Having cancelled a trip to Australia due to a broken ankle I was adamant to not cancel my trip to Paris.
I had briefed my friend that she was going to have to help me a lot if we were to go but she was adamant that she’d rather be pushing me around Paris than be at home for the weekend.
My aim for Paris was to be able to navigate stairs as I knew I wouldn’t be able to travel without coming across stairs. Thankfully I tackled that problem the first day of partial weight bearing.
Flying to Paris
I informed the airline that I needed assistance through the airport once getting off the plane, but could manage stairs and on the plane with my crutches.
Upon arriving at the airport we informed the airline we’d arrived and we’re instructed to take accessible aisles throughout the airport which gave us a little extra help and meant we didn’t have to queue. My friend was very happy to fly through the airport without a single queue, a very VIP treatment.
At the gate a man was there ready to help us get on the plane. He pushed my chair to the foot of the stairs at the plane and I hopped up them and to my seat.
While on the flight my I experienced a little discomfort in my leg. Just a strange sensation near the break and my leg swelled a little bit but nothing significant.
Landing at Paris we waited for the majority of people to get off the plane and were greeted by a man with a wheelchair for me. He pushed us through to the baggage lounge skipping all the queues on the way. We waited a little while for my wheelchair to arrive and then headed for the taxi rank.
Travelling in Paris
Before going to Paris I’d researched online the best options to getting around Paris whilesuffering from a broken ankle. Most said that train and the metro were not advised as although there were lifts to get to platforms there is often a long walk at stations and for trains a big step up to the train.
Buses were advised over trains and the metro and although we didn’t get one I would say this is the best bet as they are able to lower down to allow easier access for wheelchairs.
We took a taxi from the airport to our hotel which only cost us €50. Taxis are regulated in Paris which means that they can’t hike fares up or take tourists the long way round, so I’d definitely recommend taxis if you have the budget.
Wheelchairs were advised over crutches and I have to agree with this. We ventured out on the first evening with my crutches and found the pavements to be very slippy when wet and there are cobbles on most of the streets which meant I did slip once. A wheelchair just needs a willing assistant and although some curbs aren’t as flat as you’d like we had many locals help us where we got stuck.
Where to stay
I’d booked Paris way before I broke my ankle and booked a hotel near Montemartre which isabout 1 mile out of the city centre. It’s one of my favourite areas filled with bars, cafes, restaurants and cobbled streets. Beautiful, but definitely not wheelchair or crutch friendly. I did look to rebook the hotel but decided not to at last minute.
I’d recommend to anyone visiting Paris with a broken ankle to stay near to the Le Louvre, Les Champs Elysees, or Place du la Concorde. This is very central and flat with lots of main roads with controlled crossings.
We did manage in Montematre but it is up a hill so although easy to get down into the city centre it meant my friend had to push me a mile back up hill to get back to the hotel.
Sightseeing in Paris
A lot of the sights in Paris seem to involve steps. I was obviously unable to climb the L’Arc du
Triomphe and we skipped the Eiffel Tower. Although I believe you can go up to the second level in
Le Louvre is do able by wheelchair and they even have the ability to hire wheelchairs there if you only have crutches with you. I believe this may be the case in a number of museums in Paris.
As mentioned before much of Montemartre is not suitable for wheelchairs thanks to the hills, steps and cobbles. But you could get a taxi to the Sacre Couer on the top of the hill to take in the view.
I’d recommend popping into Laduree for lunch. It’s accessible by wheelchair and the staff are extremely helpful. They were quite happy for us to sit and enjoy our lunch and wine without chasing us out.
Overall Paris with a broken ankle is do able if you have a willing friend or family member to push you around in a wheelchair. I’m extremely happy I didn’t cancel the trip and went with my friend. We had a fabulous time and are already planning our next trip when I hope to be walking freely.
Diary of a broken ankle:
Week 1 – The accident and cancelling Australia
Week 2 – Down days and mini wins
Week 3 – Mental health and finally some good news
Week 4 – Returning home and finding support
Week 5 – The cast is off
Week 6 – Returning to work and ankle rehab
Week 7 – Cycling and a half marathon surprise
Week 8 – First unassisted step and last hospital checkup
Week 9 – Returning to work