Paris is my favourite favourite favourite wheelchair accessible city in Europe.
And three factors should make it your accessible destination of choice too:
1. Wheelchair accessible Eurostar trains from London.
2. 4,500 wheelchair accessible Parisian buses.
3. And over 400 public toilets in central Paris alone (most of which are wheelchair accessible)!
The Official Paris Tourism website has an excellent “visiting Paris with a disability” guide.
To reach Paris from the UK by train, there really is only one option:
And when I first researched the wheelchair accessibility of Eurostar trains from London to Paris, initially my heart sunk.
You see, there ARE wheelchair accessible spaces on all Eurostar services to Paris. But these spaces are ONLY available in the First Class carriages. So my initial thought was that it would indeed be possible – BUT it would be extra expensive (and wheelchair accessible travel is expensive enough as it is).
But the more I read up on the wheelchair accessibility of Eurostar trains, the wider my smile became:
Yes, these spaces are only available in the First Class carriages. But they are sold to wheelchair using passengers at the Standard Class rate – so there’s no additional expense for needing to use a wheelchair.
And your companion/assistant travels for free too.
So, in fact, Eurostar treats its wheelchair using passengers extraordinarily well (chapeau!).
Which is wonderful news indeed – as all #TheBigWander journeys in Europe involve travelling on Eurostar trains: to Paris (multiple times); to Brussels; and also to Amsterdam.
I wonder if Eurostar sell accessible season tickets? 😀
So just getting to Paris was the first of the three treats. But actually getting around Paris is where the other two treats come in:
Just about every one of the 4,500 public buses in Paris is fitted with an automatic, and driver-operated, wheelchair ramp.
Not all bus stops are wheelchair accessible though (the automatic ramp is unable to be extended). But MOST Paris bus stops ARE wheelchair accessible – and if your choice of Paris bus stop is one of the rare stops that isn’t wheelchair accessible, you just trundle along to the next stop which more than likely will be (which is about as spontaneous as wheelchair travel can be). The official RATP website (the public transport authority in Paris) has an excellent online map – just select the number of the bus line you want, and it then shows which bus stops are indeed wheelchair accessible (by default all are – the maps actually show which bus stops are not accessible – as these are by far the exception).
And as the Paris Metro is not really that accessible or step-free, then wheelchair using visitors to Paris will be using buses a lot (but they do go almost everywhere in Paris – a change of bus might be required though).
And the final Paris accessible travel treat also makes your visit as “spontaneous” as it can be: the widespread availability of wheelchair accessible public toilets in central Paris (“sanisettes”). All 400 of them – and all have been free since 2006.
And the official Paris visitors website has an excellent online map of the location of these too:
“Access PMR” is what you are looking for (PMR = “personnes à mobilité réduite”, literally “People with Reduced Mobility”).
Wheelchair Accessible Attractions in Paris
Sadly, the Arc de Triomphe in Paris is NOT wheelchair accessible.
Yes, the monument itself is (and they have recently installed a new wheelchair accessible lift to get you to the top). But access TO the monument (which sits in the middle of a crazily-busy roundabout) involves passin through a tunnel – which has steps!
Floors 1 & 2 Are Accessible,
The Top is NOT Accessible
Tomb of Napoleon I is Inaccessible,
Accessible Parking Available
Free entry (companion too)
Wheelchair Accessible Museum,
Wheelchair Accessible Gardens,
Wheelchair Accessible Toilets,
Wheelchair Accessible Café,
Accessible Museum Building,
Accessible Toilets in All Areas,
Wheelchair Accessible Indoor/Outdoor Cafe
If this accessibility information has helped you in any way, please consider making a donation here
Thank you so very much – and have a great time in Paris.