Il De Re – Wheelchair Travel on a French Atlantic Coast Island

June 4, 2015 in Adaptive Cycling, France, Wheelchair Walks

Ile De Re is all about beautiful sun bleached villages with green and grey shutters, donkeys in pyjamas (yes really) and flat, flat, flat, smooth surfaced car free cycle paths, lots of them criss crossing the island going from one flowery village to another with beautiful, salty, marshy, wilderness in between and fresh Oyster bars along the way.

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La Couarde Sur La Mer

Camping La Tour des Prises

This campsite is in the perfect location for access to some of the most beautiful car free cycle paths/wheelchair walks and I would definately return. It is in delightful countryside that is wheelchair accessible and located a short distance from several charming villages.  La Couarde Sur La Mer (1.5k) is an easy cycle ride or wheelchair walk away and also nearby Loix. The campsite is flat, there is wheelchair access to the reception area. The wheelchair accessible shower and toilet is spacious and clean. Lots of trees so enough shade on the pitches. There is a heated indoor pool with a ramp for access, (although there is a step down and up through the little ankle deep pool where you are supposed to shower) there is also a small ledge to step over to enter the covered pool area. Wifi is available throughout the site. The staff were friendly and helpful too. www.lesprises.com

La Couarde Sur La Mer Village and Accessible Beach

A beautiful village with cafes, food shops, cycle hire etc and even a Carrefour supermarket and a theatre/cinema. The beaches are lovely and I found that Peu Ragot beach has a concrete ramp onto the beach. At low tide we found the sand to be firm enough to take the wheelchair bike for a roll on the beach, I think it would have been fine with the wheelchair too, at least to get onto the beach and get near the Sea.

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There is a wheelchair accessible toilet at the beach entrance with a green roof!

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Handisport were having a 2 day cycling event with 80 people of different abilities participating in a race around the Island. There were blind people riding tandems, different handbikes, trikes, wheelchair bikes etc. Ile De Re is the perfect place for it!

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Loix

The cycle path from our campsite to Loix was such a beautiful ride!

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loix, il de re, cycle path, car free, wheelchair, travel, handicap, holidayOyster beds, quaint village port, wildflowers, wildfowl and beautiful marshy sea views followed by fruity french tarts (Place des Delices) in another flowery village.

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Saint Martin De Re

Wheelchair biking from our campsite to Saint Martin on the beautiful piste cyclable along the coast of Il De Re. We passed oyster bars with amazing views of the sea. Saint Martin is the capital of the Island and is set around a marina. It’s much busier than the other villages with many places to eat out. There are cobbles, don’t worry they are not the worst kind (its totally doable), I found the other villages smoother for getting around though.

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Arriving just before the Saint Martin market closed, we bought some food and took a picnic to the park to hang out near the donkeys in pyjamas. A local artist who we met in La Couarde told us about the donkeys carrying heavy loads of oysters and salt through the marshes in the past. He said the special culottes were made to stop the mosquitoes biting their legs.

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More Il De Re Wheelchair Travel Info…

Wheelchair Bike Hire

I took my own bike but you can rent a wheelchair bike (velo pousseur) from La Maison des Velocipedes, 14 Quai de Bernonvile, Saint Martin De Re.  Rental is 35 Euros per day. You should book in advance as they only have one. Tel. +33 5 16 19 14 94.

This map is free at tourist information and cycle shops or available to download.

 

Wheelchair Bike Rides

The more peaceful & idyllic routes (totally away from main roads) are between Saint Martin and La Couarde on the coast, then onto Loix, Ars En Re and Phare Des Baleines. The forest path between Phare Des Baleines and Les Portes En Re is beautiful, the main road is nearby on some on some of it so you get some traffic noise. On the way back you can ride peacefully through the oyster beds. The paths on the right side of the island are still car free but many are nearby the main roads.

Wheelchair Walks

People are walking on the cycle paths too, with over 100k of smooth surfaced flat paths its perfect for a roll and stroll.

La Flotte

We also visited La Flotte which is a very pretty village with many places to eat overlooking the harbour or the sea. We had crepes and then enjoyed a wheelchair walk along coast.

Il De Re Accessible Beaches

La Flotte tourist information advised me that you can hire a beach wheelchair from La Flotte town hall for use on the beach.

We didn’t visit Le Bois Plage en Re but looks like  Plage Des Gollandieres has great access with ramp, walkway and wheelchair bathing chairs (tiralos)

Rivedoux Plage is very well set up for wheelchair users with ramp access, beach and bathing wheelchairs, for more info see www.holidays-iledere.co.uk/plan/sights-culture/441563-plage-sud—rivedoux-plage

 

 

 

Wheelchair Bike Hire in Europe

April 23, 2014 in Adaptive Cycling, France, Netherlands, UK

wheelchair bike, wheelchair tandem, duet, rollfietsWheelchair biking is a fun way to enjoy cycling if you are mobility impaired and don’t have the arm strength for a handbike.  Here are a few links I’ve come across for wheelchair bike hire in Europe.

 

 

 

Belgium

An excellent pdf showing some of the adapted bike hire opportunities in Belgium www.accessinfo.be/fileadmin/bestanden/docs/Cycling.pdf

France

In France wheelchair bikes are known as Velo Adapte or Rollfiets.

Near the Swiss border Colibrius rent a range of adapted cycles at Brognard, Pays-de-Montbeliard www.colibrius.fr

La Rochelle, North of Bordeaux www.maisondesvelocipedes.fr/?page_id=15

Netherlands

De Hoge Veluwe National Park has wheelchair bikes available free of charge www.hogeveluwe.nl

Star Bikes Rental Amsterdam has a wheelchair bike available for 18 euros a day

Near to Zaanse Schans and De Rijp you can rent a wheelchair bike for 20 euros a day in Wormer at fietsverhuurwormer.nl 

www.rolstoelgebruiker.nl is a dutch website, this link has 4 bike rental companies who rent wheelchair bikes in the Netherlands.

Spain

In Barcelona they have the funky Batec which are worth checking out.  An electric bike that clips onto your wheelchair.

 

United Kingdom

Go to this blog post Where to Rent a Wheelchair Bike in the UK for a list of rentals, traffic free paths and links for throughout the UK.

 

Please add more Europe Wheelchair Bike info in the comments

Paris Wheelchair Travel

February 18, 2014 in France, Wheelchair Walks

Eurostar Wheelchair Access

To get in the mood we had a croque mademoiselle (french style vegetarian toasted sandwich) in the departure area at London St Pancras International. The Eurostar info desk has free Paris tourist maps and they also sell a carnet of 10 metro/bus tickets for Paris. Boarding onto the train was smooth, they have very large ramps and platform assistance. The bonus with the wheelchair user and companion tickets is that you get to travel in standard premier class. The tickets include a light breakfast or meal. There is a detachable table at wheelchair height for dining.

