Paris Hotel Wheelchair Access Survey 2000-2007
Howard L. Chabner and Michele E. DeSha
© Howard L. Chabner and Michele E. DeSha 2007
Our main reason for publishing this information is to help wheelchair users and other people with mobility limitations find an accessible hotel in central Paris. We hope it will also be a catalyst for improving access at Paris hotels. Disabled consumers must be active, vocal and detailed in pointing out barriers to hotels, suggesting how to improve access and appreciating successful, effective accessible designs. We also hope that hotel owners, managers, employees, architects and interior designers will find this survey useful.
This survey is based on several trips to Paris between 2000 and 2007, and many email inquiries in planning them. Often on a trip we would visit several hotels besides the one we were staying in to look at access. Hotels we visited are indicated by **. For hotels we did not visit, the information comes entirely from responses from the hotels. For hotels that are part of a chain, we inquired with staff located on site, not with the chain’s central reservation system. Where we did visit a hotel, we still often relied in part on information from the hotel staff. We’ve tried to get the best information possible, but of course we cannot guarantee accuracy. Dimensions such as height, width, etc. are best estimates.
This survey does not include hotels in the very outer arrondissements, the suburbs or near the airport, nor does it include hostels. There are several hostels with reputations for good wheelchair access, generally in the outer arrondissements, and there do appear to be several hotels with good access in some of the outer arrondissements. But we believe staying in a central location is critical to enjoying and getting to know a city, especially a city like Paris and especially considering the inevitable access limitations and barriers found even in a well-intentioned, well-designed and smoothly functioning transportation system.
For information about other aspects of wheelchair accessible travel in Paris, see our articles “Paris Passerelles” and “2005 Supplement to Paris Passerelles,” available on:
Global Access News www.globalaccessnews.com and
Access-Able Travel Source www.access-able.com.
About Us. Howard uses an electric wheelchair; Michele is able-bodied. In Paris, Howard used a Quickie P110 folding electric wheelchair that is 25 inches (63.5 cm) wide, weighs approximately 100 pounds (including the batteries, which are removable) and has gel cell batteries. The footrests are elevating and removable; the wheelchair is 48 inches (122 cm) long with the footrests in the shortest position (including Howard’s toes protruding past the footrests by two inches (5 cm)). Keep this in mind when reading the descriptions of maneuvering space and elevator size.
Solo Travelers. It’s important to keep in mind that, unfortunately, in Paris even a relatively accessible room may be difficult or impossible for someone in a wheelchair traveling alone. This survey does not include items such as door pressure, door swing clear space, and accessibility of light switches, electric outlets, window latches, curtain pulls, etc. In an otherwise accessible room, these items may be inaccessible, which presents a barrier for someone traveling alone.
Terminology: “Accessible” vs. “Adapted.” In France, as in Italy and some other European countries, “accessible” in describing a hotel room means merely that there are no barriers such as stairs and there is sufficient doorway width and other space for a wheelchair to travel to and enter the room - that there is what Americans would call an “accessible path of travel” to the hotel room. Hence, an “accessible” room may have a bathroom that is completely inaccessible to people who use wheelchairs, and the bedroom may be quite tight. Moreover, there doesn’t seem to be a uniform, generally accepted standard for “accessible” - many hotels consider a room accessible if it is literally, but just barely, physically accessible. “Adapted” means the room has been modified to make the bathroom usable by people in wheelchairs. Unfortunately, however, the standards for what is “adapted” are low – for example, many adapted rooms lack roll-in showers.
We believe that the French “accessible” concept promotes too low a standard of accessibility, but we conformed to the French terminology in reporting the results. As one purpose of this survey is to provide a general picture of the state of access in hotels in central Paris and to indicate which hotels have the potential for greatly improved access, we’ve included hotels that are merely “accessible” and not “adapted.” Also, some readers may be able to use a hotel room that is “accessible” although not fully “adapted.” But be aware that many hotels listed in the Accessible and even the Adapted categories are not fully accessible by American standards.
The distinction between a room that is “adapted” and one that is merely “accessible” was not always clear from the responses, especially because some hotels that claim to be “adapted” are poorly adapted and some that are merely “accessible” may have quite a bit of maneuvering space. Nonetheless, we’ve tried to categorize hotels as accessible or adapted based on the available information.
Major Barriers and the Need for Better Access. This survey describes access barriers in hotels that have “adapted” or “accessible” rooms. We also list some inaccessible hotels, both in order to give a more complete picture of hotel access in Paris and also to indicate, when we have sufficient information to make a judgment, whether the hotel appears physically capable of being made adapted/accessible or whether there are physical barriers that would make this impossible.
The survey clearly shows that there are widespread major access barriers. Significant improvement is urgently needed. There are relatively few hotels with roll-in showers, even in recently renovated hotels with adapted rooms. Many of the bathrooms that are designated as “adapted” are poorly designed and have problems including insufficient turning space, no grab bars, small toilets (particularly toilets that are too close to the rear wall, which leaves little space for a wheelchair to pull back far enough for an effective transfer even if there is sufficient side space), inaccessible sinks, inaccessible water faucets, inaccessible toilet flush buttons or buttons that require too much pressure, toilet paper dispensers that are too high and poorly designed so the paper is difficult to reach or gets stuck inside the dispenser, inaccessible hair dryers and poorly positioned mirrors.
We urge hotels to add roll-in showers. Without a roll-in shower most people who use wheelchairs are unable to shower or bathe. A roll-in shower requires the same amount of space as a bathtub. In many bathrooms, especially small ones, an added advantage of replacing a bathtub with a roll-in shower is that it can create additional room to maneuver a wheelchair, and especially more transfer space adjacent to the toilet.
