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Disabled Visitors Get a Jump on Journee du Patrimoine

This year, Heritage Days or Journees du Patrimoine is scheduled for the Sept 21-22 ’08 weekend, but disabled visitors to Versailles will get a sneak preview on September 19th. This is the FIRST TIME for this event – thanks Christine Albanel, Minister of Culture and Communication!

The Chateau de Versailles will be one of the venues offering visits designed for visitors in wheelchairs. Specifically, the Grand Trianon will be the focal point for a free guided visit for disabled visitors and their escorts. Wheelchairs may be borrowed on location for the visit. You may be requested to present documents confirming your handicap status.

In addition to the Grand Trianon, garden tours will be arranged for disabled kids under the heading “Enfants du Patrimoine”.

Free Parking will be made available at the Place d’Armes.

Back in Paris, the Arc de Triomphe will welcome hearing-impaired visitors for a guided visit. (Wheelchair access is not available for the top of the Arc de Triomphe which can only be reached by using steps).

Up until recent years, Paris has been glaringly lacking in handicap access. Slowly, but surely, public transport and street crossings are starting to make progress – but there’s still a long ways to go. The Metro system includes floor markers to help visually-impaired users steer clear of the tracks, but few intersections use the audible traffic signals. Certain city buses are now wheelchair accessible.

Musee d’Orsay has received certification for wheelchair accessibility – and I.M. Pei’s pyramid entrance at the Louvre has a built in lift for wheelchairs.

Hopefully, the Journee du Patrimoine for the Disabled will continue to spotlight the transport needs of Paris’s residents and tourists with disabilities. Wouldn’t it be great to take wheelchairs up to the top level of the Eiffel Tower some day?

With all the hype about Velib, the city’s bike rental scheme, those that cannot hop so easily onto a bike have been left in the dust. Maybe the tide is beginning to turn.

>>More on Journees du Patrimoine or for the Disabled.

>> Louvre for the Disabled

>> Musee d’Orsay for the Disabled

>> Versailles for the Disabled
Reservations obligatory for the guided Trianon visit: Tel. 01 30 83 75 05

Château de Versailles
Gen Info: Tel. 01 30 83 75 05
Special Needs: Tel. 01 30 83 75 05

Arc de Triomphe
Guided visit for Hearing Impaired:
2 pm and 4 pm, September 19, 2008
Sign Language visit is conducted by a National Monuments hearing-impaired guide.
Info and reservations:
Fax: 01 44 61 21 41

Although wheelchairs cannot be taken to the top of the Arc de Triomphe, motor disabled visitors will have the opportunity to visit the Arc de Triomphe’s new museographie which retraces the history and sculptural decor. For more information, contact:
Tel: 01 44 32 18 04 / fax 01 44 95 02 23