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Upon arrival at Gare du Nord Station in Paris there was a large ramp and platform assistance. Once off the platform and in the main station we did a lot of running around trying to find the disabled toilet. There were no signs for it and no-one seemed to know where it was.  However the mystery is now solved thanks to Sarah from Eurostar.

- From Eurostar arrivals you turn left towards the Metro/RER side of the station.
- Cross over the wooden bridge
- Continue straight ahead to toilets with disabled access (in French Toilettes PMR – Personne de mobilité réduite).

 

Please see the map below:

Disabled toilets in Gare du Nord Station Paris

On the way back you have to go through security at Hall Londres. It’s upstairs in Gare du Nord Station and there are 2 lifts at the west side of the station.  In Gare du Nord there is step access to the bus station. Wheelchair users need to go out of the station to the left and walk around the block to reach the bus station.

www.eurostar.com

Wheelchair Accessible Hotel In Paris

We stayed at the lovely Hotel Relais Bosquet, 19 Rue Champ de Mars. Our accessible room was on the ground floor, it has step free access (there was a step but they had it removed in 2009) and wide doors. The room is stylish, modern and a lovely place to relax after a busy day in the city. I slept really well in the fabulously comfy queen size bed.  Paris rooms can tend to be small but there was ample space to move around in the wheelchair and the bathroom was very generous. There is an accessible sink, roll in shower, shower stool, a grab bar by the toilet and a heated towel rail. Other feature in the room are TV, trouser press, tea and coffee making facilities, desk, wardrobe, ironing board & iron, hairdryer, electronic safe, fridge, mini bar and FREE WIFI! Oh and a radio which we had permanently tuned to FIP, my favourite french radio station.

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The breakfast buffet has fantastic fresh bread and pastries from the famous bakery of Mr Menardin, there is also an array of juice, jam, cakes, pancakes, cheeses, cold meats, sausage and eggs etc. Teas and coffee are served in charming crockery.  www.hotel-relaisbosquet-paris.com

There are some wonderful photos and Paris suggestions on their Facebook page which I wish I had discovered before the trip. You can also access a Facebook fan preferential rate if you like their page.

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Paris Food

Rue Cler


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The Hotel Relais Bosquet is just off Rue Cler, a pedestrianised street that buzzes with french cafe bars and french foodie shops.  Pattiseries, ice cream shop, fromagerie, fresh produce grocers etc. We had melt in the mouth quiches from the patisserie  and beautiful goats cheese from the fromagerie. Rue Cler is a cobbled street, however they are not the severe kind. Let’s call them mild cobbles. The pavements and the wide gutters are smooth, so you only have to go on the cobbles here and there.

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Cafe Constant

wheelchair travel, paris, wheelchair access, rue cler, cafe constantThis place has a good reputation and was not far from the Hotel. It has 1 step to enter, is quite small, has no disabled toilet and sometimes you have to queue, but it’s worth it. The staff are charming and helpful and the atmosphere is friendly and relaxed. The food is very satisfying simple french comfort food. They are especially famous for their desserts, we had a delicious meringue floating in a sauce with almonds.  www.maisonconstant.com/cafe-constant

 

Carette

For a special treat we had tea and tiny cakes at Carette. They serve beautiful artisan cakes and macarrons. It’s a bit pricey at 20 euros for a coffee, an orange blossom infusion and 5 petit fours, although it is served in a lovely tea set and the cakes are adorable. Atmosphere is nice, excellent service, accessible step free entrance and a disabled toilet. We were trying to see the view from the top of Trocadero Gardens which is not accessible from the Eiffel Tower side. A friendly gardener took us up around the side of Palais de Chaillot to reach the fab view. Then it poured down, Carette was a great place to escape the heavy rain!  www.carette-paris.com/uk

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Paris Accessible Attractions On A Rainy Day

The Louvre

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Enter via the Pyramid. No need to queue, as a wheelchair user you are given priority at the entrance. There is an attendant operated lift that takes you down to the reception hall. When you are in the lift between ground floor and the main hall don’t forget to look up and see the spiral.

Wheelchair users and their companion can enter the Louvre free of charge. Pick up a free plan specifically for those on wheels. This shows which lifts to use and where the secret doors are.

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It’s so massive, it can get quite confusing locating the correct lifts etc, but the good thing is that there are plenty of staff throughout the museum who can assist with directions.

As a wheelchair user I was allowed to go behind the barrier of the Mona Lisa (prime position) in front of the massive crowd of tourists.

www.louvre.fr/en/accessibility

Opera Garnier

Belle epoque extravagant architecture. The Opera Garnier is where you can see the ballet or visit this building just to see the grand interior.  Visits are free for wheelchair users and their companion. Initially we did have a problem finding someone who knew where the secret wheelchair lift was. After being passed around 3 different desks, finally assistance showed up with the key to the mystery lift.  The toilets are in the cloakrooms inside the Opera house, there is no separate unisex disabled toilet, you find it inside both the women’s and men’s toilet. My PA was slightly embarrassed having to take me inside the women’s toilets ;)

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Galeries Lafayette

After hiding from the rain in Opera Garnier we rolled across the road to Galeries Lafayette, a huge department store. It’s accessible and has lifts to all floors. I was heading for the Gourmet Food Hall to check out the tasting bars. But we didn’t find it as we were in the wrong building. I didn’t realise that Galeries Lafayette was spread over 3 buildings! So for next time…Lafayette Gourmet is in the Lafayette Homme building on the 1st floor.  www.haussmann.galerieslafayette.com/en/food-shopping-at-lafayette-gourmet/

The Seine

Berges De Seine – Paris Wheelchair Walk

This is an awesome, smooth surfaced, car free, wheelchair walk along the River Seine. There are ramps dotted along this walk. We started at Quay Branly near the Eiffel Tower and rolled and strolled all the way to Pont Royal just across from the Louvre. Berges De Seine used to be a road but they closed it to cars and created a more inviting riverside environment for pedestrians and cyclists. There are floating gardens, bike hire, a giant blackboard with chalks provided, lots of activities are available like ping pong, chess and all kinds of workshops, further on we danced in a disco installation underneath one of the bridges, they call it the sound shower, under Pont de la Concorde. There are also disabled toilets nearby built into the side of the wall under the street level, it has a long ramp for access. www.lesberges.paris.fr/en/

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Paris Wheelchair Accessible Boat Rides

We took a Bateaux Parisian 1 hour cruise as they are nearer to the Eiffel Tower. Wheelchair users have priority boarding, so no queuing. Leaving at twilight, we cruised down the Seine as Paris began to light up in the dark. Fantastic way to see Paris by night, very pretty and relaxing evening activity. A bit further up and across the river is Bateaux Mouche, another large boat company who are also wheelchair accessible. www.bateauxparisiens.com and www.bateaux-mouches.fr/en

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What A View Of Paris

Montparnasse Tower

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Fantastic views of Paris from this skyscraper. The visitor centre on the 56th floor is very spacious and accessible, with stunning views. There is a cafe, disabled toilets inside the male and female toilets and lots of interactive screens that point out the buildings and monuments below. Wheelchair users pay 7 euros and companions full price. This makes sense as there is also a roof terrace but it’s only accessible by stairs. www.tourmontparnasse56.com/en/

Eiffel Tower

Our Hotel was only a 10 minute walk from the Eiffel Tower so we saw it everyday. A great sight, it has a kind of cheerful shape, almost clownish. We didn’t go up the Eiffel Tower, I’m saving that for next time. It is wheelchair accessible up to the 2nd level at 400 feet which apparently has the best views because you are closer to the sights. www.tour-eiffel.fr/en/preparing-your-visit/rates-and-visiting-conditions.html

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How Is Paris For A Wheelchair User?

