Traveling around France with a disability


Lise Rémon - Illustratie speciaal gemaakt voor
© Lise Rémon - Illustratie speciaal gemaakt voor

Reading time: 0 minPublished on 22 April 2024

How to travel across France when you have a disability? Transportation, accessibility, certified accommodations, activities, and visits... explains how to prepare your stay to enjoy all the richness of experiences offered by the regions. More than 4,000 providers throughout France are certified under the label 'Tourism & Handicap' for their accessibility, and eight territories adhere to the label 'Destination for All,' promoting destinations that allow for an inclusive extended stay. Follow the guide to make the most of your vacation with accessibility and peace of mind!

Traveling Around in France

by train

Before planning a trip on SNCF lines, it is useful to consult the dedicated page:

A special fare is available for people with disabilities and their companions on most lines. The ticket is free for the companion on TER lines.

Before departure: Disabled and limited mobility passengers can benefit from a free accompaniment service to their seat on the train and on arrival. This service (Accès Plus) must be booked (by phone, internet or at SNCF counters and shops) up to 24 hours before the train's departure time and 48 hours if the journey includes a connecting TER. A free meet and greet and  accompaniment service to TER trains and coaches is also available. Please note that luggage can be delivered to your place of residence.

If you do not have an attendant, you can use a professional travel companion via the website created by SNCF and RATP (Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens). In Paris and the Ile-de-France region, the Andilien application facilitates accompaniment services on site according to your geolocation.

SNCF also offers a Domicile-train service with accompaniment from your placed ofr residence to the final destination (booking 14 days in advance for standard transport and 30 days for transport for persons with limited mobility) for journeys of up to 3 hours by TGV Inoui and Intercités.

For passengers with limited mobility (PMR), dedicated spaces are provided on board trains for traveling in a manual or electric wheelchair (with electrical outlet, tablet with grab bar, reading lamp, emergency button, "service" button and accessible toilets, in 2nd class on Intercités trains and in 1st class (at the price of 2nd class as well as for the 1st companion) on TGV Inoui trains. TER and Ouigo lines are also accessible to passengers with limited mobility (PMR) except Ouigo Train classique. On TGV Inoui and TER trains, companions must be over 12 years old, and on Ouigo trains over 18 years old.

For hearing-impaired passengers on TER lines, a communication service is available with subtitles, French Sign Language or French Signed Language Complemented from Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. (excluding public holidays) and weekends in TT (text to speech) only from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

it is advisable to check if the ticket counters at the station are equipped with hearing loops (indicated by a pictogram), allowing to pick up and amplify sounds emitted by an audio source (the agent) and filter out background noise.

For visually impaired passengers, all trains are accessible free of charge to guide dogs or assistance dogs, without the need to wear a muzzle provided the dog is trained. Some stations are equipped with sound beacons designed to aid navigation. These can be activated using a universal remote control, which must be acquired in advance (from municipalities or associations).

Additionally, specific facilities such as warning strips to alert of potential fall hazards and podotactile guidance strips, detectable with a white cane, are provided to assist passengers in navigating towards essential services within the station. Certain equipment also features raised relief and Braille information.

By Bus

Some companies provide facilities for passengers with disabilities, such as Flixbus and some regional companies.

On all Flixbus routes, it's possible to travel with a folded wheelchair stored in the luggage compartment on certain routes (which should be identified in advance). Boarding in a wheelchair is also possible on some routes. Reservations must be made 36 hours before departure. Accompanying persons travel for free.

Guide dogs for the blind or assistance dogs are allowed to travel for free on all routes with reserved seating

By Plane

Passengers with reduced mobility (PRMs) are entitled to assistance at airports (to be booked at least 48 hours in advance) and on board aircraft.

Visually and hearing impaired passengers also receive assistance during boarding and disembarkation, and guide dogs are allowed to fly in airplanes, wearing a muzzle and harness.

A medical clearance is required for individuals with intellectual disabilities traveling alone, and it is essential to check whether unaccompanied travel is permitted in general.

Air France has established a specific guide and dedicated assistance service for passengers with disabilities: +33 (0)9 69 36 72 77 or

Planning Your Stay

The website of the government-sponsored brand Tourism & Handicap provides all the necessary information to properly prepare your stay and identify accommodations, restaurants, and other dedicated services through an interactive map search engine.

The platform lists over 4,000 tourist locations in France bearing the Tourism & Handicap label, the official label certifying accessible facilities.

Moreover, eight territories adhere to the "Destination for All" label, promoting tourist destinations that allow for inclusive extended stays.

Many details about accessible locations and activities are also available on the websites of regional and departmental tourism committees, as well as tourist offices.

Other useful websites include Anaé, which manages three holiday centers in France, and Bienvenue à la Ferme, (Welcome to the Farm) which offers a search engine to find accommodations for travelers with visual, mental, auditory, or motor disabilities.

