People With Disabilities
Overview of the facilities, organisations and support available for people with mobility, mental, sight or hearing impairments in France...
Note: Most of this information for the disabled takes you to services in French only.
The Caisse Nationale de Solidarité pour l'Autonomie (CNSA) is the overseeing body for the disabled adults and children and the aged with limited abilities.
The French Ministry of Health and Social Affairs provides disability news, policy information and resources.
The French word "handicapé" is used to refer to both physical disabilities (handicapé moteur) and mental disabilities (handicapé mental).
General Information and Helpful Links
Most large towns have a pharmacy or medical supplier for purchase or rental of equipment for the disabled and elderly: wheelchairs (fauteuils-roulants, manuel/électrique), mini-lifts, walkers and general orthopaedic equipment. Ask at an English-speaking pharmacy or look in the Pages Jaunes (French yellow pages) under the heading "Handicapées: matériel et services pour".
A Disabled Person's Priority Card (Carte de Priorité Pour Personne Handicapée) is available to those deemed by the French government to be at least 80 percent disabled, whether physically or mentally. The card is used to obtain priority queuing and seating on public transport and in waiting rooms, schools and public events.
To obtain a Disabled Person's Priority Card, the following must be presented at the MDPH (Maison Départementale des Personnes Handicapées):
- Forms Cerfa 12689*01 and 12692*01: Click here and here for PDF versions of the forms (in French)
- a medical certificate from a doctor specifying the disability
- identification and at least one photocopy
- a valid residence permit and at least one photocopy (if applicable)
- a recent passport photograph
Each department's MDPH is responsible for matters concerning disability.
- To find a local MDPH: Click here (in French)
France Telecom has a selection of services called "Solutions Handicap".
- For information on France Telecom's services for the disabled: Click here (in French)
National French associations for mental and physical disability
Handicap.fr: French website with general information, articles, resources and legal information on a number of subdomains:
Comité National Français de Liaison pour la Réadaptation des Handicapés (CNFLRH)
At: rue de Tolbiac 236 bis, 75013 Paris
Tel: 01 53 80 66 66
Association des Paralysés de France: French website with news, information and advice for people living with paralysis in France.
Autisme France: National association helping autistic people and their families
Leisure Time and Entertainment
Calibre Audio Books is a UK charity that supplies audio books in English on cassette or disk to visually impaired and disabled people. The free service is available to members (registration can be made via the website). Free postal service is available to anywhere in Europe.
The English Language Library for the Blind in Paris provides books on tape in English to English-speakers all over the world by post. The selection of available audio books is quite large.
English Language Library for the Blind
At: 35 rue Lemercier, 75017 Paris
Tel: 01 42 93 47 57
The Ecole de Ski Française offers skiing lessons for the disabled in over 50 of its skiing schools. Individual and group classes are available for the deaf, blind and those with reduced mobility.
Fédération Française Handisport is a French organisation that provides information on national and international disabled sporting activities and events.
Fédération Française Handisport
At: 42 rue Louis Lumiére, 75020 Paris
Travel and tourism information for disabled people is available from the Association Tourisme & Handicaps
Disabled Transportation and Travel
SNCF, the French railway system, caters to the hearing and sight disabled as well as physically disabled and wheelchair-bound passengers by providing designated spaces and facilities in the carriages. In some locations, adapted transport service to the station can be provided.
A door-to-door bag transport service is available for a fee, and can be booked when the ticket is purchased. The baggage will be delivered within 24 hours.
For more information regarding SNCF's accessibility service for passengers with disabilities, see the SNCF website.
Tel: 08 00 15 47 53
Holiday Cars and Hertz offer vehicles adapted for drivers who require hand controls. Holiday Cars offers these vehicles at most locations in France, though may charge a delivery fee. Hertz only offers these vehicles at some locations. Cars should be reserved well in advance.
Cars parked in disabled spaces must display an EU parking badge in the window. The EU parking card is a standardised European Community disabled person's parking permit which provides parking entitlements to badge holders in all complying European countries - a card issued in one country is valid in another. A person coming to France from another EU country may want to apply in their home country for this universal badge which allows the use of reserved parking.
It is recommended to check locally at the town hall (Mairie) or with the municipal police (police municipal) for disabled parking regulations.
Things to keep in mind:
- Spaces in car parks reserved for people with disabilities are marked with a wheelchair symbol
- Do not park in pedestrian zones or on roads where parking is not allowed
- Parking on roads is generally not free of charge for disabled drivers (except in Paris and a few other cities)
- In many areas, drivers with disabilities may park without time restrictions on roads where parking is free but has parking time limits
Drivers with a parking badge from another European country may display this translation (text from the UK Automobile Association):
Carte de stationnement pour handicapé.
La personne à qui appartient cette
carte de stationnement est un
visiteur handicapé d'un autre pays de
la communauté européenne et a les
mêmes droits en matière de
stationnement qu'un handicapé de votre pays.
VERSION COMMUNAUTE EUROPEENNE
- Information from the EU: Click here
- Further information on disabled parking in Europe see the Focus on Disability website: Click here
Getting an EU parking card in France
Application is made to the local MDPH relevant to the disabled person. It can also be submitted by the attending doctor. The following documents are required:
- Completed application form Cerfa 13788
- Available online: Click here (in French)
- Medical certificate completed by the attending doctor
- Cerfa form 13878 available online: Click here
- One recent colour photograph
- Photocopy of ID, passport or valid Carte de Séjour
- Proof of address (EDF bill or rent receipt)
The card is valid for at least one year; it must be renewed four months before expiry.
- For more information: Click here (PDF)