Paris Wheelchair Travel On The Streets

Let’s be honest the drop kerbs in Paris are not the seamless smooth sailing kind. The pavements slope down sometimes steeply and usually have a lip on them, then the road slopes up to the centre and back down again, back over the lip and up the pavement slope. There are also cobbles in certain areas (I avoided those places) and patchy pavements. It’s all totally doable but if you are self propelling or are the companion pushing a wheelchair then you need to be fit. A bit bumpy but worth it.

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Paris Wheelchair Travel On The Bus

Paris has an excellent bus system. The buses routes are all wheelchair accessible according to infomobi. We used them to get around Paris and they were great!

We did have to wait a bit longer at one stop since the first bus had a broken ramp. Then the next bus went off duty and told everyone to get off half way up Boulevard de Sebastapol. That’s when we learned that it’s probably a good idea to leave extra time when heading back to Gare du Nord for your departing Eurostar. We did make it after racing through the streets, my PA now skilled at Paris drop curbs, but only because our Eurostar was delayed!

For more info about all of the Paris transport network go to www.infomobi.com/en/

Dordogne Wheelchair Travel Tips Anyone?

November 8, 2012 in Adaptive Cycling, France, Wheelchair Walks

The Dordogne is a beautiful region but from what I’ve seen so far it wouldn’t be the first place I’d recommend as a great wheelchair travel destination.  The greenways (voie verte car free paths) are lovely. The historic architecture is fascinating.  Our campsite was great. I just didn’t really find any riverside wheelchair access worth reporting and some of the information I received was misleading.  It’s a big region, so maybe I have missed out on some great accessible areas and attractions?  Dordogne wheelchair holiday tips are welcome. Please comment below if you can add anything to my findings.

Accessible Camping Near Sarlat

Nice campsite. Great pool. We were pitched very near the facilities which have a disabled toilet and shower.  The entrance to the pool is wheelchair accessible. It’s one of those where you have to get pushed through the shallow water to get in.  I wouldnt have been able to reach the lock on the gate to the pool either without assistance. There is also a cafe with internet access. While being out in the country, Camping Les Acacias is in a great location for trips to Sarlat and is near to the greenway (voie verte). You can drive to the nearby Vialard entrance and park right next to the car free path.

 

 Sarlat

Wheelchair access, Sarlat, DordogneSarlat has some impressive old buildings. The main tourist bit is fairly flat but moderately bumpy. We are not talking full on cobbles, but the surface is quite bumpy in some places.  It’s a good place to visit if you love historic buildings and don’t mind a bit of wheelchair vibration.  Eventually I opted to stay in one place and people watch.

 

Wheelchair travel, Sarlat, DordogneSarlat, Dordogne, wheelchair access

 

 

Domme

Nice place to visit.  The drive up was quite steep, the village is perched on a hilltop. There is disabled parking and toilets near the main square.  Adjoining the square is a long balcony with lovely views of the valley and beyond.  This is the main attraction. There are tourist shops, ice creams etc and restaurants. We couldn’t stray too far from the square due to the steep slopes but it was definitely worth a visit for the fabulous views.

Domme, Dordogne, wheelchair access

Wheelchair Accessible Gardens?

Les Jardins Suspendus du Marqueyssac

I wanted to visit Marqueyssac but I was advised against it by the receptionist at the campsite. He said that the paths were too steep for the wheelchair and that I would have problems.  He said that Eyrignac would be better. Also the Eyrignac brochure had the “Tourisme at Handicap” label so I decided to take his advice.  I also just read a thread in a France forum about Marqueyssac having brand new disabled toilets halfway up the steepest hill imaginable, so maybe he was right.

 Jardins du Manoir d’Eyrignac

Jardins du Manoir d'Eyrignac Wheelchair access infoJardins du Manoir d'Eyrignac, Dordogne, Wheelchair access infoDisappointed. I chose to visit these gardens because they have the “Tourisme et Handicap” label, so I had expectations.  Have Tourisme et Handicap even been there? And if so, did they notice the GRAVEL !!??  My carer managed it but we did see an elderly man struggling to push his wife in a wheelchair.  It’s often much easier to push a wheelchair up a steep hill on a smooth surface than it is to push on the level through gravel.  There is also a couple of widely spaced steps to the gardens in the photos.  So why no ramp? Or why not move a bench to easily make a side entrance with access?  A lot of the gardens are not accessible even to the able bodied as mentioned in this comment I found on the net ”Eyrignac was too formal, lacked plants and a lot fenced off to public. They said there was wheelchair access but it was very limited and gravelly”  So why advertise it as wheelchair accessible when it’s not?  Okay rant over.

Wheelchair Walks & Wheelchair Bike Rides

Vialard to Aillac

The best thing about this area for me was the greenway (voie verte).  We accessed the greenway from Vialard and then rode to just past Aillac.  We didn’t carry on past there as there was a really steep bit.  So we turned back and then went down over the river on the bridge towards Grojelac.  The ride back to Vialard was up hill on the way home.

Voie Verte, Aillac,  Dordogne, wheelchair travelVoie Verte, Car free Bridge, Dordogne, wheelchair walk

 

Calviac to Peyrillac

The best day out we had in the Dordogne was on the greenway between Calviac and Peyrillac.  It was mainly flat and smooth and the access onto the path was good at Calviac.  A great day out in the countryside, gliding alongside the elusive river, past villages, cornfields, the old station of Carlux and at one point through an old tunnel which was lovely and cool inside in contrast to the heat of the baking hot sunny day outside.

Voie Verte, Dordogne, wheelchair travelVoie Verte, Dordogne, wheelchair walks

 

 

 

 

 

 

I really enjoyed our wheelchair bike rides on the voie verte.  These car free paths are a great resource for easy access wheelchair walks. We did find that a few of the access points are too steep for wheelchairs though.  A map with the wheelchair access points (like the one they have in Burgundy) would be very useful.  On the map below the green line is the greenway and the red line is the road.

voie verte map dordogne wheelchair walks on greenways

 

Dordogne

Local Community Protecting The Countryside

anti fracking banner dordogneOn the way back from one our wheelchair bike rides, we came across an anti fracking banner drop in one of the old villages. At first I was alarmed to be reminded of the threats to our agriculture, ecology and ground water from Hydraulic Fracturing. But later found that Fracking is still banned in France, it was just a politically engaged community staying vigilant.  I hope the people of the UK will be just as vigilant in protecting our countryside in the coming months. If you haven’t heard of Fracking yet, you can watch the documentary Gasland on Youtube, also Britain & Ireland Frack Free and Frack-off.org are good resources for the UK.