It’s clear from some of the responses and hotel websites that some of the hotels that do have adapted rooms have only one or a few, and quite often have fewer than the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) would require in the United States for comparably sized hotels.
Another problem one sometimes encounters is that the standard rooms in a hotel are too small for a wheelchair, all the accessible or adapted rooms are deluxe rooms, and the deluxe room rate is charged. In the United States, the ADA requires that a wheelchair user be charged the rate for a standard room in this situation. We don’t know what French law is, but the practice in Paris seems to be that the deluxe rate is charged.
We also urge hotels to add more detailed information on their websites about their adapted or accessible rooms, including pictures and key dimensions. This would be easy to do, would help avoid disastrous misunderstandings, and ultimately would save time for hotels and disabled consumers alike.
It’s certainly true that many hotels in central Paris are in small, narrow, historically and architecturally significant buildings with few guest rooms and difficult architectural barriers. The fact is that it is infeasible or physically impossible to make certain buildings accessible. But many of the hotels in the survey are in old buildings that have been renovated; the problem is that the access improvements were poorly done. We’ve been to hotels or apartments in ancient buildings in Rome, Florence, Vicenza, Toledo (Spain) and Toulouse that have excellent access, including roll-in showers, while retaining their architectural integrity and historical character. All plumbing and electrical work in ancient buildings is a retrofit - the issue is whether or not the work is done with good attention to access by people who know what they’re doing. Barriers can be overcome if the owner is truly committed to good access and the architect, designer and contractor have the requisite knowledge and experience.
The survey results indicate that there are no uniform, generally accepted standards applicable to Paris hotels, French disability rights law is weak as applied to hotels, enforcement is spotty, awareness of disability rights is poor, technical expertise is scarce, design is unimaginative, or a combination of these factors.
We don’t mean to sound too negative. Some hotel owners do care deeply about access, truly want to accommodate disabled guests, and have committed significant effort, time, thought and money to making adapted rooms; we appreciate and commend them. Things have definitely improved in the past seven years, but overall they are still a long way from where they need to be.
Verify Details with Hotels. It’s imperative to contact the hotel directly in writing to verify access details - don’t rely on the central reservation systems of hotel chains or, even worse, third party websites or reservation services. The information provided by hotels often contradicts third party websites, some of which display the wheelchair symbol irresponsibly and misleadingly. In many websites (including some hotel websites), the wheelchair symbol means only that the hotel is “accessible,” not necessarily that there are any “adapted” rooms, but this distinction is not explained. Even websites such as Tourisme & Handicap (see below) designate as accessible hotels that would not be considered accessible by United States standards - hotels that are merely “accessible” but not “adapted.”
Ibis Hotels. Ibis hotels, part of the Accor group, have the reputation of being clean, modern, no-frills and good value for the money. Although this survey includes several Ibis hotels that have adapted rooms with roll-in showers, several others are listed in other sources as having adapted rooms including roll-in showers. The Ibis website doesn’t provide details about the adapted rooms, but it may well be worthwhile searching the Ibis website for a hotel in the location you are interested in and contacting the hotel directly for access details. www.Ibishotel.com.
Appendices. Appendix A is a form of hotel access questionnaire. Note that hotels are increasingly willing to email a photo or two of adapted rooms and bathrooms when asked. Appendix B is a metric conversion chart.
Phone Numbers. To call these hotels from the United States, dial 011, then 33 (the country code for France), and then the numbers shown below. To call from within France, dial 0 before the 1.
Other Sources of Information:
www.Parisinfo.com This is the official website of the Paris tourist office and has lots of great information in English about Paris. For hotel access information, go to Practical Paris/Tourisme & Handicap and also to Hotels & Accommodations/Disabled Access. Tourisme & Handicap is a quasi-governmental national association that promotes accessibility of tourist sites and facilities for people with hearing, visual, mental and physical disabilities. It awards the Tourisme & Handicap label to facilities it considers accessible, but as described above, it does not appear to apply a rigorous, uniform set of access criteria, at least for hotel rooms.
www.AccessinParis.org This is the website of Pauline Hephaistos Survey Projects, a British organization that has created access guides to Paris, London and Israel. The information is very detailed and well organized.
www.TripAdvisor.com This website includes consumer reviews of hotels. Although the reviews typically don’t include access information, they’re very useful when combined with access research.
See the introduction. Some hotels have very small rooms that would be extremely tight for many wheelchair users although literally “adapted” per the French definition, and also may have other barriers. The hotels we visited are indicated by **.
RIS indicates the hotel has at least one adapted room with a roll-in shower.
Best Western Paris Louvre Opera
Three star 1st Arrondissement
4, rue des Moulins
This 20-room hotel is located in a 17th century townhouse that opened as a hotel in 2005. We were informed by email in March 2007 that the hotel has one adapted room. No details were forthcoming.
Castille Sofitel Demeure Hotel
Four star 1st Arrondissement
33-37, rue Cambon
We learned in 2003 that are adapted rooms, but they are very small. Exact size was not provided.
Hotel du Louvre
** Four star 1st
Place Andre Malraux
This is a very elegant, expensive hotel in a superb location. It’s part of Concorde Hotels, which was acquired by Starwood Capital in 2005. (Starwood Capital is a private equity firm which has different ownership and management from Starwood Hotels and Resorts.) The information here is as of 2005.
We visited this hotel of approximately 180 rooms in 2003 and 2004, which we were informed had been renovated in 2001 or 2002. We also inquired by email in 2003, 2004 and 2005. The main entrance has two high stairs, but there is an alternate entrance without stairs a few feet away. The staff was very gracious. We were told there are three adapted rooms, all in the deluxe category, but the hotel was fully occupied both times, so we were unable to see any rooms. There are no roll-in showers. We were told that: the deluxe room size is 215 square feet (20 square meters), including the bathroom; elevator door width is 61 inches (155 cm); toilet height is 16 inches (41 cm); bedroom door width is 85 cm (33.5 inches); and bathroom door width is 75 cm (29.5 inches). Per email from 2003, the bed might be only 19 inches (48 cm) high.
