Travelers With Special Needs
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France extends a sincere welcome for persons who use wheelchairs, have other mobility restrictions, are sight- or hearing-impaired, or otherwise need special assistance. An effort has been made in public places to provide access ramps, handicapped accessible restrooms, reserved parking spaces, and specially-equipped telephone booths.
For a fee the organization Les Compagnons du Voyage will provide an escort for children 3 and older and persons with limited mobility, whether traveling by train, plane, underground railway, or bus. Airlines offer free care for children over 4 years old traveling alone on domestic flights, and the SNCF has "JVS" service on their main lines (a surcharge applies).
Railway stations have wheelchairs at reception areas, and will provide boarding assistance on request. Specially reserved parking places are set aside to facilitate access, while call boxes on selected platforms can be used to request assistance. Larger stations have electric carts and special ticket offices for people needing assistance, including, for example, the hearing-impaired.
TGV and Corail trains provide wheelchair positions in first class compartments available to those with second class tickets. Also available are special transfer seats for navigating inside the train. Eurostar and Thalys trains offer discounts for adult escorts.
The underground rail systems of Rouen, Lille, Lyon, Grenoble, and the tramways of Nantes and Strasbourg are accessible to persons with limited mobility.
All airports are able to accommodate passengers with special physical needs. At the Paris airports ask for the AéroGuide for handicapped travellers, which contains information about airport accessibility, recommended itineraries, time requirements, distances, possible obstacles, and a listing of special services.
Some taxis have interiors specially equipped for the handicapped. In Paris, call 01.47.08.93.50. In Lyon telephone 04.78.58.52.17.