Moving to France with a disability

Hello everyone,

Having a disability should not be a barrier to living abroad. While the intricacies of one's move to France may be specific to the individual, certain steps can be undertaken to make the process smoother.

What are the important aspects you would personally keep in mind during the planning phase (social security benefits, ongoing medical treatment, etc.)?

Are you required to go through a medical check-up before your move?

Are there any organisations or groups who lend support to expatriates who have a disability?

What are your thoughts on the infrastructure in France (public spaces, transportation and buildings)?

Are there enough opportunities to make the most of your social life in France? Are leisure activities made accessible to people with disabilities? 

Please do share your experience with us.


Bonjour à tous,

Jody (my husband who has used a wheelchair for 55 years) and I have owned our flat in the center of Nice for nearly 20 years. We have found the city -- and much of the region -- to be extremely easy to navigate, especially the public transportation.

Our summers are spent enjoying all the center has to offer including the accessible beaches . We often bus or, train to other areas to dine with friends and should we need specific transportation we can reserve Mobil'Azur.

When we leave the city by train we purchase tickets in advance and reserve assistance (48 hours ahead of departure) provided free of charge by SNCF. However, in the event we decide last minute to take the train, the station is completely accessible as are most trains.

Most buses have automatic ramps with space designated for wheelchairs.  In June of 2019, the new tramline opened, which enables us to go to/from the Nice airport for 1euro each way all accessible.

Overall, our time spent on the Riviera is easy and enjoyable; we look forward to future trips, further from the center as we learn more about the lovely language and the many accessible transportation options.

We highly recommend the Côté d'Azur.
Madame Dyer

I am my mother's full-time caregiver.  She is the one paralyzed and in a wheelchair.  But my mother had a massive stroke back in 2013 and in addition to the paralysis, my mother cannot speak (aphasia) so she doesn't go anywhere.  Her life essentially exists between two rooms in the house, her room, and the living room.

I have recently learned that as my mother's wheelchair and Hoyer lift are necessities of her daily life, I won't have to pay any luggage fees when we fly over.  You can check this out with the airlines.

I have also researched a bit more and found out that my mom, as she is, for all intents and purposes, "retired" and receives a steady income, she will be able to get legal residency status after three months.  (I know that there is a great deal of footwork/ paperwork/ etc., that has to happen between now and then, and if anyone has any  tips or info about going about this, it would be greatly appreciated.)

We are Bordeaux bound by year's end, 2020.

There are a lot of different types of visas that validate to a residence permit (titre de séjour); I have not heard of one specifically for disabled, but the one for retirees is called "visiteur." All VLS/TDS (long-stay visa, valable titre de séjour) are validated via OFII (office of immigration and integration) - you are supposed to do this within 3 months of arrival, but sometimes it takes longer. Also at 3 months, anyone can apply via CPAM for the French health coverage (assurance maladie, carte vitale). Coverage doesn't start immediately tho; it can take months to get approved and on the system.

Bonjour Ml Walton13

I'm interested in moving back to France from Ireland after Christmas.  I have found living   in Arcachon, and  Bordeaux is unbelievable. You are going to have a incredible experience there with your mom.

I've put out my radar antenna  to locate shared accommodation with a connection point.  A meaningful situation.
Well... your query appeared on Expat so I'm thinking you might need some sort of assistance with you  in giving you ample space and time to expand into all of this with mom. This is a new country, new language and the culture is day and night massively different from the us to say the least in a tres chic way..

I have a stretch of experience in home health care  from alzheimer's to parkinson's, not that your mother has either.
My web site is [link moderated]  This might be a temporary fit for both of us.   If interested please advise. Best of luck regardless.

Kind regards,
Kathleen Woods

@Bhavna thank you for responding. This is helpful. 

Hello VivanzM,

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