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Disabled access/parking with US hanger permit

Will a US disabled parking hangtag permit allow access to restricted areas in French towns and parking privileges( disabled spots or no parking zones?)

Posted by
1633 posts

Last year I drove my mom all over France and used her disabled placard to park in disabled parking spaces with no problems/issues. We were there for 21 days. Most (I emphasize most) handicap parking spaces do not require a parking ticket/fee. Read the signs on the parking space very carefully. If you are not sure, pay for a parking ticket or at least ask people in the area. BTW, on another previous trip, my friend also had a placard and we had no problems using it. Have a great trip.

Posted by
23437 posts

The answer is absolutely NO. The fact that Denise got lucky doesn't mean that you will. It will be expensive if you find one ticket writer who is ticked off at American tourists.

Posted by
7007 posts

Fines for improper use of disabled parking are steep (well into triple digits), steeper than mere illegal parking, so... don't do it!

Posted by
8293 posts

I somehow doubt that a handicap placard from France, or anywhere else in Europe would be honoured in wherever the OP lives. It would, after all, deprive a local, tax paying, disabled person of a parking space.

Posted by
5360 posts

A French person cannot use their French disabled placard here either.

Although the site referred to above suggests that you can:

Visitor to California
Visitor from abroad – you may use your Parking Permit in California.

Posted by
9429 posts

I based my above response on what i was told at the California DMV (Dept of Motor Vehicles). Doesn't mean the info i was given was correct (i realize).

The following from the link above seems to support what i was told, unless i’m misunderstanding...

“Reciprocity is the country or state being visited recognising the Parking Permit of a visitor from another country or state, and granting to the visitor the same parking entitlements given to its own disabled citizens. There are two international agreements encouraging countries to recognise the Parking Permit of a visiting disabled person:
The member states of the International Transport Forum (ITF): EU and EEA, along with USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Korea, have agreed in principle to reciprocity for each others disabled citizens: "To provide people with reduced mobility with a document (Parking Card / Permit) _ _ _ and to give the same parking facilities to holders of this document coming from another member or associated member country as they do to their own nationals" (ECMT (now ITF) Resolution 97/4)

The member states of the EU and EEA are recommended to give reciprocity to disabled visitors from another EU / EEA member state who have the standardised EU model Parking Card so that: "Parking card holders may benefit from the associated parking facilities available in the Member State in which they happen to be" (EU Council Recommendations 98/376/EC and 2008/205/EC)
However, both are recommendations only and not binding on the signatory countries so that while some offer reciprocity, others do not.

As far as we are aware, there are no international agreements on reciprocity among any of the ITF countries.”

Posted by
9429 posts

Marco, you are absolutely right, thank you. I was relying on what the DMV told me as we have family from France who visit us. I’ve deleted my post... : )

Posted by
7664 posts

Unfortunately there probably is no definitive answer. Much like Drivers Licenses and the IDP, there are several reciprocal agreements at different levels for something that can be handled at the National, State, or even local level depending on the country. Beyond that, there is what is technically allowed, and what is allowed, or how it is enforced at the local level

The international standard is the Blue placard with a stick figure wheelchair, if you have one of those, many places consider that good enough and will not question the use, unless they sense abuse. So the experiences of others on here who had no problems make sense.

I suppose though that means you have no guarantee you will not be ticketed in France, asking if possible would be prudent, and I would not assume that a placard would allow you to enter restricted zones monitored by camera.

Posted by
740 posts

I was in France in 2017. I asked the rental agent and they said it was good. I talked with the attendant at the booth in the parking structure in Nice and she said it was good.
I actually talked with the watch supervisor on duty in a Nice Police station and HE said it was good.
I used it in the south of France and in the Lorie Valley area and had no issues.
I showed it at several locations and was directed to handicap parking every time.

I also asked a police officer in Germany in 2018 and he said it was good to go. As did the rental agent in Germany and Switzerland.

Obviously I an not a lawyer in France but...

Now trying to use the handicap sticker to get special access or other uses did not work. But I had my fathers heart doctor write up his health issues on a doctors RX pad and sign it. We used that at several locations to get access to elevators and such. We even got in using a no waiting line and for free at Versailles. But in every case we needed the doctors note and in every case the person at the gate read the whole thing.

One thing to keep in mind is that France (or pretty much anyplace in Europe) has NOTHING like the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) that forces relatively easy access for mobility challenged individuals. As such you will often have to climb steps or go way way out of your way to find an elevator. They local staff may be helpful but probably not. And even handicap parking spaces can be a very LONG way. In the Lorie Valley area even the Handicap parking was very long walk. We had to stop and rest at a bench (one thing Nice is France has a love affair with park benches). And we walked 40+ miles in less then six days. So it is not like my dad couldn’t walk. He mostly has trouble with stairs and hills (heart issues at the time and one bad knee).
So do your research.

If you have questions about specific locations feel free to ask. Often the only way to know how best to access a place is to talk with someone that has (and is either mobility challenged or went with someone who is). As a lot of websites and tourist guides don’t talk very much about this issue.

Well good luck and enjoy the trip.

Posted by
5360 posts

The countries where reciprocity technically exists but relies on knowing or trusting the attitude of local authorities or police is maybe the least satisfactory through lack of clarity. Almost as bad is where you have to contact one of these for a temporary local permit; not so bad if you are in the same place but not if you are somewhere different each day.

Posted by
9429 posts

douglas, what is a “handicap sticker”?

Posted by
3521 posts

disabled spots or no parking zones?

Probably will work fine in marked handicap parking spots as others have mentioned.

Seriously doubt it will work in no parking zones. Not sure if that is even possible where I live in the US.

And if you are thinking it might get you into the restricted traffic zones, no way. It might get you access to where you can purchase a permit for those areas.

Posted by
9429 posts

In California, the Disabled cannot park in a No Parking spot / zone.

Posted by
776 posts

before our trip in 2015, I sent a message to the France consulate for clarification and was told to just display my Canadian placard in the window at the front of the card and if should be accepted in any disabled parking spot. It would not let me park anywhere I wanted just in those spots. (they said most police forces would honour it).

I printed that email and brought it with us if we were to run into problems but had none over the 16 days of driving.