 

Dordogne Wheelchair Travel Tips Welcome

We still had a great time in the Dordogne despite the access issues. The weather was great and we made the most of it.  If you know any accessible attractions worth recommending please share with us. Dordogne wheelchair holiday tips are very welcome.

 

Your email will never be shared.
 

Accessible Travel Lake Bourget & Aix les Bains

October 31, 2012 in Adaptive Cycling, France, Wheelchair Walks

Lake Bourget France

Wheelchair travel in the French Alps is easier than you think. Lake Bourget didn’t disappoint my hopes of accessible outdoor fun in fabulous surroundings.

Wheelchair Walks & Cruises

Lakeside Promenade

Wheelchair travel esplanade du lac, Aix, Lake BourgetThe Esplanade du Lac in Aix les Bains is a romantic tree lined, lakeside promenade. From Petit Port to Grand Port there is a long stretch of smooth wide path. After Grand Port there is a small beach Plage Memars and Vagabond Gardens, some of which is good for wheelchair users.

Voie Verte

There is a new greenway (voie verte) cycle path that runs alongside the lake which is perfect for wheelchairs. It’s smooth and wide with glorious views. We rode from Aix les Bains to Les Mottets and back (on the new wheelchair bike) along this route. The path is near the road so it is a bit noisy sometimes, but the path is usually below the road (so noise is lessened) and does veer away into lovely lakeside park areas. Views of the lake make it very worthwhile.

wheelchair walk, voie verte, lake bourget, france

 

The greenway around Lake Bourget is perfect for wheelchair walks.

 

Site des Mottets, Lake Bourget, wheelchair walk

Site des Mottets

This is a large park that leads to a lakeside beach. Reedbeds, moorhens, ducks and wild rabbits give it a nice wildlife feel. The paths are easy access and compressed gravel suface. There are disabled toilets and barbeque areas. It is next to a small marina and a nature reserve. It also has a duck pond, skate park and kids playground.

 

Cruise on the lake

Wheelchair accessible boat rides are available to Savieres Canal, Lake Bourget and Rhone River. www.bateauxcanal.com & www.compagniedesbateauxdulac.fr

Mount Revard

Mount Revard wheelchair access rhone alpsMount Revard viewing platform, disabled travel rhone alps

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scenic alpine drive and panoramic views anyone?  Le Revard Bellevedere is good day out for wheelchair users. On the drive up we enjoyed the picturesque alpine vistas. Cows with bells jingling on the grassy slopes, layers of mist floating amongst pines, conifers and ski chalets looking cosy with their stacks of wood ready for the winter.  At the top is a large car park, restaurant, shop, disabled toilet and 3 wheelchair accessible viewing platforms. If you go on a clear day the views of Aix les Bains, Lake Bourget, Mont Blanc and the surrounding Alps are astonishing. The glass floor viewing platform definitely enhances the feeling of being on the edge!  The paths between the platforms are easy access compressed gravel.

Chanaz

wheelchair walk chanaz, Lake Bourget, Rhone AlpsChanaz, Lake Bourget, French Alps

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Aix les Bains we took a drive around Lake Bourget for a day out in the quaint canal side village of Chanaz.  There are disabled parking bays in the village.  On the other side of Canal de Savieres there is more parking and a lovely canal side path which is perfect for wheelchairs or wheelchair tandems. Here we soaked up the lovely view of the village with its turquoise/ jade canal while the fishermen sat on the banks waiting for a catch.

Veloroute Near Chanaz

velo route chanaz to les mures, rhone alpsvelo route chanaz to les mures, french alps

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Chanaz we rode the wheelchair bike on the veloroute to Les Mures and back, alongside the Rhone. It was peaceful and mostly car free.  Although the long flat bit was a bit monotonous, it was very scenic (and hilly) between L’Ecoincon and Les Mures.

Wheelchair Access In Aix les Bains

wheelchair access aix les bainsWheelchair users may need assistance in the town due to the slopes. The town gardens are smooth and accessible. In the pedestrian shopping area and around the roman arch, the surface is often stone tiles which are only slightly bumpy.  Fancy a dip in the public hot springs? Visit Thermes Nationaux d’Aix les Bains. Entrance to the thermal pool, hammam and sauna is wheelchair accessible and costs 19euros per person per day.  There is disabled parking in the underground car park and there is a lift to all floors.

Aix les Bains Accessible Accomodation

Although they didn’t have any printed accessibility info, the woman at the Tourist Office www.aixlesbains.com was helpful and encouraged me to email accueil@aixlesbains.com for any further info.

Camping Alp’Aix  is a lovely spot for trees and birds.  It’s fairly peaceful and is very near to the Esplanade. It has smooth paths and a basic disabled toilet.

Campings du Sierroz is a bigger campsite with disabled facilities and is also near the esplanade. They also have a wheelchair accessible static caravan for hire.

 

 

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Wheelchair Travel On The Greenways In Burgundy

October 31, 2012 in Adaptive Cycling, France, Wheelchair Walks

Burgundy’s Accessible Greenways

voie verte  Santenay to Nolay, burgundy  Santenay to Nolay Voie Verte vineyards  wheelchair bike, wheelchair tandem on voie verte burgundyvoie verte map

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you look on this tourist map of the Voies Vertes, you will see miles and miles of smooth surfaced, accessible and car free countryside paths in Burgundy.  They have even marked which access points are wheelchair accessible.  This is the main reason I wanted to visit this area. To get out in the countryside in my wheelchair or on the wheelchair bike and hear the birds twittering while watching the vineyards turn golden in the autumn sunlight.  We only managed a fraction of the Burgundy car free paths as there is so much to go at. We stuck mainly to the Santenay area and surrounds. There is so much more to explore on future wheelchair travel trips.

Wheelchair Walks and Wheelchair Tandem Biking

Santenay to Nolay

It’s a Gentle uphill slope nearly all the way to Nolay. We passed vineyards, charming villages, lush and abundant rolling hills and bucolic vistas. Towards the end there are 2 viaducts with wide views. We turned back towards Santenay after the first one and glided back downhill all the way back to camp.

