I’ve written a bit about the overview of my trip – but this blog focuses on what it was like to find somewhere to spend the night in Paris while disabled.
Travelling to Paris while disabled
When we looked at the train routes from London to Barcelona it could be done in a day. It seemed easier to get the train via Paris while disabled than to fly straight to Barcelona. With a very early Eurostar and the later of the two Paris-Barcelona trains, it’s possible to make the connection. You have about a 4 hour gap to travel an hour across Paris. However, the consequences of a delay would have been being trapped in Paris overnight with no hotel booking. With that in mind, we decided to just travel up one day to Paris, and onto Barcelona the next.
Finding a hotel in Paris while disabled
By doing this, we could also enjoy one late evening in Paris, and one early morning there, before travelling onwards. However, it also meant experimenting with another Paris hotel – Ibis Paris Bastille Opera 11ieme. The one we stayed in for our last trip (Ibis Styles Paris Lafayette Faubourg-Montmartre) was really not ideal. You could barely get my chair into the bedroom with the door closed. You also had to remove the toilet seat and lid for me to use it), but this hotel was marginally better.
Touring the hotel
The bedroom was a decent size. There was enough space for my chair. You would have just about been able to use a hoist (possibly needing elephant feet to raise the bed).
There was only one plug socket each side of the bed (plus two USB sockets). We were very glad to have brought an extension lead, so we could plug in and charge everything we needed to. The bed was also a decent size and very comfortable.
The hotel was clearly designed partly for people remote working, and there was a small desk-wardrobe combination. It looked very stylish, and actually offered a decent amount of storage space for setting up my meds etc.
The bathroom was a funny shape – very long. The shower didn’t have an inbuilt seat, and instead we were provided with a reasonably sturdy looking stool. For someone with good balance and upper body strength, this would probably have worked quite well. For me, it would not have been feasible. to do this. I would have had to use my chest strap to attach myself to the grab bar on the shower in order to stay upright safely.
The sink was a good size, and I could get underneath it.
The toilet was less ideal. As seems standard for French regulations, there were grab rails on one side, but there were no grab rails on the other side. This means that you would not be able to stay very stable on the seat at all. I was very lucky that I didn’t need to transfer to it at any time. It would have been a challenge, but had I had to, I would have had my chair parked on the other side to stabilise me.
The hotel itself was really pretty. They had gone for a wood and green theme. There were lots of plants, but also desk space set up to work remotely from the lobby area. None of that was at a great height for a manual wheelchair user. For an electric wheelchair with riser, it looked wonderful for getting my legs underneath it,
The hotel restaurant had good allergy labelling. While the vegetarian options were very limited, as my companion said “you only need one good one”. Apparently it looked and tasted great.
It was also well enough located that in the morning we could pack up our room and leave our possessions in left luggage. For 24 hours, it cost €4 for a large locker. If you’re using a locker, you need cash, but there’s a cashpoint at a Post Office 100 metres from the hotel.
This meant that we were able to leave our luggage and enjoy the location.
We chose the hotel because it was a 40 minute wheel from Gare du Nord (for the Eurostar). It was also 20 minutes from Gare du Lyon (for the Barcelona train). The neighborhood it was in had lots of small shops and supermarkets, with a nice vibe and a wide range of restaurants.
On the day we left, we headed out at about 09:00, checked out, and left our luggage. We then wandered down past a branch of Land & Monkeys – a great vegan patisserie chain, to a lovely fruit and vegetable shop by the Pompedieu called La Bonne Pomme. We headed along the Seine, and back up to collect our bags from the hotel, before heading to the station.
I can’t recommend the hotel wholeheartedly – because there were very obvious access issues, but I can say that I haven’t yet found anywhere better in Paris.