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Lyon France Disabled Access Review

By John Sage

Lyon’s location, accessible Roman ruins, food, and architecture, make it an attractive option for people with disabilities traveling between Northern France and other destinations. Of course you don’t have to just be traveling through this region…it’s worth a visit on its own!

Lyon disabled access challenges include cobblestones (especially in the Vieux Lyon neighborhood) and some steep hills. With the right planning, disabled visitors can overcome these challenges and have an excellent time in Lyon.

For first-time disabled visitors to Lyon, I recommend a minimum of two days:

  • Day 1 – Accessible walking tour including the Vieux Lyon (old town) neighborhood, Notre Dame de Fourviere Basilica, and the Gallo Roman Ruins and Museum. During the walking tour, have lunch in the old town. After the walking tour, have dinner in the Presqu’île neighborhood.
  • Day 2 – Visit more museums (possibly Gadagne Museum, Musée des Confluences, or others). Take an accessible boat tour on the Saône and/or Rhône rivers. Enjoy meals at outdoor cafes.


Best Aspects of Lyon Disabled Access

Excellent food– Lyon is known to rival Parisian food quality without the Parisian prices. Just look at some of these photos! Yum!

Similar architecture to Paris but much cheaper – Many of the buildings in Lyon were built in the same style and time period as buildings in Paris. The architecture is beautiful and staying here is much cheaper than staying in Paris.

Fairly flat Presqu’île neighborhood – Several attractions, accessible hotels, and restaurants are located in the Presqu’île neighborhood which wheelchair users will appreciate. Some photos are shown below.

Sidewalk ramps – Lyon disabled access includes sidewalk ramps in many places which allows wheelchair users and mobility scooter users to avoid ramps. An example near the Saône River is shown below.

Walking distance between many sights – Several of the museums and churches are close enough together that you don’t need private transportation or public transportation to travel between them. In particular this is true in the Presqu’île neighborhood and the View Lyon neighborhood.

Excellent connections between Paris, Southern France, Spain, and Switzerland – Several excellent destinations including Barcelona, Paris, Zurich, and others can be reached via accessible train. 


Most Challenging Aspects of Lyon Disabled Access

Severe cobblestones – Lyon disabled access includes severe cobblestones in some parts of the Presque’îsle neighborhood(shown in the top two photos below) and most of the Old Town neighborhood (shown in the bottom two photos below).

Few helpful bus routes and metro stations – Disabled tourists won’t find many helpful accessible public transportation options between the main tourist attractions. I found myself rolling my manual wheelchair during most of my time spent in Lyon.

Steep hills – There is an extremely steep hill and/or stairs leading up to the Notre Dame Basilica and the Roman Ruins. Two photos from this neighborhood are shown below. There are also steep hills in the silk district to north.

Roman ruins have stairs in many areas– The Roman ruins are spectacular, but they have stairs and uneven ground in many areas. Nevertheless, you can still clearly see the ruins from overlooks.

Ramps at some tourist attractions – Some tourist attractions have ramps like the Saint-Jean Baptiste Cathedral (shown below on the left) or flat access like the hidden side entrance to the Gadagne Museum (shown below on the right).


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