Traveling to Paris with a sprained ankle? You cannot be serious! Traveling through the airport in a wheelchair or on a cart? Will I be able to ride the Metro? I was looking forward to walking all over Paris and exploring every nook and cranny. Why in the world did I go ahead and sprain my ankle a week and a half ago? I have a trip to Paris in 4 weeks. Instead of spending one minute more being angry with myself (did I mention the headache I have from beating my head against the wall!), I’d do some research about getting around Paris with limited mobility.
Paris is an old city with uneven cobblestone streets, a ton of steps everywhere (including accessing the metro), hilly terrain in Montmartre, restrooms rarely located on the ground floor in cafes, and elevators that do not always work. Paris is making some strides in making the city more accessible, but still has a long way to go.
I can’t help but wonder what it’s residents with sprained ankles do to get around? Honestly I think Paris and sprained ankles go together. Trying to walk on all those uneven streets and cobblestones are hard with healthy ankles! That being said, I do think that the city is a magical place and you should see it no matter what your limitations are. I would never let this stop me. I will just have to prepare to see Paris in a whole new way.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to plan ahead. Book your hotel/apartment well in advance. Is there an elevator that is wheelchair accessible? Plan your location. Are all the things you want to see close to a bus stop? Plan your routes out before you leave home.
Ride public buses-Paris has a great public transportation system and while you want to avoid the Metro if you have mobility issues, the buses have been made accessible in recent years. You can get anywhere in Paris by bus and the bus #69 route takes you to many of the main sights.
Take a taxi or use Uber
Use the Hop On Hop Off bus tours. Big Bus has a third of their buses are wheelchair accessible. You can contact them for info.
Did I say PLAN AHEAD!
My last tip is to just relax and enjoy the city. No need to rush from sight to sight to take it all in. To me one of the best ways to take in Paris is to just sit outside a cafe and watch Paris go by. Plus, who says you have to parade all over the city? Just explore the area near your hotel/apartment rental. Paris is made for this type of thing. Each neighborhood has it’s own personality. You can take the time and become an expert of you immediate surroundings.
Although I may not be able to do all the walking I planned, I will still be there and that’s all that matters. I still have 4 weeks of heeling to do. I have to research with the intent that possibility I may not be able to put in 20,000 steps everyday. If that happens I can take comfort in the fact that there is sure to be a bakery, a cheese shop, a wine shop, a Monoprix, and several cafes within a hobbling distance away!!