Planning Your Visit

What can you do when traveling with a disability? Almost anything! The offerings are increasingly diverse, whether in cities, mountains, or by the beach, allowing you to discover cultural heritage sites, engage in sports, or enjoy leisurely strolls...

At the Beach

Around 121 beaches and bodies of water in France (including overseas territories) are labeled 'Handiplage.' This label, created by an association aiming to serve all types of disabilities, is associated with the presence of several amenities, such as reserved parking spaces, water-accessible wheelchairs for individuals with limited mobility (PRMs), dedicated services (lifeguards and 'handiplage' staff), accessible toilets and showers, as well as an aquatic sound system for the visually impaired, among others.

Depending on the facilities available at the sites, individuals with disabilities can participate in activities such as subaquatic diving, land sailing (with adapted 'blokart' for PRMs), sailing, canoeing, kayaking, water skiing, and more. Originally created for autistic children, the association Handisurf has labeled 15 centers along the entire coastline, offering activities adapted to all types of disabilities.

In the Mountains

Contrary to popular belief, high mountain areas are accessible to individuals with disabilities, provided they are in good physical condition. For people with limited mobility PRMs, numerous sports are possible, including off-road wheelchair descents, gentle or competitive hiking, paragliding, sleigh rides or electric Joëlette rides, canyoning, rafting, and more. Around a hundred ski schools from the ESF are labeled 'Handiski' in France and welcome individuals with mental (autism and Down syndrome), visual impairments (with vocal guidance), and physical disabilities. Adapted equipment is provided for seated skiing, mono-skiing, bi-skiing, piloted skiing, etc.

La Plagne stands out as a pilot resort for its efforts to enhance accessibility for travelers with physical and mental disabilities. A dedicated section is available on the Tourism Office website Ski lessons are accessible to people with limited mobility ( PRMs) and the hearing impaired, with 5 instructors proficient in sign language, and specific courses are also organized. Dedicated equipment such as the Dualski and "Go to ski" are available, and the Olympic bobsleigh track is equipped for accessibility.

On the Go and in the City

The websites of regional tourism boards list service providers and sometimes comprehensive activity programs, such as Occitanie, which suggests four dedicated "fabulous journeys" bringing together activities and accessible sites for people with limited mobility along the coast, in the mountains, or in cities.

 Toulouse and three cities in Hérault, Mauguio Carnon, Balaruc-Les-Bains, and Colombiers Lespinan, are labeled 'Destination for All' for all four types of disabilities

In Nouvelle-Aquitaine, over 1300 service providers are labeled for accommodating travelers with disabilities Grand Dax Agglomération has received the 'Destination for All' label, as has Bordeaux for individuals with mental and physical disabilities Notably, the city has recently created two new guided tour circuits adapted for individuals with motor, visual, and auditory disabilities.

In Grand Est Contacts-Tourisme-et-Handicap-Grand_est.pdf, the brand new Stained Glass City in Troyes has implemented audioguides for the visually impaired, and two festivals are adapted: the Clin d’œil Festival in Reims, the International Festival of Arts in Sign Language, organized by Ciné Sourd, and the Constellations Festival in Metz, which offers "Image Whisperers" describing the mapping on the cathedral to visually impaired individuals.

In Hauts de France, Amiens is labeled 'Destination for All' for visual and motor disabilities, with a nearly 9 km loop in the city connecting accessible sites and facilities (including the House of Jules Verne and the Picardie Museum, labeled for all four types of disabilities) and offering adapted cycling transportation. Another 'Destination for All,' Dunkirk, offers accessible and on-demand free transportation, seaside resorts, adapted activities, and facilities, etc.

In the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, five tourist destinations (Aix-les-Bains, Clermont Auvergne Métropole, Evian, Pralognan-la-Vanoise, and Valence-Romans Agglo Tourisme) have signed the H+ Destination tourism charter, which references a comprehensive approach (accessible accommodations, restaurants, and activities, presence of references). Among the novelties, barefoot walks at the Chosal Farm in Copponex, Haute-Savoie, intended for the visually impaired, or a handicapped visit to the La Chaise-Dieu Abbey for individuals with visual, auditory, and/or mental disabilities, featuring two sensory visit circuits

In Île-de-France, for comprehensive information on conditions for visiting Paris with a disability, a very detailed section lists the main information and adapted offerings (accommodations, restaurants, sites)

See also, for Brittany, for Normandy, for Burgundy, and for Pays de la Loire.

Note the 'Culture Relax' concept: film screenings, concerts, opera, and theater performances adapted for individuals with disabilities (autism, multiple disabilities, intellectual, cognitive, psychiatric disorders, Alzheimer's disease) with around a hundred theaters across France."

By Wheeled World

Myriam and Pierre are a couple of disabled adventurers who explore France and the world to highlight adapted experiences. Passionate about nature and wide open spaces, they confront their limits every day to learn to overcome them and push back the physical and psychological barriers of disability.