Travelling around France with a disability

Making tourist sites fully accessible is essential for all French destinations today. The national labels ‘Tourisme & Handicap’ and ‘Destination pour tous’ provide info on accessibility in France and where it’s provided. Many associations also have regional or local initiatives in place to help.

Choosing your destination

Choosing the place where you want to go should always be above all a question of desire! France has the advantage of offering a wide range of destinations that allows everyone to find what they are looking for: mountains, sea or ocean, countryside, cities... There are many possibilities to fully enjoy your trip, whatever your desires at the time! We start with an overview of what exists, to help you choose.

Accessible destinations: where to find information?

In spite of an expanding inclusive tourism offer, it is sometimes difficult to find exhaustive and centralized information on the accessibility of destinations, as much on accommodation as on things to do or to see on site... Not easy, therefore, to choose the place where you want to spend your vacations! To get an idea, some sites are nevertheless at your disposal here (External link)

- Official websites of destinations

The websites of the regions, departments or municipalities in which you want to go sometimes provide information on this subject. If the information is not available in direct access (section inclusive tourism or tourism and disability on the homepage), it is sometimes enough to type "PMR" or "Handicap" in the search bar to obtain some useful results.

The websites of the French departments and regions are available

- Tourism labels

Two national labels allow the identification of places / destinations accessible to all types of disabilities, according to strict specifications:

  • The Tourism and Disability mark provides reliable, descriptive and objective information on the accessibility of tourist sites and facilities,
  • The Destination for All mark promotes a tourist destination that allows for an extended stay that is inclusive for all: tourist sites, urban planning, transportation, facilities...

Useful links:
Places labelled Tourism and Handicap (External link)
Territories labelled Destination for All (External link)

Specialized travel blogs

If you are in need of inspiration, you should know that there are travel blogs created by and for people in wheelchairs! In electric or manual wheelchairs, they explore the world and France: you will find in their articles destination ideas and advice to plan your stay, according to their experience.

Useful links (non exhaustive list) :
Handilol (External link)
I Wheel Travel (External link)
Roulettes et sac à dos (External link)
Wheeled World (External link)

What to do in France in a wheelchair?

- The mountains, in all seasons.

Contrary to popular belief, the French mountains are far from being inaccessible for people with reduced mobility! In summer as in winter, in the Alps as in the Pyrenees, you can live the mountain experience to the fullest:

  • From spring to autumn, you can enjoy hikes accessible to people with reduced mobility, a descent in an all-terrain wheelchair, rafting or canyoning, a paragliding flight or a kayaking trip,
  • In winter, you can ski on your own or with a tandem, and admire the snowy landscapes on Nordic skis or with sled dogs,
  • In all seasons, you can enjoy the rejuvenating pleasures of a balneo and the special atmosphere of the mountain chalets in the evening by the fire.

For outdoor activities, specific equipment is often necessary. Local associations and companies can provide it, sometimes free of charge: there is no lack of supply!

Some examples of what can be done:
All-terrain motorized quadricycle: where to find Swincar in France? (External link)
ESF : schools that offer handiskiing courses (External link)
Activ-handi (External link) , adapted experiences in the mountains, summer and winter
Annecy : a dog sledding experience (External link)
Loisirs Assis Évasion (External link) : activities and equipment adapted for the mountains in summer

- Recharge your batteries in the country.

There is nothing like a good green bath to disconnect! France is full of territories where it is good to live, close to nature and to discover a cultural heritage rich in history!

You can admire the majestic oaks of the Tronçais forest (External link) , you can enjoy a walk on one of the many greenways of France, on foot or by bike (External link) , you can explore the canals on board a houseboat (External link) , or you can discover the castles of the Loire (External link) ... An ideal relaxing stay to take time for yourself!

- Take the sea air.

You prefer sea spray to country air? No problem! There is no shortage of coastlines: the Mediterranean, the English Channel, the Atlantic... The diversity of coastal landscapes offers a wide choice of destinations.

If the beach in a wheelchair can be frightening, you should know that today there are many possibilities to enjoy it fully! The association Handiplage (External link) refers to accessible beaches and their equipment for getting into the water. Do you want to go for a ride in the waves? The association Handi Surf (External link) takes you to discover surfing adapted to all... From the natural spaces of the Somme bay (External link) to the turquoise waters of Corsica (External link) , discovering the French coastline in a wheelchair is definitely worth the detour...

__- Discovering the cities

Gastronomy, history, culture, architecture, art of living... In France, urban tourism is not lacking in attractions! Each city has its own specificity and each visit offers a lot of surprises and discoveries... You still need to know which places are accessible to you! Several sites can help you plan your city-trips.

  • Know where to go (External link) is a collaborative platform that lists accessible places of all types: accommodations, restaurants, museums, but also local shops for example. With its detailed selection criteria, it's a very useful source of data to organize oneself serenely!

More generic but still effective, the website (External link) offers a list of establishments and tourist sites stamped with a specific logo by type of disability, to indicate their accessibility. It is more extensive in the larger cities.

  • Knowing how to get there

Once you have identified the sites to visit, the question of how to get around the city arises. Beyond the accessibility of public transportation, it is often tempting to discover the city on foot to better enjoy it. If you are concerned about the accessibility of the roadway, you can use Streetco, a collaborative GPS application that allows you to geolocate obstacles on the public roadway, in real time (useful to avoid being blocked by a sidewalk under construction). The website (External link) also provides information on how to find the most suitable route for your disability in five French cities (Nice, Montpellier, La Rochelle, Rennes and Lorient).

Good to know: many cultural sites offer preferential rates for people with disabilities and their companions, often upon presentation of proof of disability (e.g., mobility inclusion card). Don't hesitate to ask for information in advance, on the website of the places you want to visit or by phone.

Going to the sun, in the overseas territories__.

If postcard landscapes make you dream, you will love to organize your stay in one of the French overseas destinations! Martinique, Guadeloupe, Reunion, Polynesia... With their relief and fine sand beaches, these destinations are often considered difficult to access for people with reduced mobility. Diving, access to beaches and natural parks, boat excursions, discovery of the fauna and flora... As in France, many possibilities are offered to you to discover the incredible setting that they offer!

Useful links

Martinique : itinerary and feedback (External link)
Martinique : places labeled Tourism and Handicap (External link)
Reunion Island : an inclusive platform to plan your trips (External link)
Guadeloupe : article resources for a stay accessible to all (External link)

A last useful link, all types of destinations included: if you are a nature lover, don't miss this site that references inclusive initiatives in French national parks (External link) ...