Have you ever had the desire to travel to France or Spain? Were you concerned that your disability would put a restraint or limitation on your trip? Do not worry; these two countries have a variety of excursions and activities that accommodate people with disabilities! By riding one of the Renfe-SNCF in Cooperation’s trains, you can start your journey now traveling from two of the greatest cities in the world, Barcelona and Paris!
In regards to transportation, the Metro has a lift at more than 90% of its stops.
Improvements for some lines are being made to upgrade and increase lift its access, making it more accommodating for those with disabilities. The metro staff is also willing and able to provide you assistance, so you are more than encouraged to reach out to them for anything you may need! Aside from the metro, the bus is another mode of transportation that is ideal. Not only does the bus provide more space, it is fairly easy to navigate around the city of Barcelona. The buses are engineered to accommodate the disabled and the majority if not all of them are wheel chair friendly.
Make sure to look out for the ones with an “International Disabled Access Sign”! Taxis are a great alternative as well to traditional public transportation. To request a taxi that is wheelchair accessible you can easily contact the Barcelona Handicapped Adapted Taxis service and they will be more than willing to send you one.
In regards to traveling throughout the city, ramps are very common on the streets and walkways. You can also request maps that highlight areas, which are wheelchair accessible. Many tourist destinations including Park Güell, Sagrada Familia, and Casa Mila are accessible through the Blue Line Metro and have wheelchair designated areas. Many museums also offer free entry for wheelchair users and offer priority entry.
One the museums that does this is the Picasso Museum, a historically rich museum displaying a wide array of work from Picasso’s formative years. Aside from the Picasso Museum, the Museum of Chocolate is a favored attraction, being the only museum in Barcelona with life-sized sculptures made of chocolate! Spend a day exploring Barcelona’s Gothic & Roman Quarters. These guided and wheelchair accessible tours take you through these two quarters, exploring the famous sites of Barcelona!
On this tour you will explore Plaza Nova, viewing the Roman Walls and Cathedral. You will then make your way to Plaza del Pi, exploring the Town Hall and Barcelona's Political Center. The fun doesn’t stop there! Experience the excitement of traveling up to Monserrat via Cable Car. This wheel chair accessible option takes you more than 1300m high, providing you with a breathtaking view of the mountain landscape.
The Beach on La Barceloneta has a wheelchair accessible pathway, allowing you to enjoy the great scenery and beautiful weather Barcelona has to offer. Many of the markets in Barcelona are also wheelchair accessible! Shop for the freshest selection of meat, seafood, fruits, and vegetables, or simply explore and enjoy the free of scents of Barcelona’s best food options!
Just like Barcelona, Paris’s public transportation provides navigation for those with a disability. To travel around the city of Paris as well as a few suburbs within proximity, there is a variety of metro and train lines to efficiently get you to and from your destination. As Paris metro is one of the most oldest in Europe, it doesn´t has a lift access at every station but Improvements for some lines are being made to make it more convenient and accessible.
To move easily in Paris, the RATP ( Metro, bus, suburb trains Operator ) propose you to estimate the best itinerary including disability access here. We also recommend you to use metro line 14 which is totally accessible at every station . Also, RER (Réseau Express Regional) an underground network of railway lines that is commonly used by most to navigate around and also inside Paris. There are lifts to accommodate those in a wheelchair. To conveniently get around, it is highly recommended that you travel by taxi or adapted transport. The kindness spreads across the border as the French are known to be extremely helpful in regards to assisting people with disabilities.
While in Paris, you are guaranteed to never run out of things to see and do! With some of the world’s most historic monuments and museums, including the Louvre, Notre Dame, the Sainte-Chapelle Church, Sacré-Cœur, and of course the Eiffel Tower. You will have no trouble visiting any of these places, and most will offer priority access to those with a disability. Want to knock all these places out at once? Paris offers bus tours which will take you through Paris, giving you first-hand access to the historically famous points of the city. Aside from the bus, there are a variety of “tours on wheels” that are made for those disabled, showing you the city in a way accommodating to you!
Paris is a large city so in order to get the most out of a weekend trip, it is highly recommend you familiarize yourself with the French disability and accessibility language. There are many websites you can explore which give you insight and tips from individuals with who have had first-hand experience travelling in Paris. Aside from the web, there are information kiosks all throughout the city which can assist you in planning your activities or simply just getting around!