It appears that the standard rooms are too small for wheelchairs. The hotel has offered an adapted deluxe room at a discount from the rack rate but still at a higher rate than a standard room.
The public bathroom one flight down from the lobby is small and poorly adapted; the elevator to reach it is small but Howard was able to fit in it.
Hotel Louvre Sainte Anne RIS
Three star 1st Arrondissement
32, rue Sainte Anne
The following information is from emails in 2007. There is one adapted room, which is located on the ground floor. Room size is 108 square feet to 129 square feet (10 to 12 square meters). Bedroom door width is 31½ inches (80 cm). There is a Queen size bed 74.8 inches (190 cm) long by 55 inches (140 cm) wide. Bed height is 19.7 inches (50 cm). There is a roll-in shower with a built-in bench; the shower floor is a one-piece pan approximately 1 inch (2.5 cm) below the level of the bathroom floor. There is sufficient transfer space at one side of the toilet. The breakfast room is down stairs, so the hotel will serve guests who use wheelchairs breakfast in their room. The hotel staff was extraordinarily gracious, prompt and informative in responding to our inquiry.
Novotel les Halles
** Three star 1st
8, place Marguerite de Navarre
In 2000 we stayed at this generic but pleasant corporate hotel well-located between the Louvre and the Pompidou Center. Access was very good, except the bathroom had no roll-in shower. In response to our inquiries in subsequent years, we were told that several adapted room types are available, although none has a roll-in shower. The front entrance is level and there are no stairs to reach the elevator. The elevators are easily large enough for a wheelchair. All doorways are wide. The toilet height is 21 inches (53 cm). The sink height is 31½ inches (80 cm). The sink is large and there are well-situated grab bars near the toilet. There is plenty of transfer space on one side of the toilet. The handheld shower on the bathtub wall has a cord long enough to reach the sink, so one can wash one’s hair in the sink. The staff was gracious.
But as of March 2007, none of the adapted rooms has a roll-in shower.
Hotel Washington Opera (Golden Tulip)
**Four star 1st Arrondissement
50, rue de Richelieu
We visited this 36-room hotel in 2003, which we were told had last been renovated in 1998. There is a small step at the entrance, and automatic sliding doors. The elevator was large enough for Howard’s wheelchair and two able-bodied people, though it was quite narrow. There are two or three adapted rooms, all of which were occupied when we visited the hotel. We were shown a standard room; it was far too small for a wheelchair. We were told that the adapted rooms are deluxe rooms and junior suites, and there are no roll-in showers.
In 2005 the staff was very aggressive in responding to our email, pressing to find out why we decided not to book with them. In 2005 several Trip Advisor reviews accused the hotel of overbooking.
** Four or Five star 1st
3, rue De Castiglione
This classical, elegant hotel, formerly an Intercontinental, was acquired by Starwood in 2006. There are over 400 guest rooms. It was completely full when we visited in 2004, so we couldn’t see any guest rooms. We were told there are two adapted rooms, neither of which has a roll-in shower. The front entrance is up at least four stairs. There is a long, semi-permanent sturdy metal ramp, carpeted and with edges. It is quite steep, and Howard had to go down it backwards in his wheelchair. Installing a porch lift or stair lift at the main entrance would seriously compromise the building’s architectural detail and historical character, but with such a large building, there should be a way to make an accessible side entrance without these negative impacts.
Hotel in (Hospital) Hotel Dieu RIS
Two star 4th Arrondissement
1 Place du Parvis Notre Dame
The Hotel Dieu, the oldest hospital in Paris, is ideally located in Ile de la Cite catty corner from Notre Dame. We learned the following information in 2007. The hospital was founded in 651 and the current building dates from 1877. On the sixth floor is a small hotel with 14 rooms, two of them adapted. At least one of the two has a roll-in shower. There is at least 27½ inches (70 cm) of side transfer space adjacent to the toilet. The rooms are plain but clean and well-equipped and are well lit by skylights. According to www.accessinParis.org, the elevator is 59 inches (150 cm) deep, 78.7 inches (200 cm) wide and 118 inches (300 cm) long.
Hotel des Arenes RIS (?)
Three star 5th Arrondissement
51, rue Monge
We learned the following information by email in 2003. There are two adapted rooms on the ground floor. We were told that one has a roll-in shower but is quite small, and the other is larger but has a bathtub only.
Three star 6th
34, rue de Buci
We stayed at this terrific hotel in 2007. Well located in the heart of St. Germain, this small hotel is in an old building renovated in a sleek, modern style. We stayed in room 102, one of two adapted rooms on the ground floor. (The elevator is tiny, so no other rooms are accessible.) These rooms are reached via a rear entrance on a quiet street behind rue de Buci; unfortunately, there is no direct access from the lobby. The rear entrance is level with the street. The lobby is up a threshold step of only 3 or 4 inches (8 to 10 cm) from the front entrance, but there are six or seven stairs from the lobby to the adapted rooms. The rooms have no view, but the upside is that they are very quiet and private.
