Tag Archives: Accessibility

How Do You Know It’s Summer in Paris?

Summer finally arrived in Paris at the end of June. After freezing for more months than I care to remember and drowning in more months of rain, I emerged to notice the signs that tell me Paris and summer have again met. From arrondissement to arrondissement, from person to person, these signs will differ. I see my Paris as I do. It's not always pretty. It's definitely not perfect. It has to be seen with some amusement and sometimes you just have to think *'C'est la vie'. (more…)
Posted in Disability, How to live in Paris, Living in Paris, Motorised wheelchair, Paris, Quadriplegia | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Oh Paris! Really?

Parisians and Paris never fail to give me something to write about. I find humour, quirkiness and curious disbelievement wonderment in practically every encounter, person and situation I come across. I walk past tiny shops and enter. I breathe in the history of those who were there before me and bought what I buy, decades before.

And then I open my mouth and shatter the illusion.

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Trippy Tips for Train Travellers

Here are my fabulous tips for those who take long haul train journeys. I'd consider an hour and a half the minimum for it to be called 'long haul'. That is based on my experiences travelling a myriad of miles from cities across Europe (and the increased level of whining by children per 15 minutes of travel). The longest direct train trip I've taken was 12 hours by day from Paris to Florence via Milan. I don't have any knowledge of night travel. No wait, I have travelled Melbourne to Sydney by night train...

Don't ever do that unless you want to end up rocking back and forth in a corner sobbing your eyes out and calling for your Mummy.

[caption id="attachment_1777" align="aligncenter" width="150"]Teddy anyone? Teddy anyone?[/caption] (more…)
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Trapped in a toilet in Paris! Part 2

August/September 2012 Part 2: Once outside the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont I decided to look at my map.  One handy thing about using a wheelchair is that I always have a seat.  So I sat there, head twisted to an odd angle, with the map upside down.  Apparently this helps one read a map - I've seen other people do it! However, I also find that maps ruin adventures.  I once traveled with someone going from one part of Paris to another, who had her head in the map the entire way finding the way to our hotel.  Much better to learn enough French to ask a local. Plus, if you always know where you are going, when do you find something unexpected? I digress. I had used the map to find part of my way to the park (after I became lost) so I surmised that I only had to read it in reverse to find my way back to my hotel in Rue de l’Arbre Sec… Off I set confidently.  I think I lasted 10 minutes before I realised that it was quite possible I was going the wrong way.  I reversed and retraced my steps, using the logic that if I went uphill to get to the park then perhaps I should go downhill to get to my hotel.  As I trundled along, I felt so pleased with myself but did need a toilet.  Unfortunately, not only Paris, but most of the World it seems, hides disabled toilets. However I had worked out earlier in this Parisian holiday that most McDonalds have them.  I was more excited about that fact before I realised that the yellow M also symbolised the Paris -Metro!

Metro ‘M’ vs McDonalds ‘M’

Paris Metro M      

McDonalds Paris           I hate that Paris has McDonalds. In every other way, what brings tears to my eyes when I visit Paris, is that it looks exactly like every image you see.  It is like stepping into a painting. However, it is what it is. Eventually I came across a big yellow M that was McDonalds.  It occurred to me that I didn't pass that on the way to the park but I have a habit of ignoring problems until they are real. As opposed to imagined. I also dismissed the thought that I now had no idea where I was (well I knew I was somewhere in Paris) and wandered into the building.  I opened the sliding door to the toilet and went inside.  I struggled to lock the door and as I did I thought the following: 1. Do you know what street you are on? 2. Can you unlock the door? 3. Is your phone signal working? Yes, the answer to all was, ‘No’. Oh well, nothing ventured … After I washed my hands I unlocked the toilet door. Then I pushed the door to open it.  And pushed.  And pushed.  And … nothing happened. Door At that point I did think about the fact that I was alone, in a part of Paris I didn't know, 2000 gazillion kilometres from Australia, trapped in a toilet, and without a phone signal.  My only option was to bang on the door and call out calmly for assistance: “Oh my God, I’m trapped!  Help me! I’m freaking out!” Actually that’s what was in the head of the part of me that was not so confident. What I really said was: “Aidez-moi s’il vous plait,” in a strong Aussie accent.  Luckily, some people wanting to use the bathroom heard (understood) my pathetic plea and went off to get help. Quite quickly, a staff member slid open the door and greeted me, very apologetically about causing me so much inconvenience. I however was a little abashed. I’d been pushing on a sliding door!
Posted in Adapting to a new country, Disability, Excuses versus life, France, How to reach a goal, Living in Paris, Motorised wheelchair, Paris, Paris 2012 Adventures, Quadriplegia, Travel | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment