(gutted by fire last year and will be at least five years before it can be opened again!). Then of course, the Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower. How to get around? Well, Paris is fairly flat,

and my first wife did it in her wheelchair without any problems – although crossing the Champs- Elysees can be a bit hair raising! Problems? Well our French cousins don’t

believe in spoiling the design of buildings etc. by adding ramps when steps will do! There is usually a couple of strong porters available to lift you and your chair up them!!!!! Taxis seem to be very abundant provided you can transfer! Busses and trains, but which one goes where? Didn’t look very accessible either! Then the means we used, the water busses. You can get a day pass for about £14 and get on and off at any of nine stations. Trouble once more, steps! Lastly, your favourite cry, Toilets!!! In France you will not need to be shy, everyone uses the same ones! They call it unisex!!!! In spite of all the disadvantages, Paris, like

Author and stepdaughter at the Arc de Triomphe

usually mean problems solved so long as you are honest, swallow your pride, and tell them everything. On arrival at Charles de Gaulle airport you

have a choice of bus, taxi or train to Central Paris. The bus did not appear to be very wheelchair accessible but was the method we used. I have never used French municipal trains so you will have to check for yourselves. Hotels? France is not the best country in the

world for disabled access! Ring the hotel of choice and check. It will be you arriving at the bottom of the flight of steps in your wheels not the agency you booked through! Good hotels can be expensive but tend to be worth the money. We stayed in the Hyatt Regency Etoile (Paris) which was accessible. Food was excellent as you would expect in

France as was the wine. Eating in the hotel or in a pavement café on the Champs-Elysees can be expensive but there are many very reasonable small cafés and patisseries close to everywhere so why not eat in these? What to do? As in any capital city today you

are spoiled for choice. Theatre, a meal, museums galore and a big cathedral called the Notre-Dame

Pavement café on the Champs Elysees

John Killick was the secretary of the Disabled Motorists Federation for over 20 years and was also the editor of 'The Way Ahead' magazine. He continues to be a freelance writer. He was born in Norfolk and brought up in Suffolk, married a Manx girl, and now lives in north east England.

Ability Needs Magazine 29

London, is well worth a visit but don’t expect our level of accessibility!

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