The bathroom is large and tiled in elegant green-veined marble. There is a spacious roll-in shower with both a handheld shower hose and a large rain-style fixed shower head; it was exhilarating and delightful to shower with both simultaneously. The shower has grab bars but lacks a built-in bench. (A shower chair may be available upon request.) The transitions are very smooth between the bedroom and bathroom, and from the main bathroom area to the shower area, and the floor is graded well so the water drains easily yet the slope is quite gradual. The sink is large, with plenty of space to roll underneath it. There is more than three feet (90 cm) of transfer space on one side of the toilet. Unfortunately, there is no grab bar on the wall alongside the toilet. There is a wall-hung fold-down grab bar at the other side of the toilet (the side furthest from the wall). The toilet is a typical French style toilet, which means it is not long (i.e. the space from the rear wall to the front of the toilet is shorter than in a typical American or Italian toilet). When the fold-down grab bar is in the raised position, it protrudes a bit from the rear wall, so a wheelchair cannot back up far enough to get completely parallel to the toilet for a side transfer. Despite these flaws, this is probably the most accessible hotel bathroom we’ve seen in Paris.
According to the hotel staff, the bathroom size is 43 to 53 square feet (4 to 5 square meters); room size is 172 square feet (16 square meters); and bedroom and bathroom doors are 36.2 inches (92 cm) wide. These numbers seem accurate. The bedroom is well lighted and, while it isn’t large, Howard was able to move around in it without difficulty. The breakfast room is down a flight of stairs, so the hotel serves guests who use wheelchairs breakfast in their room. We didn’t see the other adapted room, but were told it’s identical to the one we stayed in. The hotel staff was extraordinarily gracious, professional and helpful; for example, they emailed pictures of the bathroom when we inquired about access, and they elevated the bed when we requested it, cleverly using reams of computer paper. We highly recommend the Artus!
Hotel Bel Ami
** Four star 6th
7-11, rue Saint Benoit
This very well located 125-room hotel opened in 2000. We visited it in 2004 but couldn’t see a room because the hotel was fully booked. There is a sliding electric door and a 1 or 2 inch (2.5 to 5 cm) step at the main entrance. The employees were friendly.
We were told the following by a combination of email in 2003 and on our visit in 2004: There are four adapted rooms – three similar, and one smaller. The adapted rooms are in the deluxe category. For the three larger rooms, room size is 258 square feet (24 square meters), including the bathroom. Elevator door width is 31½ inches (80 cm). Elevator size is 42 inches (107 cm) by 54½ inches (139 cm). Bedroom door width is 35½ inches (90 cm). Bathroom door width is 31 ½ inches (80 cm). Toilet height is 19 inches (48.5 cm). There are bathtubs only, no roll-in showers.
Best Western Left Bank Saint Germain
Three star 6th Arrondissement
9, rue de l’Ancienne Comedie
The following information was provided by e-mail in 2003. There is one adapted room on the ground floor. We were quoted rack rate for a triple room even though there were only two of us; perhaps the only adapted room is a triple. There are a shower and bathtub, but the shower is inaccessible. There are grab bars.
** Three or
Four star 6th Arrondissement
22, rue Saint-Sulpice
We visited this 30-room hotel in 2004. The building renovations had been completed, and the hotel opened, only a few weeks before our visit. The entrance has a moderately sloped ramp and an electric door. The elevator is adequate size. The lobby and hallway are quite narrow. We were shown the one adapted room; it’s quite small and has nice decor. There is a sharp turn entering the room, and maneuvering a wheelchair is difficult. The bathroom is small, and because of the tight space in the bedroom it is difficult to maneuver a wheelchair through the bathroom door. There is no transfer space adjacent to the toilet. The sink protrudes into the knee area, making it inaccessible. There is a bathtub, not a roll-in shower. Although the bathroom is small, it could have been much better adapted. The bathtub could be removed and replaced with a roll-in shower, which would afford side transfer space next to the toilet; the sink could be made accessible; and the doorway could be widened. This hotel is an example of well-intentioned, expensive access renovations in Paris hotels that are poorly designed and end up providing poor access.
Holiday Inn Saint Germain des Pres
** Three star 6th Arrondissement
92, rue de Vaugirard
We visited this 134-room hotel in 2004. It was full, so we couldn’t see any rooms. The entrance has a 2 inch (5 cm) high threshold and a sliding electric door. There are four adapted rooms, all of which are in the deluxe category. We were told the following information by email in 2004. Room size is 237 square feet (22 square meters), including the bathroom. Elevator door width is 30½ inches (78 cm). Elevator dimensions are 52.3 inches (133 cm) by 42 inches (107 cm). Bathroom door width is 30½ inches (78 cm). There are bathtubs only, no roll-in showers (this was confirmed by the receptionist on our visit). There is transfer space adjacent to the toilet. There are grab bars near the toilet and bathtub. The building was last renovated in 1999.
** Three star 6th
15, rue Jacob
In 2003 we visited this bright, charming 22-room hotel, which we were told had been renovated in 2002. There is a gradually sloped front entrance without any stairs. The inviting lobby is small. The elevator is too small for a wheelchair. There are two rooms on the ground floor through a pretty courtyard, one of which is the designated adapted room. It is quite small; we were told it is 129 square feet (12 square meters), excluding the bathroom. The bathroom is fairly large; we were told it is 65 square feet (6 square meters). The doorways are 33 inches (84 cm) wide. There is sufficient transfer space adjacent to the toilet. There is no roll-in shower. The other ground floor room has a larger bedroom but a smaller bathroom, and the bathroom doorway is too narrow for a wheelchair. Both rooms have 2 inch (5 cm) thresholds at the entrance. While not large, both ground floor rooms are large enough to be adapted well and the designated adapted room has a bathroom large enough for a roll-in shower.
Victoria Palace Hotel
Four star 6th
6, rue Blaise Desgoffe
We stayed at this charming, immaculately maintained 62-room hotel in 2003 and 2004. There is a portable wooden ramp for traversing the one and a half medium height stairs at the front entrance; most wheelchair users will need assistance on the ramp. The elevator is easily large enough for a wheelchair user and two able-bodied people. The call buttons are easily reachable.
