Paris is a spectacular city, which I have been fortunate enough to visit on 2 separate occasions in the last year alone. I have been confined to a wheelchair for around 3 years now and shortly after the accident I was of the opinion that I could never see the amazing places around the world, which I had wanted to. I was determined to travel, however, and after reading a lot more into accessibility options all over the world, I decided to throw caution to the window and travel. So far, the best experience that I have had was the wheelchair accessible hotels in Paris and the accessibility options throughout the city. If you have plans on going traveling, and fancy Paris, here is how to find the best hotels, and where you should stay.
Paris is filled with many boutique hotels and independently ran guesthouses and lodges, neither of these is going to be your best bet in terms of finding somewhere that is wheelchair accessible. It would be nice to first do your homework before committing to visiting this magical city. Find out which hotels are wheelchair accessible, particularly within the location of your destination. This will give you a good list to narrow down to the hotel that will be best for you. I’ve already given you a hint at what you should avoid, and doing your homework will show you, even more, hotels to steer clear from. Besides, there is the chance that you may even find somewhere much more accommodating for you. I would start with the big chains, most of which offer everything that a wheelchair user could need to have the perfect stay. Particularly Ibis hotels, of which there are 48 of throughout Paris, have it written in their mission statement that all of their hotels will be fully wheelchair accessible.
Prior to Booking
Once you have found a hotel that you want to stay in, make sure that you call up and speak about the specifications you need, and ask questions about the room and the hotel from an accessibility point of view. Very often, there are hotels which say they are accessible purely because they have a large entrance, but the truth is very different. We know that there is more to accessibility than a large entrance. It’s best to be sure where you are going before committing yourself to a journey you expect to be magical, only to get there and find it’s the exact opposite. Some hotels can be misleading, and what makes it worse is that they may do so intentionally. To be safe, find the hotel that you want and then call with a list of questions about room sizes, bathroom options, stairs, elevators or stair lifts, swimming pool and restaurant accessibility, and any other questions which you may have. If the hotel can openly speak about the options they have, and these options meet your criteria and preferences, then this is the hotel for you. Any hotel that gives irrelevant answers to your questions, or that seems to be indirect about what they really offer, is to be avoided like an allergen. Be sure.
Generally speaking, I found Paris very easy to get around and with the exception of a few inclines, the lay of the land is pretty flat, and the pavements are smooth and well kept. I would recommend, however, that you pay a little bit extra and get a hotel room at the center of the city, just to help you avoid too much traveling. The beauty of Paris is that the large majority of the big attractions are close to one another and the Eiffel Tower, Champs Elysees, Arc de Triomphe, Louvre, and Notre-Dame, are all within very close proximity of one another. Getting around is easy enough with taxis. I would, however, avoid the metro network as whilst it is wheelchair user-friendly, the volume of people can cause a problem. This is particularly true during the rush hours; 08:00 to 10:00 and 17:00 to 20:00. Be that as it may, if you must explore and discover, and the Paris metro is one of the experiences you must have in life, then take your chances before the rush hours. One final thing, if you do choose to use the metro, it would be best to find the quickest route to your destination to reduce the chances inconvenience. Again, this calls for a little homework before you embark on your adventure.
Paris is a city I would definitely recommend if you are traveling in a wheelchair.