Tourism

One-legged Aussie refused entry into French tourist attractions

Lauren Croft

A disabled Australian performer is outraged after being denied entry to both the Eiffel Tower and the Catacombs in Paris.

Roya Hosini is a one-legged dancer from Melbourne and currently lives in Brussels.

According to the ABC, Hosini was born with one leg, and although she has a prosthetic leg, has not used it in years as it slows her down and becomes painful after a few hours of wearing it.

Last year she was refused entry to the top of the Eiffel Tower, despite buying tickets at the base of the tower with her crutches in plain sight.

Hosini told the ABC that going back down the tower in front of everyone was extremely embarrassing, and left her feeling “like sh*t”.

“They said it was narrow and not safe and in case of an emergency … [I might be] blocking the traffic because I’d be going too slow,” she said.

And just this month, she was not allowed to enter the Paris catacombs, for the same reasons. The catacombs are an underground chamber of tunnels, filled with skeletons, and an extremely popular tourist attraction.

“They’re just so fixed on the rules and it’s so ridiculous because it’s not like humans come in [one] exact shape, size [and] ability,” Hosini said.

“You can’t just give one rule for people, especially people with disabilities,” she added.

“Every case is unique, even every case that has one leg or every case that’s in a wheelchair. Every case is separate, you cannot just generalise that rule. That’s what made me furious.”

Hosini watched on as everyone else was allowed in; from the larger travellers to the elderly to children.

After arguing with one of the guards, she was told that letting her into the catacombs would be akin to “letting a blind person fly a plane”.

Hosini also spoke with a manager on the phone, but was hung up on and not given their name.

A spokesperson for the catacombs told the ABC that this was a deplorable situation.

“We do not tolerate this kind of behaviour; on the contrary, we try to welcome everybody in our sites.

“In case of a conflict with a visitor, the policy stands that the guard who has to enforce rules and procedures has to refer to his direct manager or to the site manager, which in this case didn’t seem to have been done. Our official will take any measure necessary to start a disciplinary action.”

However, the spokesperson also said that the physical element of the catacombs visit means that disabled visitors aren’t allowed entry – including those with reduced mobility, young children and people with heart or respiratory issues or high anxiety levels.

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