We stayed in the one adapted room, Room 601. The bedroom and bathroom are large, the toilet is high, the bed height is very good for transfer, the bed is firm but not too firm, the doorways are wide, and the mirrors are large and well-placed. There is a large bathtub but unfortunately no roll-in-shower. The handheld shower on the bathtub wall has a long hose. There is plenty of space to replace the bathtub with a roll-in shower.
Transfer to the toilet is not great but not bad. There is sufficient transfer space at one side of the toilet. The grab bar adjacent to the toilet is removable and attaches to the side of the bathtub. It is not as sturdy and stable as a fixed or wall-mounted, fold down-bar. A toilet paper holder protrudes from the rear wall and prevents some wheelchairs from being positioned completely against the rear wall. The toilet, like the typical French toilet, isn’t long – it doesn’t protrude far from the wall behind it. A complete side-to-side transfer isn’t possible for many wheelchairs, but a side transfer at a moderate angle is; the angle between toilet and wheelchair is much closer to parallel than to a right angle.
K+K Hotel Cayre
** Three or Four star 7th
4, Boulevard Raspail
We visited this sleek, modern, newly renovated 124-room hotel in 2004. The elevator is medium size, and Howard was able to fit without any problems. We saw one adapted room, which was in the executive category. We were told there are several adapted rooms, all identical, and all in the executive category. The bedroom area is nicely appointed but fairly small, although the entry hallway area in the room is wide. The bathroom is on the far side of the bed. Maneuvering around the bed in an electric wheelchair would be difficult. The bathroom is medium size, with a bathtub and no roll-in shower. There is enough space to remove the tub and install a roll-in shower. The toilet is small. We didn’t measure, but there appears to be adequate transfer space on one side of the toilet, although just barely. Although the bathroom is not large, it is large enough to have much better access if it were better designed. This bathroom is an example of a recent renovation that was well-intentioned but poorly executed.
Hotel Pont Royal
** Four star 7th
7, rue de Montalembert
In 2003 we visited this well-located, elegant 75-room hotel, which we were told had been renovated in 1999. The entrance is level. The elevator was easily large enough for Howard’s wheelchair and two able-bodied people, although it wasn’t wide enough to turn around in. We were shown Room 601, one of two adapted rooms. The bedroom is well appointed but small. The bathroom is fairly large but lacks sufficient transfer space adjacent to the toilet; the sink is too close. There is a bathtub, not a roll-in shower. The bathroom is large enough to be reconfigured for better access, including replacing the bathtub with a roll-in shower. We were told that the other adapted room is the same size and also doesn’t have a roll-in shower. This hotel is an example of well-intentioned, expensive access renovations in Paris that are badly designed and end up providing poor access.
Hotel Le Lavoisier
** Four star 8th
21 rue Lavoisier
We visited this 32-room hotel in 2004. It’s in a well-located, charming townhouse. The hotel had very recently been renovated, and the gracious receptionist was enthusiastic to show us the adapted room. There is one adapted room, which is located on the ground floor and is in the deluxe category. The entrance vestibule of the adapted room has a very tight turning radius. The decor is elegant and the ceiling high. There is a sitting area in an outdoor terrace, which is up a high step and hence inaccessible. Without the terrace area, the bedroom is quite small. The bathroom is decent size, but the space around the toilet is tight. There is a bathtub and no roll-in shower. There is sufficient space to remove the bathtub and install a roll-in shower; doing so would also afford more transfer space next to the toilet. This was a sincere, well-intentioned attempt to make an adapted room, but unfortunately the design is quite poor.
Hyatt Regency Paris –
Madeleine ** Four or Five star 8th Arrondissement
24 Boulevard Malesherbes
We visited this luxury hotel in 2004. The front entrance is level with the street. The elevator is relatively large, and Howard fit easily. We saw room 211, an adapted room. We were told that rooms 111 and 311 are also adapted and are identical, except 211 has a higher ceiling. The bedroom is spacious and very well appointed. The bathroom is large and has very elegant marble, but the access features are poorly designed. There is a wall on one side of the toilet and a shower stall on the other, so there is no side transfer space. There is a large bathtub and a long, narrow shower. The shower has a 2 inch (5 cm) high threshold that is not ramped. The staff told us there is a portable ramp for the shower, but we could see that the ramp would have to be dangerously steep given the small available space. The shower has two large glass doors that open, but the threshold is an insurmountable obstacle for many wheelchairs. We were told that this room had recently been renovated. The bathroom is certainly large enough to have had excellent access. The architect could have removed the bathtub and created a roll-in shower where the bathtub was, which would have left plenty of space next to the toilet for a side transfer. Unfortunately, this bathroom is an example of the poor design of adapted bathrooms common in Paris hotels.
Les Trois Poussins RIS Three star 9th
15 rue Clauzel
This 40-room hotel is in an old mansion. We learned the following information by email in 2007. There is a 7 inch (18 cm) step at the front entrance. There is one adapted room, which is on the ground floor. The bedroom size is 194 square feet (18 square meters), and the bathroom is 48 square feet (4.5 square meters). All doors in the bedroom and bathroom are at least 29½ inches (75 cm) wide. There is a roll-in shower, but there are no grab bars in the shower or near the toilet. The shower floor is a one- piece pan, and it is up a ramped threshold approximately 2 inches (5 cm) above the level of the rest of the bathroom floor. There is a small wall-mounted shower bench.
Paris Bastille RIS (?) Two star 11th
Faubourg Saint Antoine
13, rue Trousseau
According to the Ibis website in 2007, this hotel has three adapted rooms. They appear to be similar to those at the Ibis Bastille Opera (see below).
