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Traveling in Paris With a Wheelchair A Planning Guide and Trip Notes

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Thanks to all the Fodorites who helped me research my trip to France. This trip was with my brother, who is in a wheelchair, so it was a very different set of challenges from my previous European trips with my husband. This trip report is lengthy, and may not be of interest unless you deal with access issues, but may include a few observations that might prove useful to
someone traveling with reduced mobility.

Preplanning
1. Airline Info
The earlier you can make reservations, the better. We flew on Delta, and I was able to book bulkhead seats(not exit row) going over, but not for the return. The bulkhead gave more leg room for my brother, who is paralyzed on his left side, and helped us slide him into the on board wheelchair when he needed to use the toilet. The bulkhead seats for the return had all been
assigned to high level Skymiles members, so we were one row back. I did learn that the armrest next to the aisle can be unlocked and pushed up and out of the way to allow easier access, and also to allow the person sitting there to turn towards the aisle, allowing the inside passengers to get out as needed.

Be sure to confirm a day ahead that wheelchair assistance will be required, and specify whether the passenger can walk a few steps or must be totally in the wheelchair. Allow plenty of time for check-in, particularly at CDG, since they are limited in their accessibility, and must transport
wheelchair passengers to the plane on special lift vans. This takes a little longer than you usually expect. Getting through check-in and security actually moved a little faster; once I asked for help, we were moved to a side area that went faster than trying to push a luggage cart and a
wheelchair. I strongly recommend the wheelchair be checked as luggage, with any removable parts taped to the folded chair. On the trip over, the baggage handlers at CDG lost the right arm of his chair, which made his trip more difficult.

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