Finding the ideal holiday destination, where the desires of every family member can be met is always a challenge. When a member of your family has a disability, it can be even more difficult to find a destination that is suitable for your needs. Knowing that you are heading to an area where there is accommodation, activities and facilities that mean everyone can enjoy your family holiday removes a lot of worries.
Across France there is a nationally recognised label; ‘Tourisme Handicap’ which is awarded to accommodation, restaurants and visitor attraction who have out in place facilities that allow people with disabilities to access their services. These could include a combination of ramps for wheelchair access, audio description and subtitled films.
Brittany Ferries and P&O Ferries offer cabins and toilets which are accessible by wheelchair users. Braille signs are located around the ferries and announcements are made via a loud speaker for all passengers. As facilities are limited, it is advisable to book as early as possible to reserve a suitable cabin and request any assistance that you may need with embarking and disembarking. Staff at the on-board information desks will also provide assistance.
Eurotunnel from Dover to Calais has easy to access disabled toilets, restaurants, cafes and shops on both sides of the channel. Travellers remain in their car during the short crossing, which may be easier than trying to negotiate the corridors of a ferry.
Tourist Information Centres will be able to provide details on the local attractions and restaurants that have achieved the Tourisme Handicap label. In addition you will find other places that welcome disabled visitors, but haven’t got sufficient facilities in place to be officially recognised.
Camping Sol a Gogo has a specific toilet and shower block which is reserved for disabled users. The campsite itself has level pathways which are suitable for wheelchairs. Mobile homes on the site will present more of a challenge due to the steps up to the deck and limited door frames, but would be suitable for those with other disabilities.
In Saint Hillarie de Riez is ‘La Base des Vallees’ sailing school, which has achieved ‘Tourisme Handicap’. English speaking instructors offer people of all abilities the opportunity to take part in sailing courses. From literally learning the ropes, to experiencing the exhilaration of being out on the waves, this could be a great family holiday experience.
The ‘Centre de Tir’, a shooting range in the town and ‘Restaurant 201’ also display the ‘Tourisme Handicap’ label, but there are a wealth of other cafes and restaurants which have good facilities.
The beach is an attraction on any coastal holiday. ‘The Grande Plage de Sion’ and ‘Bussolenes’ beaches in Saint Hillarie de Riez both have ramps and facilities that allow access to the sands and promenade walks.
Close by the town of Saint Gilles Croix de Vie includes a surfing school, swimming pool and casino with the ‘Tourisme Handicap’ label and a beach with easy access. At the Tourist Information Centre you can pick up details of other attractions in the area, such as Vendee Minature, Natur’zoo and Le Jardin Du Vent where specialist facilities mean everyone can enjoy their visit.
Any views or opinions expressed in all articles under the title “Carisma News” are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Carisma Holidays Limited