• Harriot Grinnell-Moore

The Little Train That Could

Me & Mum waiting for the little train

When my mum was in Paris for a couple of weeks I was ready and raring to do all the touristy, fun sight seeing stuff with her but it turns out Paris is not so easy with a wheelchair. Honestly it's a nightmare, say goodbye to the metro, say goodbye to easily sitting outside at a cafe, say goodbye to easily crossing roads (apparently Paris hasn't cottoned onto drop kerbs quite yet). Even when you research accessible routes, there will be 'out of order' lifts everywhere, although there are lovely people very willing to help hoick a wheelchair up several flights of stairs (who are my heroes).

The easiest sightseeing we did was probably around Montmartre thanks to the Little Train that took you from Pigalle (outside the Moulin Rouge) right up to the Sacre Cœur where you could get off for a wander around and then get back on again whenever you wanted (the trains ran every 20 minutes) and head back down the hill to Pigalle.

It takes you past the big sights in Montmartre, the Sacré-Cœur, Place du Tertre, Lapin Agile, Espace Dali, Musée Montmartre and also provides audio descriptions in English, French and German.

Which, for only €6,50 each was a godsend, I would have given my first born if I meant I did not have to push mum up those hills (love you mum!) It's also extremely easy to collapse the wheelchair and slide it into one of the compartments, however it did not look accessible for electric wheelchair users. My only worry was that either it, or us, would be mercilessly flung from the train as it tilted dangerously quickly along the cobbled streets. Despite the cobbles, it was definitely far easier than some of the little trains that travel from the Château de Versailles to the Trianon estate, there was much pushing and panting to get the wheelchair to even minutely slide into one of the compartments and even then it was stuck, bum up in the air, mostly hanging out of the train.

Oh and the cobbles (again!), quel désastre! I nearly threw mum out on many occasions as the wheelchair got caught and tipped between cobbles (again, sorry mum!) I mean, she still had a lovely time in Paris and people really are helpful, there's even a rule in French supermarkets that you must let handicapped and pregnant women go to the front of the queue, not to mention being able to queue jump practically every tourist attractions so there are some pro's, je supprime.

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Contact me: helgm1@gmail.com | The Netherlands

© 2017 by Harriot E.L. Grinnell-Moore

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