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How Easy Is It for the Elderly to visit Paris?

How Easy Is It for the Elderly to visit Paris?

May 17th, 2001, 09:01 AM
  #1  
Jean J.
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How Easy Is It for the Elderly to visit Paris?

I may be visiting Paris with my mom who is elderly-not disabled, but she does have trouble w/stairs and can't walk for miles without resting. Does the Paris metro have an elevator? I recollect it has lots of stairs. Does anyone have experience as/or with an elderly traveler? Thanks for any help.
 
May 17th, 2001, 09:18 AM
  #2  
ger
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Jean:

I was in Paris last August with my older sisters who are NOT elderly but have knee problems, which causes problems with stairs, and means they can't walk too far without rest! Here's what I learned after a challenging couple of days ....

- Inside the metro, there are usually elevators but getting down to the entrance, usually not. Also, transfering from one line to another can mean very long walks underground(I had NEVER noticed this before!)
- Budget for taxis, it is well worth the expenditure. Journeys are usually fairly short and I don't find the taxis very expensive.
- If you are touring on foot, make sure you plan for a sit-down every 60 mins or so for coffee, water, glass of wine
- Try to balance the day between walking and a sedentary occupation (e.g. walk in the morning around the Marais & Ile, take the boat on the Seine in the afternoon)
- Have a realistic schedule so as not to make her feel that YOU are missing out on something by having her there
- Check out if you can rent a wheelchair in the galleries and museums (although if she's anything like my Mum she won't be seen using one!) one of my sisters has found that using a walking stick helps her greatly when her knee acts up

What the trip taught me was that it is just as much fun to spend three hours at a side-walk cafe, gossiping and watching the world go by, as it is to rush around trying to see everything!

Have a lovely time.

Regards ... Ger
 
May 17th, 2001, 09:24 AM
  #3  
Peg
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Jean, I have one word for you...BUS. The system is marvelous. Not as fast as metro, but whose in a hurry? Just a couple of steps to get on and off and a nice view while riding. I hardly use the metro anymore! Peg
 
May 17th, 2001, 09:39 AM
  #4  
Ursula
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Jean: Try to avoid the very large metro stations, if you should decide to use it. There are endless tunnels to get the connection and to get out. the ones these in the center would be: Châtelet, Montparnasse, Concorde, Charles-de-Gaulle/Etoile. You can avoid them by choosing a different itinerary or by taking a taxi.
Do not plan too much for one day as Ger suggested. There is nothing better than just sitting in a café and watching the people go by.
Some museums stay open late 1 day a week, until 8 p.m. or so. Usually, after 6 p.m. there are far less people.
The big museums have elevators and benches where you can have a little rest.
You could take your mother to a concert in a church in the evening (Madeleine, St.Germain-des-Prés, St. Sulpice, Ste-Chapelle). They start either at 7.30 or 8 p.m. and are finished by 10 p.m.
Buy the weekly What's On for Paris "Pariscope" (all weekly events scheduled from Wed-Tue).
Whatever you will see is good. You may miss a must in most people's eyes, but you may see and discover "your" Paris.
Enjoy every moment!
 
May 17th, 2001, 09:44 AM
  #5  
Ursula
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Peg: Yes, the busses are great. I prefer them to the métro as well. The only problem might be, when you cannot get a seat for an elderly person. The busses are quite full, not only during rush hours.
 
May 17th, 2001, 09:47 AM
  #6  
Am I elderly?
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This is a question for all of you. What do you consider elderly? What age?
Thanks
 
May 17th, 2001, 09:53 AM
  #7  
elvira
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My mother with bum knees and I did Paris for a week. We didn't see any elevators in any of the metro stations we used, we had to use stairs.

Just take your time; don't worry about a jam-packed itinerary. We did a lot of sitting on parc benches and at sidewalk cafes; I never looked at the ceilings at Versailles 'til Mom needed to sit down - and looked up.

Talk about separating - if Mom's pooped and wants to take a nap, there's no need for you to hang around the hotel; if you want to do more souvenir shopping and she's draggin' her wagon, she can sit at a nice sidewalk cafe with a glass of wine or lemonade, and you can finish your shopping.

The Louvre has wheelchairs to borrow, of which your mother should take advantage. She'll be able to stay longer, with no guilt about cutting the visit short because she can't go on.
 
May 17th, 2001, 10:41 AM
  #8  
Am I elderly?
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Come on you folks. You have got to tell me what age is elderly? Remember, I might be elderly and I need to know very soon.
 
May 17th, 2001, 10:46 AM
  #9  
xxx
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Dear Am I

You are elderly when you think you are. I'm 59 and still trying to decide what I want to be when I grow up.
 
May 17th, 2001, 10:58 AM
  #10  
Am I elderly
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I will 'fess up'. I am 72, but I do all the things that you all seem to do--on, off metros, walk all day long without stopping, but maybe the numbers say I am elderly. I guess the word "elderly" might seem pejorative to some folks, (maybe to me).
 
