For a wheelchair user, planning a holiday is never entirely straightforward. Every stage of the process – how you get there, where you stay, how you will get around – requires extra consideration and research into how accessible everything will be for you.
This process starts with your choice of destination. The truth is, some places are just more disability-friendly than others. If you fancy a break but want to keep things fairly straightforward for yourself, or if you have not had much experience travelling, you might want to consider one of these to travel to.
France falls into this category. For UK travellers, its close proximity is a bonus simply for getting there. And once you arrive, it is clear that France is a country that takes accessibility seriously.
Here are three big reasons why France makes a great holiday destination for disabled travellers.
You can travel by ferry or train
Airports and flights always present an obstacle to wheelchair users. From having to arrive that much earlier to get assistance through customs and security to getting on and off the plane to the challenges of going to the toilet during a flight, cramped planes are never that much fun. Travelling by ferry is a far more pleasant experience all round. Yes, it takes longer, but even that can become part of the attraction. Many crossings to France are overnight and you get your own cabin to have a sleep. All in all, though, it is the space to move around that makes them great if you use a wheelchair.
Alternatively, if you are heading to Paris especially, the speed of the Eurotunnel train link is fantastic. And unlike on a plane, you get to sit in your own wheelchair for the journey.
Great disabled-friendly accommodation choices
One thing that France is certainly not short on is accessible accommodation. In rural and coastal areas, in particular, gites or holiday homes are the local speciality, with many of them being converted one-storey farming cottages that are ideal for wheelchair access. A quick internet search will bring up plenty of choices all over the country, and even some of the larger holiday companies such as Brittany Ferries now advertise disabled-friendly accommodation.
Nowhere is perfect when it comes to making travel as accessible as possible for disabled people, and France is no exception. But at least there is a growing awareness about it and a will to make things better. Paris is a good example. The capital’s Metro system has always been notoriously difficult for disabled passengers because of a lack of working lifts at stations. But things are improving, with investment in wheelchair-friendly buses and accessible stations for the RER train lines. Paris tourist info also has a comprehensive page dedicated to disabled visitors, with plenty of practical advice on how to get around, which destinations are wheelchair friendly, adapted shows and exhibitions and so on.
Finally, if you do decide to take a trip to France, make sure you take out appropriate travel insurance to cover you for all eventualities during your stay.
*This post is sponsored