Tourism Abroad - Disabled Accessibility

Paris, France August 2010

Conducted by Judith Bellingham


The Eurostar and the Station

The Eurostar had assistants at the platform helping a lady who needed a wheelchair off of the train. The staff met her with a wheelchair and helped her from the train to the station. There was no priority boarding for disabled passengers. Eurostar does not accept special assistance in advance, on the day of departure assistance is arranged in person. For more information, please visit:

At St Pancreas International, there are Eurostar staff walking all around the check in areas to help and wide gates for any wheelchair users. It isn't easy to find your way around the station as it is confusing, particularly if it is your first visit to the station. it would be a good idea to find a member of staff to guide you if you are hard of hearing or partially sighted. Once you are inside the Eurostar terminal, things are announced on the tannoy.

At the Paris end of the Eurostar, it is not so well staffed. I didn't see many staff walking around and we just ended up out in the middle of Gare Du Nord station.

With a lot of the station staff not speaking English it would be a good idea to have someone who can speak basic French, or perhaps see if Eurostar can arrange someone to guide the passengers in the right direction as the only help at the French end is typical train station signage.

At the Hotel

At Tim Hotel (Stalingrad), there is a lift, but it is very small, the corridors aren't very large and there is no lift or slope down to the breakfast room. If the lift is broken, then I don't know what would happen with wheelchair users as there were no ground level rooms and the only other access to rooms is an outside metal staircase.

We were in a very small corner room which would definitely not be suitable for a wheelchair user. We briefly saw other rooms which seemed a little larger but if ours was anything to go by then it was totally inappropriate for wheelchairs. The bathroom was also very compact, toilet RIGHT in front of the door, so if any help was needed it could be very troublesome.

Unfortunately, there was no large print or Braille information available at the hotel. The signage was generally poor, I think the only Braille I noticed was in the lift for the floors and that is built in anyway.

Getting Around

To get to any tourist areas such as the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe, you will need to take the Metro. The gates to get through to the trains weren't manned so any problems aren't likely to get help in any urgency. The gates are all small; you very rarely see any wide gates. The only ones I noticed were at Gare Du Nord which is likely because of the Eurostar.

Trains are not announced over the tannoy system, some trains announce the stations as you arrive but the majority did not. I saw no Braille around the stations or on the trains either. You also don't see any guards or staff on the trains or stations so any queries or aid is limited.

We were not in an area where taxis are common. There were advertisements for people carriers to the airports but nothing I saw that advertised transport to take a wheelchair. There is a taxi company, Taxis G7 Horizon which operates disabled accessible taxis throughout Paris on a 24 hour basis, seven days a week. The website for this company can be found at:

I didn't see any disabled parking bays. The traffic is not very patient and the areas we visited did not really have parking areas so I'm not sure driving will get you very far as there may be nowhere to park nearby. You may need to get the metro / buses anyway.

I'd like to mention at this point that the road crossings are all zebra crossings. Almost all of them do not make a noise when you cross and the majority of drivers just carry on even when you are on green. This isn't ideal for any deaf or blind travellers alone considering the drivers lack of respect for the proper traffic conduct.


Getting to Disneyland, most people take the Metro, Bus or Drive to the parks. When we arrived we had to find the Guest Relations desk. If you have any need for disabled assistance, this desk seems to be the place you need to go to. It may be a bit of a wait but likeliness is you will get all the help you need from here when you pick up your tickets.

There is no need for ramps or lifts in most of the rides, but there seemed to be some rides that wheelchair users had a different entrance to avoid the queues.

I'd like to mention that we saw a lot of rented wheelchairs from the park itself so there is a way for people who have walking difficulties or tire out easily to hire a wheelchair. The park itself had very few steps; it is very smoothly set out.

Large print guides are not with the main guides in the park. There is a guide available from the city hall (Main entrance) giving specific information for disabled visitors. There is also mention of a card that guests can pick up to help them access the attractions easily. I believe that there is Braille in the parks for things like the toilets but not generally as far as I could see. I didn't see anything mentioning concessions tickets. The prices seem to be, adult, child or family.

The Eiffel Tower is easily accessible; the area around the Eiffel Tower is very spread out. There are no steps leading to the tower, it is right by the main road, a very small walk from the train station and right next to a bus stop.

You can travel up the Eiffel Tower in the lifts there. We walked up which is very safe. The lifts looked fairly large however queues can be very long. There were also queues specifically for disabled visitors.

I didn't see any large print brochures. There weren't that many around. There are explanations of the tower creating and facts around the top levels, these are in quite large type, but I don't believe this is for the benefit of the partially sighted/blind specifically. I didn't see any concessions for the disabled, just adult and child prices.

The Arc de Triomphe wasn't very disability friendly. The actual Arc itself is surrounded by traffic so getting there by car is assumed easy. I do not know about buses.

To get to the Arc you need to cross a very large, and busy road. We also had to walk a long way from getting off the train until we actually came out at the Arc. We couldn't find the way to get over the road to the Arc but there were people over there. I would think that there is either a subway or a crossing somewhere but the area is so large, it's hard to know.

There are no steps around the Arc as far as we could see although I would assume that, if access is via a subway, then this does not necessarily have a ramp, most of the Paris subway stations don't and they don't all have escalators or lifts either.

Eating Out

At Pizza Planet (Disneyland), there is a slope leading to the restaurant and it has a very large entrance. The whole place is very spread out. The whole restaurant is laid out flat so wheelchairs can get through easily.

It is a buffet restaurant so there are no menus. The actual descriptions of what food is laid out is not very large but there are staff around to let you know what is what. The lighting is very dark as it is in-keeping with the pizza planet theme. Not ideal for those visually impaired.

At Café des Cascade (Disneyland), to queue for service you need to use the front entrance which is up a few stairs. There is a ramp to the rear of the restaurant but seating inside is quite cramped so those with wheelchairs and pushchairs seemed to prefer to sit outside. We sat outside and it was pleasant enough. I did not see any large print menus or any mention of one. Outside was fine in the natural light; inside is fairly dim with neon lights as it is set out like an old American Diner.

At Plaza Gardens Restaurant (Disneyland), there was a ramp to the side however you may need to go up a couple of stairs to enter the restaurant. It is a buffet restaurant so there are only drinks menus that were not in large print.

The descriptions of the food were not large print and awkwardly placed above the serving area so you need to stretch to see it, the best idea would be to ask the waiter that serves the table as they can assist you. There didn't seem to be many chefs around to ask.

Good lighting, wide open spaces that were decorated in light colours so there shouldn't be a problem in seeing in the light there.

Disabled Toilets

There were disabled toilets in all the Disney parks and restaurants. There were not really many toilets in general in the Metro stations or near the Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower.

For more information on disabled access in Paris, please visit