Santenay to Nolay Voie Verte wheelchair travelSantenay to Nolay Voie Verte wheelchair access

 Chagny to near Chalon sur Saone

This is an old tow path alongside the canal. It has quiet locks, lockmaster houses decorated with flowers, barges and house boats.  Cruise boats passed us by and then even WE overtook them. Went past huge fields and tiny smallholdings, met cows, donkeys, chickens, sheep, geese and lots of cats. Nice and smooth, mostly flat apart from short slopes at the locks.

wheelchair walk, Chagny to Chalon Burgundy voie verteChagny to Chalon voie verte cycle path burgundy

 Santenay to St Leger sur Dheune

We saw lush emerald countryside, white cows, charming canal side gites, roller bladers and more canal cats. We learned the art of pique-nique (we brought tasy nibbles) and stopped at canal side benches for snacks. Gliding alongside the ducks and fish, we were easily overtaken by the Tour de Francers (men who dress up in serious cycle gear).  We rescued a tiny snake on the path. Another cyclist asked where to find a wheelchair bike for his handicap daughter. Luckily, the creaky pedal (that became a wobbly pedal when oiled) waited until the end of the trip before needing attention.

santenay to st leger voie verte burgundywheelchair travel, santenay to st leger, voie verte burgundy

 Burgundy Scenic Drives

Mountain of the 3 crosses, Santenay, Burgundy

Montagne des Trois Croix

I enjoyed the scenic drive up the Montagne des Trois Croix, but sadly the viewpoint at the top is a no go for wheelchair users. It’s only a 5 minute walk up, so I sent my carer up to enjoy the 360 degree views while I waited in the car park.

Route des Grands Crus

Driving from Santenay to Beaune through the vineyards on charming country lanes. This is the wine tasting route where you pass through rustic villages and a sea of grape vines as far as you can see.

Scenic drive, Route des Grands Crus, BurgundyBeaune

We drove into the centre and saw the hardcore cobbles and skinny pavements.  It looked like a wheelchair disaster zone, so we headed straight out again. Someone with more patience or enthusiasm might be able to chart a wheelchair travel route through this place, but it wasn’t gonna be me on that particular day!  Instead we enjoyed the sunset scenic drive back through the sea of grapes on the Route des Grands Crus.

Santenay

Santenay Village

The village square in Santenay has good parking and access. Nearby there is a small Vival supermarket, but you might have to go up and down the curbs to enter, as the pavement is a bit skinny near the entrance. Further up the hill from the main square the pavements get thinner, but there are no cobbles. If you want to investigate further in your wheelchair you might need to go on the road.

You don’t need a watch in Santenay, just listen to the bells if you want to know the time.

Santenay wheelchair access BurgundySantenay wheelchair access travel Bugundy

 Accessible Accomodation

camping des sources, santenay, burgundyCamping des Sources has large pitches, most of them on flat ground. There are disabled facilities, you will need to get the key from reception. Set amongst the vineyards in a green and lush environment, it’s friendly, peaceful and has lovely trees. This campsite is in a great location as it’s not far from the village and very near to the Greenways (car free paths).

Santenay tourist office website is www.ville-de-santenay.fr/

 

 

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Wheelchair Tandem Biking

October 15, 2012 in Accessible Days Out, Adaptive Cycling, France, UK

Guest Article For Tourism For All UK

Marina from www.wheelchairaccesstravel.com shares her experiences of wheelchair tandem biking.

Wheelchair Bikes for Hire

I am really excited about wheelchair bikes right now, since having so much fun being peddled around the countryside.  If you’ve never had a go, I highly recommend it.  So much so, that I compiled a list of bicycle hire shops in the UK where you can rent a Wheelchair Tandem near a car free cycle path.

wheelchair bike, wheelchair tandem, rollfiets, adapted cycle,

Types of Wheelchair Bikes

There are different types of adapted cycles for people with different disabilities.  My physical condition means that I’m unable to exert myself at all, so even a hand bike is out of the question.  With the wheelchair tandem, once I’m on the bike I just sit back and enjoy the ride.  My carer Karl is already developing thighs of steel.

On the net I found  various wheelchair bikes  including the “Duet” Wheelchair Tandem (which is known as “Rollfiets” in Europe), the Draisin Plus, the O Pair and the Van Raam.   I have only tried out the Duet so far, but after  2 wonderful  wheelchair tandem rides in Devon this summer, I was hooked.  Wanting more, I scoured the web for a wheelchair bike to hire near my home in Sussex, but to no avail……………….continue reading at Tourism For All UK

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Mountain Wheelchair Travel in Chamonix Mont Blanc

October 13, 2012 in Adaptive Cycling, France, Wheelchair Walks

Wheelchair Travel Chamonix Mont Blanc

Chamonix is exciting, even for wheelchair users. Starting at the tourist office, there is a lowered desk at wheelchair height, which is always a good sign. They gave me a special info pack (also available online ) with their accessibility information. They also advised me on which cable cars were open and answered my questions.  Very friendly and helpful staff.

Wheelchair Accessible Cable Car Ride to Aiguille du Midi, Chamonix Mont Blanc

Warning: This is Europe’s highest cable car at an altitude of 3842m. I found it more difficult to breathe at this altitude. Physically fit, strong, healthy carer required (it wasn’t just me who was out of breath).  Ascend at your own risk.

Wheelchair Travel & Accessible Cable Car, Aiguille du Midi, Chamonix, Mont BlancWheelchair Travel, Aiguille du Midi, Chamonix Mont Blanc

 

 

 

 

 

 

We went straight to the information desk outside of the station.  The woman who served us should get an award for being friendly, knowledgeable about the access and super helpful. She explained which areas were wheelchair accessible, then went to the front of the large queue and bought our tickets for us. Next, she left us at the front of the departure gate queue, while she got our tickets swiped for boarding. As a wheelchair user I got boarding priority to all the cable car journeys.

The first part is the cable car to Plan de Aiguille. There is no wheelchair access to the viewing area here, so we just changed here to the cable car up to Aiguille du Midi. At the top station I had a dizzy spell. I felt quite giggly, but very weak and thought I might drop dead from altitude sickness.  I survived by doing some deep breathing techniques and keeping still to conserve energy.  Most areas are wheelchair accessible.  There are disabled toilets, a museum and several viewing areas. We crossed the bridge and took the elevator to the top viewing platform. Here we found a 360 degree panoramic view of ice, snow and clouds nestled amongst rocky spires and peaks.  Luckily we were there on a clear day, the views are spectacular.

Show your blue badge or disabled ID card to get 50% off for you and your carer. (The 50% discount applies to the multipass too.) There are free disabled parking bays in front of the Aiguille du Midi station. Ask for the key to the disabled toilets at the info desk.

Accessible Train to the Glacier – Mer de Glace, Chamonix Mont Blanc

This station was quite busy. There’s no point queuing with the crowds to board the Montenvers Mer du Glace Train. If you are in a wheelchair let the staff know and they will bring you around a different way to board the train. It involves ramps and the ascent onto the train is quite steep. You definitely need a strong carer for this part. Two members of staff also helped with the transfer, so I had 3 people pushing and guiding my chair up the ramp.