May 17th, 2001, 11:23 AM
  #11  
Neva
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At 81, my little Lithuanian mama is definitely a senior and gets a kick out of referring to herself as "an old bat" in spite of the fact that she's cute as a dumpling. When I started posting here for travel suggestions, I called her "elderly" as shorthand for "has some trouble getting around but is ambulatory" (she's had a stroke, walks with a cane and tires easily). As far as I'm concerned, if you can get around without special provisions, you're ageless and the "elderly" tag is unnecessary. Prior to her stroke, mama could outdistance my sedentary butt with one leg tied behind her back. I wouldn't have needed to ask for extra tips on helping her enjoy travel without tuckering out. Now we avoid subways and (usually) busses and opt for taxis to help her conserve her energy for the stuff she really wants to see. By the way, she's a terrific travelling companion.
 
May 17th, 2001, 11:58 AM
  #12  
Jean J.
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Hi Everyone,

I really appreciate your responses and truly useful information. I guess by elderly I meant not as ambulatory as you would like to be-but my Mom will be 84 and I would love for her to see Paris even if we just sit at a sidewalk cafe for a few hours. Also, the idea of a walking stick is a good one because my mom is fiercely independent and would not use a wheelchair unless she had to. Also, thanks for the idea of busses and an evening church concert, etc. Thanks all!
 
May 17th, 2001, 12:46 PM
  #13  
ger
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Jean: your Mum sounds just like mine was, God bless her! When the pope came to Dublin she was not a well women (she died the following year) and the only way she could get in the "front pew" in the Pheonix Park for his mass was to sit in a wheelchair - she was appalled, but agreed reluctantly. On the way out after the mass, however, she refused to sit in the chair and walked alongside it all the way home (over an hour). My sister, who accompanied her, told us that, as she passed people, they blessed themselves and delared it a miracle by JPII!

"Am I elderly?", made me laugh! My sisters are only in their early 50s ... my "elderly" mother would have walked them into the ground in Paris! I hope that I have the same resolve when I reach her age.

Re Metros: sorry I meant ESCALATORS (which may or may not be going in the right direction) not elavators. As Ursula says, the BIG metros are the killer. For us, it was Montparnasse. On our way to a restaurant one evening (after one of my "let's see Paris in one day" tours) we had to change there. It took a good 10 mins of walking to get from one line to another. When we arrived at the other platform the signage said Montparnasse, of course, same as the platform we had left 10 mins before. It took a LOT of explaining (they thought I was playing a joke on them) to avoid being shoved under the oncoming train by loving sisters with sore knees!

Jean: re nice places to stop. Try the restaurant at the Pont D'Alma (where Princess Di was killed). In the evening, you have a great view of the Eiffle Tower and it is all lit up with "fairy lights" that flash every hour on the hour (tacky - yes, but a fun sight). Nice place to sit outside for a glass of vino (as we did for over four hours).

Regards .... Ger

 
May 17th, 2001, 12:56 PM
  #14  
ALW
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Re: Nice places to stop. The (famed) Deux Magots makes a MEAN cup of chocolate. And you get to see all sorts if you're into people watching.
 
May 17th, 2001, 03:28 PM
  #15  
Donna
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Here's another recommendation for the buses in Paris. The stops are more conveniently located and you don't have the stairways and hallways of the metro. There's a terrific bus routes map at www.ratp.fr (click on the British flag at the top for English). You can even plan your routes ahead of time at that website. And, you can print out each bus route to see exactly where the stops are located. It's best to select a hotel near an intersection serviced by half a dozen or more bus routes, with plenty of restaurants within a few blocks. For example, Place de l'Ecole Militaire (right next to Ecole Militaire metro stop on a map). There's also a L'Opentour stop there. L'Opentour stops are THE most convenient to all the tourist sights and attractions. There's a stop RIGHT at the foot of the finicular to Sacre Coeur, for example. And, riding in the open air top deck on a nice day is a fabulous way to see Paris (great for photo ops, too). Information and routes for L'Opentour may also be found at the RATP website. Some metro stations have escalators. Often going up out of a station, but not down into a station, and they are often out of service. But, don't forget about the long hallways, particularly when transferring from one line to another.
 
May 17th, 2001, 06:28 PM
  #16  
Ben Haines
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I have greatly enjoyed reading the loving and careful notes in this correspondence.

Ben Haines, London, aged 64
 
May 17th, 2001, 08:09 PM
  #17  
Am I elderly?
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Ben Haines, unfortunately, I am too old for you, but fortunately, I do have a healthy, "elderly" husband.
You folks are keeping me up past my bedtime.
 
May 18th, 2001, 04:09 PM
  #18  
AC
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Hi Jean:
I have traveled extensively with my Mom (twice to Paris) who will be 77 this month. She is in relatively good shape (thank God), she never complains but I have found that I have to be the one who suggests we sit and have a cup of coffee or wine. And she will always say "why you read my mind!" We do most of our travel by bus and she is always offered a seat. The stairs on the Metro can be daunting but we just take all the time she needs. BTW, I don't consider my Mom elderly just better traveled!
Have a great time with Mom and enjoy your trip to Paris!
 
May 24th, 2001, 09:29 AM
  #19  
Jean J.
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I wanted to thank all for their suggestions, but was trying to reach Ger. Ger, I tried your e-mail address, but it was returned. I just wanted to thank you for sharing your stories of traveling with your mum and sister in such a humorous way. Did you by any chance have any experience traveling to La Defense (as I may be staying there). I know that location is not as convenient as staying in Paris. Thank you.
 

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