Making Paris 2024 accessible for all

Being largely underground, the Paris Métro is particularly difficult to improve access to. Metro line 14 is the only one that is autonomously accessible for wheelchair use

Architectural consultant Edouard Pastor, who specialises in improving access for disabled people, tells Gary Lee Kraut about the challenges in making Paris accessible to all in the run-up to the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games

With Paris officially awarded the 2024 Olympic and Paralym­pic Games, the issue of better disabled access across the capital is more important than ever.

Over the past 20 years, the French capital has made great strides transforming buildings formerly inaccessible – and even in changing the terminology, from “disabled or handicapped persons” to those “in a situation of disability”.

A number of factors forced it: increasingly applied laws, active associations defending the rights of those with disabilities, public awareness, and architects such as Edouard Pastor, a leading specialist in accessibility.

Mr Pastor sometimes uses a wheelchair due to a childhood accident that permanently damaged one leg, but said: “My own handicap didn’t lead me to becoming an architect but I feel I’m a good consultant because in addition to my know-how I live in a situation of disability and therefore I am aware of the sense of exclusion that can come with it.

“I can have the impression of being very small when I’m using the wheelchair”.

Laws have demanded access im­prove­ments since 1991 but the first major push came with the 2005 Disa­b­ility Law, which codified the need to create conditions for autonomy and participation for all.

It applied to owners of private ...

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