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a pleasant mountain train journey, we arrived at an altitude of 1913 metres. More ramp action to get me off the train, then a mooch around, enjoying the glacial and mountain scenery.

There is a small crystal museum with some huge crystals. It’s a fairly steep downward slope from the station to get there, but not long.  There is also a sunny viewing deck that’s accessible. You can see the ice cave down below from here. The ice cave is not wheelchair accessible so I waited on the deck while my carer went down the hundreds of steps to check it out.

The path to the Glaciorium and the Grand Hotel Restaurant are okay if a bit bumpy. There is a short gravelly bit (a bit annoying) on the slope at the entrance to the Glaciorium. We watched a few short films there about glaciers.

Wheelchair Walks In Chamonix Mont Blanc

Around town - Chamonix beckons the wheelchair traveller with its relatively flat valley.  The smooth pedestrianized, café lined tourist centre is easy to navigate, but stray off the beaten track and the one area you will find it is not so generous is;  drop curbs.

By the river – Follow Promenade du Fori by l’Arve for a flat easy access walk.

In the forest – Go for a roll in Bois du Bouchet, where they have a lovely easy access forest walk.  It caters for different disabilities and has a cute little wooden chalet for a disabled toilet at the start of the trail. There is parking just off Route du Bouchet.

 

 

 

 

 
 

How To Spend A Rainy Day In Chamonix

There are 2 museums in the town which I didn’t have time to visit. Musee des Cristaux is apparently completely accessible.  Musee Alpin is an old building so it’s ground floor only for wheelchair users.

Accommodation and Camping in Chamonix Mont Blanc

Travelling on a budget we stayed at Camping Les Deux Glaciers. In late September it was quite nippy at night, which is not surprising being so close to Glacier des Bossons. There is a disabled toilet which was opened on request. No wheelchair access to the reception. The campsite is a bit hilly but there are flat pitches near the disabled toilet. The pitches are very pretty. Think rambling stream, flowers, wooden chalet huts and astonishing sunset views of peaks and glaciers from your tent. There is traffic noise though from the nearby motorway. It’s lessened by the sounds of the glacial stream (if you camp near it) and the road is not as busy at the weekend.

Check out the accessibility info online for more accommodation.

Wheelchair Travel Chamonix Mont Blanc, Glacier des Bossons at sunset, Camping Les Deux Glaciers,

Wheelchair Travel, Camping Les Deux Glaciers, Chamonix Mont Blanc

 

 
 
 

 
 
 

 

Velo Route in Chamonix

We did some wheelchair biking in Chamonix too. More info coming up in future posts.

 

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Accessible Travel In France – Guest Blog Post for Travelin Wheels

July 3, 2012 in France

Accessible Travel in France

Disabled Holidays - Wheelchair Accessible Camping In France
Wheelchair Accessible Camping In France

Intro

18 years ago I set out on my first big trip. I had bought a round the world ticket and had thought to myself “I’ll explore Europe when I get back, maybe in a year or two.” Little did I know that it would be a lot later than that and in a wheelchair! Since then a lot has changed and for over 5 years I’ve been dependent on my wheelchair and a carer for mobility.

I’m Still Passionate About Travel.
Earlier this month I returned from a wonderful trip to France. We travelled by car (low MPG Citroen Berlingo) with a tent, camping gear and my wheelchair in the boot. To save on fuel and driving hours we chose destinations that were roughly in the same corner of the country. I’m a budget traveller who loves the outdoors so camping is..
Click Travelin Wheels to continue reading this guest post.

I hope you found this accessible camping in France information helpful. Please feel welcome to comment or add your own accessible travel tips. Thanks for reading and have a great trip :-)

Disabled Holidays In The Camargue – Accessible Attractions

June 20, 2012 in Accessible Days Out, France, Wheelchair Walks

Wheelchair Access To Wildlife – Parc Ornithologique (Wetlands Bird Park)

Disabled Travel - Wetland Bird Park Parc Ornithologique, Camargue Flamingo
Disabled Travel –  Parc Ornithologique, Camargue
Flamingotastic
Disabled Travel - Wheelchair Access Parc Ornithologique, Camargue Flamingo
Disabled Travel –  Parc Ornithologique, Camargue
Fabulous Flamingo Watching

Parc Ornithologique is a wetlands bird park near Les Saintes Maries de la Mer. It’s a beautiful reserve with flamingos galore and many other species. It’s a great place for bird watching and enjoying the incredible Camargue landscape. You could just pop in for an hour or spend a few days here, it’s perfect for wheelchair users, the paths are great and they even have a wheelchair accessible eco toilet, Enviroloo. Bring your camera, sunscreen, hat, bottle of water, mosquito repellent and a picnic (there is a cafe too).

Wheelchair Travel - Disabled Access Parc Ornithologique, Camargue Baby Storks
   Wheelchair Travel – Parc Ornithologique, Camargue
Baby Storks
Wheelchair Travel -  Parc Ornithologique, Camargue Easy Access Paths & Disabled Eco Toilet
Wheelchair Travel –  Parc Ornithologique, Camargue
Disabled Eco Toilet

The main loop (about 2.5k) is very accessible with easy flat paths and you will see plenty of wildlife and flamingos here. We were told that the larger loop also has good paths but the only thing is that you must cross quite a steep bridge to get onto that side. My carer said it was doable with a strong helper but we didn’t bother as we were already too hot and a bit tired.

Disabled Travel -  Easy Access Path Wetland Bird Park Parc Ornithologique, Camargue
Disabled Travel –  Parc Ornithologique, Camargue
Great Paths. Wheelchair Access = good
disabled holidays Wheelchair Access wetland bird park Parc Ornithologique bridge
Wheelchair Access Parc Ornithologique
Access to longer walk over steep bridge

Wheelchair Access To Wildlife – Mejanes


The petit train at Mejanes is not wheelchair accessible. You can’t drive onto the train in your wheelchair. However if you can manage the 2 steps onto the train it’s a fun ride (about 25minutes) and good value at 4 euros (and he didn’t charge my carer). If you can fold your wheelchair you can take it on the train (my carer lifted it on for me), the other option would be to leave it in the station. Once you’re on the train sit back and enjoy the views of wetland landscapes, Camargue horses and bulls while listening to gypsy flamenco on the trains sound system!

