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How accessible are France’s municipalities?

Using public transport, moving around in the streets, access to shops, public places or care facilities are all daily activities, but can become enormous challenges for persons with disabilities. APF France handicap (COFACE member) launched a major consultation jointly with Ifop in October 2019 to unfold the status quo of accessibility in France. Nearly 12,000 people participated – with or without disabilities – and expressed their views on “living well” in their town or city. And there is still a lot to be done!

Today, 9 out of 10 people experience difficulties in their daily movements. This is the alarming finding that emerges from the consultation. Among the 14 largest French cities, Grenoble ranks the highest with 30% of the respondents saying that they are rarely or never hindered in their movements. It is followed by Rennes (27% of respondents) then Nantes and Strasbourg (24%).

Other key findings from the survey are

  • Access to public transport: 72% of residents in rural communities dissatisfied
  • Access to specialized medical practices: 53% of people on crutches or in wheelchairs experience difficulties
  • 70% of people on crutches or in wheelchairs had difficulty finding housing adapted to their needs
  • Access to bars and restaurants: 55% of people with disabilities experience difficulties
  • Road accessibility: 65% of able-bodied people are dissatisfied
  • 72% of people travelling with strollers say they have difficulty with accessibility when using a stroller

Despite three laws on accessibility since 1975, France is lagging behind enormously in this area. This is why, as the municipal elections of 2020 approach, APF France Handicap is calling for measures so that persons with disabilities, but also older persons with loss of autonomy, parents with strollers, temporary injured people and others can move around without hindrance. To be able to come and go in the street, to take transport, to access shops, to places of care: #Cestlabase.


In line with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), ratified by France in 2010, and in particular its article 9 on accessibility, APF France Handicap advocates for an effective implementation of right to mobility with no obstacles and for the evolution of the concept of accessibility towards models allowing to reach the satisfaction of any user, like ACCEV (Accessibility and Suitability of Living Spaces) and HQU© (High Quality of Use):

  • Access to establishments open to the public
  • Access to Transportation
  • Access to schools
  • Access to citizenship
  • Access to housing

Detailed list here.

Next March, municipal elections will be held in France and APF expects the candidates to make a strong commitment to make their city or municipality accessible. To defend a France that is united, inclusive and accessible, share the results of the survey.

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