Well, as luck would have it the wife broke her foot the other day - one week before we leave for our 3 week trip to London, Paris and Italy. She's in a cast and on crutches, which is going to severely limit if not totally eliminate some of the things we wanted to do. We're now in a bit of a scramble to find things that are more "handicap friendly". So my questions are this: 1) Can anyone suggest activities/sites/etc, in Paris that don't require walking and/or standing for long periods of time? A tour, a class, or event where we can sit, perhaps? I know that's kind of vague, but even we're not sure what we're looking for. 2) Does anyone know which, if any, of the major sites (i.e. The Louvre, etc.) provide wheelchairs or other handicap services that might make it easier for my wife to get around? 3) Are the Catacombs doable for someone on crutches? Any kind of help or suggestion would be very greatly appreciated! P.S. We're now calling this trip "Europe on Three Legs a Day", or "There and Back again: A Hobbled's Tale". We can't decide which. :-)
I know this question is specific to Paris, but be sure to take a look at "Trip Reports: Italy in a Wheelchair." Jodi tells her tale, and many others chime in with similar experiences.
Max, A question about renting a wheelchair, posted 7/12/12, brought a lot of answers which could help you, including a link to a specialist in tourism for the disabled and a trip report from Ula who asked the question and made the trip. If this doesn't open right, just make a search for "renting a wheelchair in paris." https://www.ricksteves.com/graffiti/helpline/index.cfm/rurl/topic/88998/renting-a-wheelchair-in-paris.html Three years ago I broke my foot while in a small village in France. I feel your pain.
My contribution to this question is the following: In Paris, stay out of the subway/Metro and take the bus! Metro has lots of stairs and lots of walking. The Louvre is packed shortly after opening but I've heard people say the evening opening hours are less crowded. Nice to know should you find a wheel chair.
Catacombs are impossible for mobility impaired( not exxagerating) . Mom stays at hotel or sits at a cafe and waits, note, exit from Catacombs is not near entrance. Louvre rents wheelchairs, this btw is simple to check for various sites, look on their websites.
Suggest you may wish to rent a wheelchair from a pharmacy( some rent them, ) . A wheelchair may have some advantages btw , people in wheelchairs usually do not have to wait in lines, people report being ushered to front of lines at most musuems and even at the Eiffel Tower.. so work it, lol As noted, forget metro, use buses. Mom needs to take a book , so if pooped out she can rest in cafe etc while you go through busy museum etc. I am not saying she can't and won't be able to see things, of course she will, but just accepting that occaisonally family can split up so everyone enjoys trip, mom shouldn't feel need to push herself all the time and family should not feel held back. Decide what moms "must see" prioritys are and try and work one of them in first thing each day, that way if she poops out( crutches are not easy ) or if you poop out ( pushing a wheelchair can poop you out) she can take a break in afternoon.
1. Rent a wheelchair 2. Hire someone to help you with the luggage. Your wife will not be able to carry her suitcase no matter how agile she is and you can't carry it all. 3. Expect her to use crutches only when absolutely necessary. They are bleeping exhausting. 4. Make sure she elevates her leg constantly. 5. Check the airline's policy on traveling with broken bones. Some will not allow you to travel unless you have a doctor's note and a few doses of anticoagulant. 6. Good luck and God speed. It's not fun. Sorry this isn't Pollyanna-ish, but it's a voice of experience. If you have refunds and travel insurance available, I highly suggest rescheduling. If not, then it's ok to have a slow-paced trip. You might only get to see a few things, but you'll remember it well.
If you use a backpack or convertible bag you can still wheel a bag for your wife.
Emily brought up something so very, very important: "a few doses of anticoagulant" and a serious talk with her doctor.
Max, One of the recommendations I got when we needed a wheelchair rental was AccessibleItaly.com. I dealt with Sharon and had wonderful service in Rome for two women in need of assistance. I believe that they are part of Regency Travel Group. Do use a wheelchair in museums, often free at entry.
Go slow and enjoy.
Emily is so right, check with doctor..
Also, legs can swell when flying, this could be a problem if leg/foot is in a hard cast.. definately talk to doctor.. If she had broken it a month ago that would have been better, next time ask to please time her accidents better( jk)
Hi Max - I'm so sorry to hear about your wife's foot! What about the Batobus? It could be a good way to see all of the major sites from the river, and you can get off at any of the areas you are interested in. http://batobus.fr/english/index.htm I hope everything goes well and you have a fantastic trip!
Another idea would be to rent a golf cart at Versailles and tour the Gardens that way.