Disabled Travel -  Petit Train, Mejanes, Camargue Wheelchair Access info
Disabled Travel –  Petit Train, Mejanes, Camargue
Wheelchair Access to station but 2 steps to train
Disabled Travel -  Petit Train, Mejanes, Camargue Wheelchair Access info
Disabled Travel –  Petit Train, Mejanes, Camargue
No Wheelchair Access to Train – 2 steps
Disabled Travel -  Petit Train, Mejanes, Camargue Wheelchair Access info
Disabled Travel –  Petit Train, Mejanes, Camargue
Views from petit train
Disabled Travel -  Petit Train, Mejanes, Camargue wheelchair access info
Disabled Travel –  Petit Train, Mejanes, Camargue
Views from petit train
Disabled Travel - wheelchair access at Mejanes, Camargue Horse
Disabled Travel –  Mejanes, Camargue
Camargue Horse
Disabled Travel -  Mejanes, Camargue Wheelchair access toilet
Disabled Travel –  Mejanes, Camargue
Wheelchair access toilet on women’s side

Strangely at Mejanes only the women’s side of the toilets are wheelchair accessible. There is a wheelchair accessible footpath which takes you through the countryside and past Etang du Vaccares (big lake) it’s a loop so you end up back at the car park after about a 2.5km walk. It’s an unsurfaced earth path so can be a bit bumpy in places. There are no hills or slopes to climb, it’s all pretty flat.

Disabled Travel, easy access footpath country walk at Mejanes, Camargue, France
Walk at Mejanes, Camargue, France
Disabled Travel, easy access footpath country walk at Mejanes, Camargue, France
Disabled Travel – Footpath at Mejanes, Camargue, France
Wheelchair Access = OK, unsurfaced paths, a bit bumpy
Disabled Travel   - easy access footpath country Walk at Mejanes, Camargue, France Camargue Horses
Disabled Travel   –  Walk at Mejanes, Camargue, France
Camargue Horses





Things To Do For Disabled Travellers In The Camargue – Wheelchair Walks In Nature
Parc Ornithologique Wetlands Bird Park (flamingos galore!)
Camargue Museum and footpath 1.5km
La Capeliere - 2 of the 4 wildlife observatories and the exhibit area are wheelchair accessible
Mejanes - footpath 2.5km (and little train-not wheelchair accessible, but if you can manage 2 steps its fun)
La Palissade - footpath 3km

Things To Do For Disabled Travellers In The Camargue – Boat Rides
Les Quatre Maries - wheelchair access
Le Tiki - wheelchair access
Le Camargue - non motorised wheelchairs only

Things To Do For Disabled Travellers In The Camargue – Town & Beach
For wheelchair access information please check out my post on Les Saintes Maries de la Mer
For general tourist information in Les Saintes Maries de la Mer and the Camargue check out this website www.saintesmaries.com

Camping

Le Clos Du Rhone - adapted showers/toilets
La Brise - adapted showers and toilets

I hope you found this disabled holiday information helpful. Please feel welcome to comment or add your own accessible travel tips. Thanks for reading and have a great trip :-)

Disabled Travel In The Camargue – Wheelchair Access at Les Saintes Maries de la Mer

June 16, 2012 in Accessible Days Out, France, Wheelchair Walks

Disabled Travel in the Camargue – Les Saintes Maries de la Mer

Disabled Holidays in Les Saintes Maries de la Mer, Beach Wheelchair Access
Disabled Holidays in Les Saintes Maries de la Mer
Beach Path Wheelchair Access = good
Disabled Holidays in Les Saintes Maries de la Mer- Disabled Parking
Disabled Holidays in Les Saintes Maries de la Mer
wheelchair access = good, 
disabled parking = good
Disabled Holidays in Les Saintes Maries de la Mer Beach Path Wheelchair Access
Disabled Holidays in Les Saintes Maries de la Mer
Beach Path Wheelchair Access = good
Disabled Holidays in Les Saintes Maries de la Mer Marina Path Wheelchair Access
Disabled Holidays in Les Saintes Maries de la Mer
Marina Path Wheelchair Access = good

There’s plenty of disabled parking bays at the beach and many ramps giving easy access to the beach path. The beach path is flat, smooth and hard surfaced. There are openings every so often from which you can look onto the beach out to sea. I couldn’t get onto the actual beach (soft sand) so we followed the beach path down to the marina and the town. The wind had blown some sand onto the otherwise lovely surfaced easy access path which could cause problems if it builds up, sometimes my pusher had to pull me through backwards where there was a mini sand drift. Overall it was fine. You can see that care has been taken to accomodate wheelchair users.

Disabled Holidays - Wheelchair  Access in Saintes Maries de la Mer
Saintes Maries de la Mer wheelchair access = good
Disabled Travel Saintes Maries de la Mer Church wheelchair access
Saintes Maries de la Mer wheelchair access = good
disabled parking = good

The church is open every day and according to the tourist office it is wheelchair accessible, we didn’t go in as it was the gypsy pilgrimage and very busy. The Cultural Centre (Relais Culturel) also has wheelchair access. The town is flat and most of the centre is pedestrianised so great for wheelchairs. The disabled toilets are in La Place des Gitans behind the Hotel de Ville. There is a wheelchair accessible bus (La ligne 20) between Arles and Les Saintes Maries de la Mer.

Boat Rides

Les Quatre Maries – wheelchair access
Le Tiki – wheelchair access
Le Camargue – non motorised wheelchairs only

Camping

Le Clos Du Rhone - adapted showers/toilets
La Brise – adapted showers and toilets

Things To Do For Disabled Travellers In The Camargue

For easy access walks, wildlife and more wheelchair access information for the area, please see my other blog post Disabled Holidays In The Camargue – Accessible Attractions.

For general tourist information in Les Saintes Maries de la Mer and the Camargue check out this website www.saintesmaries.com

I hope you found this wheelchair travel information helpful. Please feel welcome to comment or add your own accessible travel tips. Thanks for reading and have a great trip :-)

Disabled Budget Travel: Wheelchair Access in Lake Annecy, France

June 14, 2012 in Accessible Days Out, France, Wheelchair Walks

                 
Beautiful Annecy.
Will defo be coming back to this place. Quaint, historic, colourful and accessible enough to keep me interested. This brochure Annecy-Town-Walks shows the lakeside walk and accessibility. They don’t mention accessibility for the Old Town Walk but we walked and rolled around most of it with no hassle. We didn’t go up the steep bit to the castle. We did try to follow the canal further on but gave up due to the cobbles. There’s plenty of beauty and colour to soak up in the touristy part of the old town which is mostly wheelchair friendly.
Disabled Travel: Wheelchair Access in Annecy France
Old Town Annecy France, wheelchair access = mostly good
Disabled Travel: Wheelchair Access by the Lake in Annecy France
Annecy Lakeside Walk, wheelchair access = good

Lake Annecy Cycle Path
Now this is the kind of surface I like. Perfectly smooth. Its car free, surrounded by stunning scenery and there’s loads of it, over 40k long! The bits on the sides are for walkers and joggers. Are wheelchair users allowed on it? Who knows, but that didnt stop us. Although we did get pointed out and laughed at by a group of young boys, who cares when you’re rolling in paradise :) I need a Duet Wheelchair Tandem so I can feel like I’m cycling.