Bastille Opera RIS Two star 11th
15, rue Breguet
My friend, a power wheelchair user who stayed here in 2006, provided the following information. This hotel has been renovated within the past couple of years. The elevators are large and modern. There are six or seven adapted rooms. The bedroom is small, but the bathroom is quite spacious. There is a large roll-in shower without grab bars, and plenty of space at one side of the toilet for transfer. The bathroom has a large sink and a heater.
Concorde Montparnasse Three star 14th
40, rue du Commandant Mouchotte
This 354-room hotel opened in 2004. We were informed by phone by two different employees on two different days in March 2007 that it has adapted rooms but no rooms with roll-in showers. Other access details were not forthcoming.
Like the Hotel du Louvre and the Lutetia, this hotel is part of Concorde Hotels, which was acquired by Starwood Capital in 2005. (Starwood Capital is a private equity firm which has different ownership and management from Starwood Hotels and Resorts.)
Eiffel Cambronne RIS Two star 15th
2, rue Cambronne
We learned the following information from www.accessinparis.org in 2007. There are eight well-designed adapted rooms in this 523-room hotel, several or all of which have roll-in showers. There is at least 31½ inches (80 cm) side transfer space adjacent to the toilet. Door width is at least 31½ inches (80 cm).
Novotel Paris Tour Eiffel RIS
Four star 15th Arrondissement
61, quai de Grenelle
This modern building has 764 rooms. We learned by email in 2007 that the hotel has 17 adapted rooms, all with roll-in showers.
III. ACCESSIBLE BUT NOT ADAPTED
See the introduction. A hotel that is “accessible” has an accessible path of travel to the hotel room, but many elements of the room, and especially the bathroom, are not usable by most people who use wheelchairs; these rooms are generally not accessible by American standards. The hotels we visited are indicated by **.
Brighton ** Three star 1st
218, rue de Rivoli
We visited this hotel in 2005. This medium-size hotel, extraordinarily well located facing the Jardin des Tuileries, has a level entrance with sliding electric doors. Howard was able to fit in the elevator, although without much room to spare. The Tuileries view rooms have breathtaking views of the Eiffel Tower and the Jardin des Tuileries. None of the rooms is adapted, but the junior suites have large bathrooms with both bathtub and shower. Unfortunately, the shower is up a step of several inches. The toilet is in a separate, small room and there is not sufficient space to transfer. The bathrooms in the junior suites are definitely large enough to be renovated for complete access, including roll-in showers. The hotel staff was extraordinarily welcoming and gracious.
Hotel Louvre Saint Honore
Three star 1st Arrondissement
141, rue Saint Honore
This information is from emails in 2003. There is one small stair at the entrance. There is one accessible but not adapted room on the ground floor. Room size is 172 square feet (16 square meters); bathroom size is 54 to 64 square feet (5 to 6 square meters). There is a shower, but it is unclear whether it is a roll-in shower. There are no grab bars in the shower or near the toilet. There is at least 27.5 inches (70 cm) of space at one side of the toilet.
Hotel Mont Thabor
** Three star 1st
4, rue du Mont Thabor
This information is from emails in 2003. There is a 4 to 5 inch (10 to 13 cm) step at the front entrance. We were told the hotel was renovated in 2000 and there is a new porch lift. We were told there are six accessible rooms, but the hotel was full when we visited and we were unable to see any rooms.
Hotel Royal Saint-Honore
** Four star 1st Arrondissement
221, rue Saint-Honore
This information is from 2003. There is one extremely high step at the front entrance. We were told the hotel had been renovated in 2000. We were told there are four accessible rooms, but the hotel was full when we visited in 2003 and we were unable to see any rooms.
Hotel Daunou Opera
Three star 2nd Arrondissement
6, rue Daunou
The following information was provided by email in 2003. The elevator is large enough for a wheelchair. There is a bathtub only, no roll-in shower.
Four star 5th Arrondissement
41, rue des Ecoles
We learned the following information by email in 2003. The hotel opened in 2000. The entrance has no stairs. There is an accessible, but not adapted, room on the ground floor. Room size is 215 square feet (20 square meters). There is a bathtub only, no roll-in shower. There are no grab bars.
Citadines St. Germain-des-Pres
** Three star 6th Arrondissement
53 ter, quai des Grands Augustins
This “apartment-hotel” with cooking facilities opened in 2000. It’s in a superb location along the Seine. We visited in 2004. There is a low threshold at the entrance. There is a large well-designed wheelchair accessible public bathroom on the ground floor near the lobby. We saw a studio and a one-bedroom suite. Both have gorgeous, panoramic views of the Seine. The studio is small and its bed is a sofabed, which must be pulled out and has no headboard. Both apartments are very clean and have basic, spartan decor and small, inaccessible kitchenettes. The one-bedroom suite has a small bedroom and a large sitting room. The bathroom is the same in both apartments and it has no roll-in shower. The bathroom is fairly large and has built-in storage shelves. We are not certain whether there is enough space next to the toilet for a side transfer. There is no leg space under the sink because there is a full cupboard under it. The bathrooms are certainly large enough to be reconfigured with roll-showers and much better access. According to the website, the studios are 269 square feet (25 square meters) and the one bedroom suites are 409 square feet (38 square meters), in both cases including the bathroom. This facility is yet another example of a missed opportunity to provide good wheelchair access
Citadines has many other locations in Paris. Their basic configurations and access features appear to be similar, per the Citadines website.
Hotel Le Clos Medicis
Three star 6th Arrondissement
56, rue Monsieur-Le-Prince
The following information is based on e-mails from 2003 and 2004. A triple room, located on the ground floor, is accessible and has wider doors and a larger bathroom than the standard rooms. Room size is variously stated as 151 or 183 square feet (14 or 17 square meters), not including the bathroom. The bedroom and bathroom doors are 31½ inches (80 cm) wide. There are no grab bars and there probably is insufficient transfer space at side of toilet. The building was renovated in 1994. The rooms look charming on the website and there is a nice terrace. The hotel was full when we tried to visit. This hotel appears worthwhile visiting.
