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Paris sights with disabled daughter

We are going on a dream trip to Paris with our daughter who has down syndrome. She isn't able to climb many steps at a time. Is there a possibility of use of an elevator in Versailles, The Arc de Triumph, Notre Dame or the Louvre? If so, how would we go about it?

Posted by
8293 posts

There is an elevator at the Arc de Triomphe but you need to tell the attendant that you want to use it. It doesn't take you directly to the top, there are still a few stairs to negotiate .... can't remember how many. If you google "wheelchair access" for any site you want to visit your questions will be answered.

Posted by
6117 posts

Louvre is filled with stairs but for every set of stairs there is an elevator. They are tucked around corners out of sight, but they are there and she need never climb stairs at the Louvre. There are escalators from the entry to the various wings, and then once inside there are elevators for any stair you find. If you don't spot the little sign ask a guard.

Notre Dame is one floor with no stairs at entry -- you just walk around the outside of the sanctuary
to visit. The Tower is reached by narrow winding stairs and there is no elevator access there. It is
probably not something you will want to do.

Let me note also that the metro is full of stairs. You are better off with buses. The
bus stops are well signed so you can figure out where they go and where to get off.

Learn your penultimate stop as you have to signal the stop you want. Most buses
have little electronic signs that show the next stop and you go on high alert when
your penultimate stop appears so you can push the button as soon as it pulls out of that stop.

The Seine river cruise at Pont d'Alma is easy access with a long ramp -- some
of the other sites like Pont Neuf involve steep stairs to the doc.

something she might enjoy -- both the fountain at the Tuilleries (near the Louvre)
and the main fountain at the Luxembourg Gardens usually has a little stand with
rental model sailboats which can be sailed on the ponds. It is pretty cool and she
might get a kick out of doing that.

Posted by
2000 posts

I agree, you should go to the websites for all the major sights you want to see and check out how they deal with accessibility issues. I don't recall that there are any elevators inside the chateau of Versailles, but the grounds, the Queen's Hamlet, and Petite and Grand Trianons should be quite accessible, and I'm sure you will love this area -- hopefully you are going at a good time of year. And as already mentioned, do not expect to use the metro to get around, they all have stairs and I don't think it will be a pleasant experience for you or your daughter - walk, take the bus or a taxi -- and I'm sure you will enjoy the Seine cruise. The Tuilleries, Palais Royal, Place des Vosges, and Luxembourg Gardens are great parks for strolling or sitting.

You may not want to deal with the lines, crowds and tight elevator situation at the Eiffel Tower, but seeing it from the ground, particularly during the nighttime light show, is very impressive.
I hope you have a great time!

Posted by
8297 posts

How old is your daughter? I've taken my adult brother with Down Syndrome to Europe and to NYC. Some metro stations have an escalator or elevator. Stairs can be an issue though, as others have said. I agree that buses and taxis are probably a better choice. Another way you can get to places along the river is the batobus, which is a boat bus. There will be some stairs down to the river and then back up, but if your daughter can handle some stairs I think you would all enjoy getting around that way.

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I found that letting my brother take a good rest/nap in the afternoon really helped. I would suggest staying somewhere very central, as it would be easy to go back to where your staying for a rest. You might also consider an apartment so you have some extra space.