Lake Annecy France Cycle Path Wheelchair Walk
Lake Annecy Cycle Path Wheelchair Walk
Lake Annecy France Cycle Path Wheelchair Access
Lake Annecy, France. Cycle Path Wheelchair Walk



Beaches
There are 3 wheelchair friendly beaches on Lake Annecy- Sevrier, St Jorioz and Veyrier.
I stayed at St Jorioz. The beach is great for wheelchair users. Choose between grass or sand, sun or shade. There are lots of big trees to lie under whilst watching the paragliders in the distance floating off the mountain, enjoying the view of the lake and the beach atmosphere. You feel like you’re in a park and a beach at the same time and they have already thought about disabled access.

Wheelchair Access On The Beach, St Jorioz, Lake Annecy
Wheelchair Access On The Beach, St Jorioz, Lake Annecy

There’s an accessible path to the different areas of the beach and the sand is that hard sand so the wheelchair doesn’t sink. There’s even a handrail for going into lake. There’s a wheelchair accessible toilet and a snackbar.

Wheelchair Access On The Beach, St Jorioz, Lake Annecy, France
Wheelchair Access On The Beach, St Jorioz, Lake Annecy
Sun & Shade – A park & beach all in one

The disabled parking bays are near the entrance and have a sign welcoming wheelchair users which is nice. It really makes a massive difference going to beach where they’ve already planned for accessibility.  Wheelchair access in the Alps is much easier than I thought it would be.

Disabled Travel: parking and wheelchair access St Jorioz Beach Lake Annecy, France
Disabled parking and wheelchair access at St Jorioz Beach
Lake Annecy, France





Nature Walk – Reserve Naturelle du Bout du Lac
This place is not signposted well, but easy to get to when you know where it is. It’s on Route de la Vieille Eglise near Doussard. Apparently beavers live here but we didn’t see any. A beautiful walk (about 3.5k) on really good accessible paths and boardwalks.

Disabled Travel: Bout du Lac Nature Reserve, Lake Annecy, France
Bout du Lac Nature Reserve. Wheelchair access = great




Bout du Lac Nature Reserve, Lake Annecy, France.
Wheelchair access = great, disabled parking = good

Camping
www.campinglesolitaire.com This isnt where I stayed but we did pass by for a look. It looks like the best location to stay for St Jorioz beach and the cycle path. It’s away from the main road (so peaceful) and very near the lake and not far from the shops. It does have accessible facilities. Will try it out next time.


Attractions With Wheelchair Access
The forest of the senses trail at www.base-nature-aventure.com looks good, it says the trail is designed for wheelchairs.

General Tourist Info http://en.lac-annecy.com/

I hope you found this wheelchair travel information helpful. Please feel welcome to comment or add your own accessible travel tips. Thanks for reading and have a great trip :-)

Wheelchair Travel in the Ardeche – My Experience of the Route Des Gorges

June 10, 2012 in Accessible Days Out, France, Wheelchair Walks

Scenic Drive On Route Des Gorges, Ardeche, France (Wheelchair Access = Overall its very good)

 

Pont d’Arc by the river is a no go for wheelchair users – The path is very steep, then rocky and very steep, then sandy. All is not lost, there is a viewing layby on the road a bit further on. Go early if you want to stop there as its small and gets busy. There is a step up to the viewing area, I could still enjoy the view by looking through the railings athough the barrier wall doesn’t seem designed for wheelchair user viewing. Still worth a look though.

Ardeche Gorges, Pont D’Arc viewing layby
wheelchair access = 1 step

The rest of the Route Des Gorges has excellent wheelchair access lookouts or viewing areas, about 11 of them over an approx 30km stretch. With disabled parking bays, flat walkways, fantastic views of scenery and if lucky friendly goats.

Ardeche Gorges Scenic Drive 30km – fantastic viewing areas
wheelchair access & disabled parking = great
Ardeche Gorges Scenic Drive 30km – beautiful views from the
lookout areas, wheelchair access & disabled parking = great
Ardeche Gorges Scenic Drive 30km – beautiful views from the
lookout areas, wheelchair access & disabled parking = great

www.gorges-de-lardeche.com

Below are the attractions we visited on the Route Des Gorges.

Llama Park (Wheelchair Access = Dodgy, but we did it – Rock N Roll!! more Rocky than Roll actually)
They only charged me for one adult at 6 euros (carer goes free)  There are 2 steps at the entrance (these people need a ramp) and a bit of uphill rocky ground on the way to the enclosure which is also a quite a challenge. The good news is that its not very far to the enclosure and its well worth getting there. Loads of llamas and you’re right in there with them. The leaflet says petting guaranteed and it wasnt wrong.

Ardeche Gorges Llama Park
wheelchair access = dodgy but doable with help

Inside the enclosure the ground is very rocky so we didn’t move around much. The owner was very friendly and the llamas wonderful and so many of them. The wheelchair access is very dodgy but doable with a strong carer and some help at the steps.
www.ardeche-lamas.com

Lavender Museum (Wheelchair Access = Good, Disabled Parking =Good)

Ardeche Gorges Lavender Museum is wheelchair friendly

This place is very accessible, flat and easy. Most of it is indoors so it can be an interesting thing to do if its raining. There’s also a gift shop and they have their own lavender fields outside which must look wonderful in summer when in flower (end of june to august.)
www.ardechelavandes.com

Vallon Pont d’Arc  (Wheelchair Access = Ok, Disabled Parking = Good)
This is the small town near the start of the Route Des Gorges. There are plenty of disabled parking bays right in the centre of town giving close access to the main square and shopping streets. The pavements can be narrow but the main area is pedestrians only so its not too bad.

Wheelchair access = okay & disabled parking = good in
Ardeche Gorges town of Vallon Pont d’Arc tourist area

Camping

We camped off season for 16 euros a night for 2 adults, tent and car at Camping Beau Rivage, Les Mazes, Vallon Pont d’ArcThe campsite is 2km from Vallon Pont d’Arc. It’s by the river (lovely views from the tent) and away from the main road (very peaceful.) The paths around site are good, the reception, bar, shop, swimming pool are all accessible. The disabled toilet and shower are in the mens section of the toilet block (key at reception) but this didnt cause any problems, it was clean and available. The beach area by the river doesn’t have ideal wheelchair access but its doable with a strong carer. It’s probably not the most perfect site for accessibility but what I loved about this site were the natural surroundings, birdsong, relaxing under the trees with views of the river, feeding the onsite goats and the friendly and helpful owners. Will definately go back. www.beaurivage-camping.com
Ardeche Gorges Beau Rivage Camping, beautiful campsite
wheelchair friendly except for beach area

More campsites (that I havent visited) in the area with wheelchair accessible facilities include:
mondial-camping
campsite-arc-en-ciel
domaine-de-chadeyron
camping-nature-parc
campsite-des-gorges

For general tourist information check out www.ardeche-guide.com

I hope you found this wheelchair travel information helpful. Please feel welcome to comment or add your own accessible travel tips. Thanks for reading and have a great trip :-)