Hotel Prince de Conde
Three star 6th Arrondissement
39, rue de Seine
We learned the following by email in 2003. Accessible room size is 215 square feet (20 square meters) including the bathroom. There are grab bars. There is a bathtub only, no roll-in shower.
Hotel Prince de Conti
** Three star 6th Arrondissement
8, rue Guenegaud
There is one accessible room, located on the ground floor. We inspected this room in 2000 and found it to be quite small. Stated room size is 161 square feet (15 square meters); stated bathroom size is 54 square feet (5 square meters). Stated bedroom door width is 31½ inches (80 cm). Stated bathroom door width is 27½ inches (70 cm). There is a bathtub only, no roll-in shower. There are no grab bars. The toilet appears to be in a tight corner with inadequate side transfer space.
Four star 6th Arrondissement
3, rue Christine
This small hotel is very elegant and very expensive. We learned the following information by email in 2004. There is one accessible but not adapted room, which is located on the ground floor. There is a bathtub and shower, but the shower has a step. There are no grab bars. The bathrooms and toilets are small.
Best Western Premier Eiffel Park Hotel
** Three star 7th Arrondissement
17 bis, rue Amelie
In 2003 we visited this 36-room hotel, which we were told had been renovated in 2001. The entrance is level. The hallways are extremely narrow, and Howard was just barely able to fit into the elevator. We were shown two designated accessible rooms; one is very small and the other tiny. There are grab bars. There are bathtubs and no roll-in showers.
See the introduction. For the hotels we visited, we’ve tried to indicate whether it appears that the hotel could be made adapted/accessible or whether there appear to be insurmountable physical barriers. Except where otherwise indicated, all information in this section is from 2003. The hotels we visited are indicated by **.
Duminy Vendome Three star 1st
3-5, rue du Mont-Thabor
There are three stairs at the entrance.
Mansart Three star 1st
5, rue des Capucines
Relais du Louvre Three star 1st
19, rue des Pretres-Saint-Germain-l’Axerrois
Tuileries Three star 1st
10, rue Saint Hyacinthe
The bathrooms are very small.
Violet Three star
7, rue Jean Lantier
Favart Three star
5, rue Marivaux
de la Reine ** Four star 3rd
28, Place des Vosges
In 2004 we visited this beautiful, elegant hotel located on the Place des Vosges. The main entrance is down several stairs through a gorgeous courtyard. There is a narrow but level entrance on the side street. The staff was very welcoming. There are several guest rooms on the ground floor, but none is adapted. The staff showed us two standard rooms. Each is large enough to be made adapted, although this might require removing a small, apparently non-load-bearing wall in the vestibule just inside the room entrance. The building has no elevator, and it appears very difficult, if not impossible, to install an elevator, so any adapted rooms would need to be on the ground floor.
California Saint-Germain Three star 5th
32, rue des Ecoles
Sully Saint-Germain Three star 5th
31, rue des Ecoles
l’Abbaye Three star 6th
10, rue Cassette
d’Angleterre ** Three star 6th
44, rue Jacob
We visited this hotel in 2003. There are two stairs at the entrance. The elevator is too small for a wheelchair and there are no guest rooms on the ground floor; hence there are no wheelchair accessible rooms and it appears impossible to make this hotel accessible. Be aware that there is a hotel in the 8th Arrondissement with the same name.
** Four star 6th
33, rue Dauphine
In 2003 we visited this 50-room hotel, which we were told had last been renovated in 1996. There are two moderate height stairs at the front entrance. The elevator appears large enough for a wheelchair but Howard didn’t try it. There are no wheelchair accessible or adapted rooms. If the elevator is large enough for a wheelchair, the hotel could and should create some adapted rooms.
Western Aramis Saint Germain Three star 6th
124, rue de Rennes
Western Villa des Artistes Three star 6th
9, rue de la Grand Chaumiere
This hotel was completely renovated in 1997.
Buci ** Four star 6th
22, rue de Buci
We visited this 24-room hotel in 2003. The elevator is too small for a wheelchair and there are no guest rooms on the ground floor. Hence there are no accessible rooms and it appears impossible to make the hotel accessible.
Fleurie Three star 6th
32-34, rue Gregoire de Tours
The elevator is too small for a wheelchair.
Grand Hotel des
Balcons Three star 6th
3, rue Casimir-Delavigne
Lutetia ** Four star 6th
45, boulevard Raspail
We visited this grand 1910 Art Deco 230-room hotel in 2003 and 2005. There are several stairs at the main entrance, approximately five stairs between the entrance and the lobby, and possibly additional stairs between the lobby and the elevators. The only wheelchair access is via a small, dingy freight elevator through a dirty hallway. Although the guest rooms were renovated in 2003 and 2005, there appears to be no plan to improve access to the building or to create adapted rooms. The building is large and the guest floors have wide hallways. It appears that access to the hotel could be greatly improved and adapted rooms created.
On both occasions the staff ignored us for a long time and we waited to be helped. There seemed to be a combination of snobbishness and incompetence, and an utter lack of knowledge about wheelchair access. In 2003 we were told there were no adapted rooms but the hotel was being renovated. In 2005 the staff person who finally arrived told us there are no adapted rooms and showed us a deluxe room.
The deluxe room is certainly large enough to be adapted. The bathroom is also large enough to be adapted; it is long and somewhat narrow, so a renovation must be carefully designed. Although the hotel’s main entrance may not be capable of being made accessible without significantly damaging the architectural detail and historical character, one of the entrances through the restaurant probably could be; at a minimum the service entrance and elevator should be improved.
