Travelling in Aveyron in France with an handicap: Bozouls, a wheelchair friendly destination
Discovering Bozouls canyon with a motor disability
Understanding the canyon geology at Terra Memoria museum
If you ask locals what to do in Bozouls they will surely answer you to go admire the canyon, also called the Trou de Bozouls. This canyon, beeing 100 metres deep and 400 metres wide, is intriguing. It looks like a horseshoe! Over the centuries, the Dourdou river dug this chasm and today many houses and other buildings, built only a few metres away from the cliff, overlook the canyon.
Among those building there is the Terra Memoria museum. Visiting it helps to understand how the canyon has been shaped over the years. The museum is designed so visitors can interact with different elements and that’s pretty cool, especially for kids. For example you can touch and lift different rocks, listen to audioguide and manipulate models. The museum is not so big and mostly aimed at kids but it is still a good way to easily understand geological history of the area before admiring the canyon from the museum lookout platform.
Regarding accessibility, everything goes well. It is easy to move around the museum in a wheelchair and there are wheelchair accessible restrooms.
Flying in a microlight aircraft above Bozouls canyon
Now that the canyon of Bozouls doesn’t have any secret left for us anymore, what do you think of admiring it from the sky? Or maybe you prefer to stay on the ground! As for me, I was very excited when I found out my blog trip program included a flight in an microlight aircraft! I was impatient to have my first flight in such a tiny plane for the first time and, simultaneously, I was also a bit nervous. But eventually, once I saw the aircrafts, I just wanted to get onboard, get equipped as a Top Gun pilot (love that movie! Maverick here I come!) and fly away!
Hurtling down Bozouls canyon in an all-terrain wheelchair
After being high above the canyon let’s explore its depth as closely as possible… but still being in a badass vehicle: an all-terrain wheelchair! I already heard about it but until last week I never tried it. Thanks to the Aveyron parasports association I tried it and absolutely loved it. That was awesome!
Driving an all-terrain wheelchair we are in total control. Unlike in a joëlette, when we drive an all-terrain wheelchair we don’t need anybody to help us and we can move wherever we want when we want. Everything can be controlled from the handlebars and a special version for tetraplegic people also exists. I had a lot of fun driving this electric vehicle up to 35km/h. I could easily go down the canyon and follow the other travel bloggers who were driving electric bikes and electric motorbikes. I rolled on grass, flatten some roots and didn’t care about rocks on the ground! All the things that I can’t do in my wheelchair!
Discovering the culture of Aveyron in Bozouls
Playing Quilles de Huit in Espalion
During one day visiting Bozouls I had a glimpse at the beautiful landscapes of Aveyron. While I never thought to visit this area before, I now want to discover more of it. Well, no need to go far away. Only a few kilometres away stands the charming city of Espalion, crossed by the Lot river. The Vieux-Palais (the old law court) and the Pont-Vieux (Old Bridge) look so picturesque that we could think that we are back some centuries ago.
A few metres away from there many locals are playing a traditional local game : Quilles de Huit. At first sight this game looks like a mix between bowling and pétanque : Eight standing pins are placed one meter away from each others, while the player hold another pin, the quillou, in one hand and a wooden big ball, looking like a bowling ball, in the other hand. The goal is for the player to strike down the pins. To do so, he has to firstly strike the quillou with the ball and then, if there is any pin still standing, he is allowed to throw the ball directly at them. Some skill is required!
Savouring local food in a Michelin starred restaurant
In just a few days I discovered a genuine, warm and welcoming region. A territory as beautiful as the locals I met there and as generous as the local food. Aligot, tripous, cheese soup: traditional dishes in Aveyron are copious. But for this blog trip diner we discovered a more sophisticated food as we were invited by the Michelin-starred Chef Guillaume Viala in his restaurant Le Belvédrère in Bozouls. Every meal, while not being local recipe from this part of France, was highlighted with local ingredients.
Unfortunately the restaurant is not wheelchair accessible. There is a steep slope and a step to enter in. Plus it is impossible for a wheelchair user to access the restrooms. However the restaurant will be renovating next year and from then it will be wheelchair accessible. To be continued…
Accessibility in Bozouls and Espalion :
- Bozouls streets are often steep. If you are a manual wheelchair user, you will need someone’s help.
- There are disabled restrooms in the car park behind the city hall. The street is Allée Paul Causse.
- There are disabled restrooms in the Avenue Pierre Monteil in Espalion, just next to disabled car parking spots.
- There is one wheelchair accessible hotel room in the hotel la Route d’Argent in Bozouls. There is no curb-cut to access the sidewalk leading to the room but the staff has a movable wooden ramp. I would advice you to call them before your arrival to ask for the ramp to be put in place. The main entrance of the hotel is not wheelchair accessible (there are stairs). There is another entrance with a ramp but it is a bit too steep. The hotel restaurant is wheelchair accessible.
- The restaurant “le 121” is fully wheelchair accessible.
If you’re planning to travel to France, want to discover more wonderful regions and awesome accessible activities you can have a look at all my posts about travel destinations in France.
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