However, even with all these things going for the city, it is one of the worst that I have come across in terms of transportation and accessibility. This would be a common sight in all metro stations that I had visited during my week in the city;
Just staircase after staircase with more around every corner you took.
While I was excited to get out and see the city at the start of each day, by the time that I had finally gotten through the many steps of the metro, I would be quite tired as I would need to use my arms as well as my legs to walk because of my crutches. This put quite a dampener on my trip as a whole as I would need to really think about which route would be the easiest.
While on my holiday there, I had seen a grand total of TWO lifts in a metro station. The first being at Bir-Hakeim [a metro near Tour Eiffel] and Gare du Nord. And I believe that they only have one at Gare du Nord because it would just be beyond pitiful and embarrassing if they didn’t have it there because of the Eurostar.
What’s even worse than me having to deal with the multitude of stairs in the city is that fact that people that use wheelchairs would essentially not have access to the metro as there are no ramps or lifts in sight, and even if there was they would have to contend with the turnstiles;
Not only did I have to make sure my crutches and any bags I was carrying didn’t get caught up in the spokes, I had to also push a door forward to get to the stairs that would surely be awaiting me. Not once did I see widened access for those with wheelchairs. This makes sense as there were no lifts in sight. But those with pushchairs, young children and lots of luggage had to deal with these obstacles also.
Another station, another set of stairs to the exit.
While there are many things about the city I find utterly amazing, Paris’ metro system gives no fucks about your disability or your situation. Excuse my French.
Actually, it does give a fuck, but in this particular order;
While we do have signs on buses and tube stations in London that advise which seats should be left for those less able to stand, it has never stated in which particular order people are allowed to have a seat. While disabled war veterans are at the very top, what of the people that have had a disability from birth or a very young age before they could even enrol for the army? Are they less deserving of a seat on the train?
A disabled war veteran, a pregnant woman and an old person get on a train…
With Paris being such a large population and millions of visitors every year from all over the world with different physical abilities, I would have just expected more than this. Much more.