Like the Hotel du Louvre, the Lutetia is part of Concorde Hotels, which was acquired by Starwood Capital in 2005. (Starwood Capital is a private equity firm which has different ownership and management from Starwood Hotels and Resorts.)
Hotel Three star 6th
143, boulevard Saint Germain
There are two stairs at the entrance.
l’Odeon Three star 6th
13, rue Saint-Sulpice
Hotel le Regent
Three star 6th Arrondissement
61, rue Dauphine
This hotel has 25 rooms.
des Arts Unknown 6th
14, rue Git-le-Coeur
Saints-Peres ** Three star 6th
65, rue des Saints-Peres
In 2003 we visited this 39-room hotel, which we were told had last been renovated in 1996. There are no stairs at the entrance. The elevator is too small for a wheelchair. There are two guest rooms on the ground floor. All rooms were occupied, so we couldn’t see any. There are no wheelchair accessible rooms, per the receptionist. The ground floor hallway and lobby are wide. From the hallway at least, it appears that one or both of the ground floor rooms could be made into adapted rooms.
Seine ** Three star 6th
52, rue de Seine
We visited this 30-room hotel in 2003. It had not been recently renovated. The entrance is ramped. The elevator is too small for a wheelchair and there are no guest rooms on the ground floor; hence there are no accessible rooms and it appears impossible to make the hotel accessible.
Relais Saint-Sulpice Three star 6th
3, rue Garanciere
Senateur Three star 6th
10, rue Vaugirard
** Four star 6th
29, rue Jacob
In 2003 we visited this 31-room hotel, which we were told had been renovated in 2001. There is a 6 inch (15 cm) step at the front entrance; it could have been ramped because the opening is inward - the threshold step doesn’t protrude onto the sidewalk. Although Howard didn’t try the elevator, it appears large enough for a wheelchair. There are no accessible or adapted rooms. The ground floor inaccessible standard room we were shown was quite small. If the elevator is large enough for a wheelchair, it appears possible to create some adapted rooms.
Villa d’Estrees ** Four star 6th
17, rue Git-le-Coeur
We visited this 10-room hotel in 2004. It’s charming and in a great location on a quiet side street near the Seine. There is a 7 or 8 inch (17 to 20 cm) step at the entrance. None of the rooms is adapted, but the room Michele was shown is large and probably could be adapted. The elevator is large enough for a wheelchair. If they ever do make an adapted room, we would definitely consider staying there.
We received a very polite fax from the owner in 2004 explaining that the elevator and corridors in this 18th century building are too small for a wheelchair.
de Saint-Simon ** Three star 7th
14, rue de Saint-Simon
We visited this 34-room hotel in 2003. The entrance is level, although narrow. The elevator is too small for a wheelchair. Per the receptionist, there are three rooms and three suites on the ground floor, but none has an accessible bathroom. All rooms were occupied, so we couldn’t see any of them. Given how many rooms there are on the ground floor, it seems likely that at least one could be made into an adapted room.
James Paris Four star 16th
43, avenue Bugeaud
My wife and I will arrive in [ ] on [ ] and depart on [ ]. We will stay for [ ] nights.
I use an electric wheelchair that is [[ ] centimeters ([ ] inches)] wide. I am unable to walk at all. My wife is not disabled. We would like a non-smoking room with one large bed. We have the following questions about your hotel:
1. Do you have any specially equipped (adapted) wheelchair accessible guest rooms? If not, please disregard the other questions. Thank you and we would appreciate a recommendation of hotel in the area that does have specially equipped (adapted) wheelchair accessible guest rooms.
If you do have specially equipped (adapted) wheelchair accessible guest rooms, we have the following questions. Please answer even if you are fully booked for the requested time, because we are interested in your hotel for the future.
1. Is it necessary to go up or down any stairs in order to get from the street entrance to the guest room? Does the building have an elevator? If so, how wide is the elevator door and what are the interior dimensions of the elevator?
2. In the bathroom, is there space for a [ ] cm wide wheelchair on one side of the toilet? What is the width of the doorway into the bathroom? What is the height of the toilet? What is the size of the shower? Can a wheelchair roll into the shower? Are there grab bars near the toilet and shower?
3. Are all the doorways in the room at least 75 cm wide?
4. What is the size of the room? Does this include the bathroom?
5. Was the building renovated recently?
6. Could you please email a picture of the bathroom.
If you do have specially equipped (adapted) wheelchair accessible guest rooms, is the room available on the nights mentioned above? If yes, please quote a price.
Thank you very much. We can be reached at [ ]. We really appreciate any help you can provide.
Very Truly Yours
METRIC CONVERSION GUIDE
One inch = 2.54 centimeters.
One centimeter = 0.3937 inches
One meter = 39.4 inches
One square meter = 10.76 square feet
One kilometer = 0.62 miles
One mile = 1.61 kilometers
One kilogram = 2.2 pounds
One hundred grams = just under ¼ pound (3 ½ ounces)
One pound = 0.454 kilograms (454 grams)
One liter = 0.264 gallons = 1.056 quarts
One gallon = 3.785 liters
Editor's note: Don't miss the following access reports by Howard & Michele Chabner's
Paris Passerelles - Wheelchair Accessible Travel In Paris at
Paris Appendices: Hotel Wheelchair Access Questionnaire, Metric Conversion & Hotel Wheelchair Access Survey Results)
2005 Paris Passerelles
2003 Rome, Italy at
2005 Vicenza, Florence and Rome at
Navigating Naples at
2004 visit to these cities in Spain:
Cordoba & Seville
Toledo, Madrid, Segovia
Additional Information & Appendices A, B & C
Top of Page
Back to Travel Archives
Copyright © Global Access News 2006 1995-2011 "All Rights Reserved"