minute walk from Mabillon Metro Station
Accessible Rooms Also Available
Hôtel de Varenne
Central Paris (7th Arr)
Hôtel de Varenne is one of the very few hotels in central Paris with a flowered garden and terrace – and just moments from Les Invalides
2-minute walk from Varenne Metro Station
Accessible Rooms Also Available
The People - Paris Marais
Le Marais, Paris (7th Arr)
Both dorms and private rooms available. Privacy curtain in bunks. Shared lounge, terrace, restaurant and bar.
Moments from Sully-Morland Metro Station
Accessible Paris Hotels, Hostels & Apartments:
Finding a truly accessible hotel, hostel or apartment anywhere can be a bit of a nightmare.
But the accessibility filters on the Booking.com Paris Hotel search (simply scroll down on the left), make it much easier.
There’s a wee trick though:
By default, the filters are a bit limited. So, ignore the filters initially, simply enter your desired dates, and make an initial search. You will then be presented with ALL properties that are available on your desired dates – and much more detailed filters (on the left – keep scrolling down until you see the “Property accessibility” and “Room accessibility” filters). NOW, filter the results as required. As I need step-free access & a roll-in shower as a minimum, I select BOTH of the “Wheelchair accessible” Property and “Roll-in shower” Room filters.
IMPORTANT: Always specify that you MUST have an accessible room, in the “Comments” during the hotel booking process.
DIY Walking Tours of Paris
There are currently two different DIY Walking Tours of Paris. The same route, but split in two if you have the time (recommended). It is possible to see Paris in a day – but that’s all you will have time for (seeing Paris attractions). Plus, it’s long walk in 1 day (so possible, but definitely not recommended):
- Paris in a Day DIY Walking Tour
Points of Interest: Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower, Les Invalides, Musée Rodin, Pont Alexandre III, Grand Palais, Petit Palais, Champs-Élysées, Place de la Concorde, Jardin des Tuileries, the Louvre Museum, and finally ending up seeing the Paris sunset from the Pont des Arts.
- Paris in 2 Days DIY Walking Tour
Both Paris DIY Walking Routes are completely accessible/step-free.
Most crossings are light-controlled – but in ALL cases they have dropped kerbs on both sides. And the locations of accessible toilets are indicated.