My dad came to visit. He traveled all the way to Europe and was bound and determined to see things. Unfortunately, dad’s knee is bone on bone. He can walk, but needs knee surgery soon and can’t spend much time on his feet or move too quickly. The only way to get him around museums was renting a folding wheelchair (chaise roulette). Museums often have ones you can borrow for free. It was lightweight and made it possible for him to see a lot. The highlight of being in a wheelchair was a front row seat to the Mona Lisa at Paris’ Louvre Museum.
Unfortunately, the Louvre museum was once a palace and is not as handicapped friendly as we’d hoped. Wheelchair ramps were sorely lacking. It was pretty obvious that it is hard to retrofit museums with elevators/lifts at convenient spots. The Musée d’Orsay (a bit of a nightmare) and the Hôtel National des Invalides Army Museum weren’t easy to navigate either. Fortunately, they had some pretty cool stuff to make any the frustration well worth it.
Check out all the in the stairs in these pictures. While the retrofit of an old train station is pretty cool and well done, all the stairs make some corners virtually inaccessible.
Even when they had a wheelchair lift, we had to go in search of personnel to operate the lift. This often took 20 minutes or so. While all of this was a bit of an inconvenience, it (more or less) worked and my dad was blown away by what he saw. So were we.
On another note, it made us appreciate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and how accessible things are in the US.