What to do:
It is important to remember that there is so much to see in Paris, and unless you are there for weeks and weeks, you can't see everything. While the museums and landmarks are beautiful and important, I would also set aside time to see some of the individual neighborhoods in Paris - the real Paris. To start with museums and landmarks, here are some suggestions! Tip: being a tourist in Europe in a wheelchair can often serve to your advantage. In most museums you get in free along with a companion, so while going to the Louvre might be crowded and overwhelming, you can go as often as you want and skip the line, for free!
Louvre: the Louvre is a beautiful museum. It was the old residence of Louis XIV and it has been converted to hold one of the largest art collections in the world. Home of the Mona Lisa, among many other famous pieces of art, the Louvre seems to be a must see while in Paris. My advice would be that if you are a big museum person, take an afternoon and explore your favorite period. Like I mentioned above, the Louvre is very crowded and huge, so if you get impatient, maybe take an hour to check out the Mona Lisa or a special exhibit, but the museum can get overwhelming fast. In terms of accessibility, the Louvre gets an A+ in my opinion!
Musee d'Orsay: This has to be one of my favorite museums, and honestly I prefer it over the Louvre. Renovated from an old train station, the museum is home to one of the largest impressionist galleries, and if you have a limited time, take the elevator straight to the 5th floor to immerse yourself in Degas, Manet, and Toulouse-Leutrec. They also receive an A+ for their accessibility.
Père la Chaise Cemetery: Edith Piaf, Jim Morrison and Oscar Wilde all call this home, and while the disorganization and the fame is attractive, the cemetery really can't be done without a significant amount of help. The path is all cobblestones, there are often dead ends with stairs, and the graves are all on top of each other so you might want to see one, but it is in the middle of hundreds of other graves. I've been, so it can be done, but if I were to officially rate it, it would get some sort of extreme warning.
Eiffel Tower: The symbol of Paris. The Eiffel Tower has a beautiful view and there is an accessible elevator that takes you to the first and second levels, but the third level is not open to tourists in wheelchairs. When you go, take note of this so you aren't surprised when you get there. Also be prepared to wait, for a long time.
Champs Élysées: This stretch from Place de Concord to Arc de Triomphe contains some of the best shopping in Paris. It's a beautiful walk in the Spring, but there isn't anything you absolutely have to see. Because this is only a huge road, there are sidewalks and curb cutouts.
Notre Dame: This beautiful church is located on a small island in the middle of the city. It is very accessible, and free. If you are in Paris around Christmas, or soon after, the tree outside of the church is decorated and it feels very much like the holidays!
Montmartre/Sacre Coeur: Hmm this one is tricky. Seeing the church from any point in Paris is beautiful, especially at night when the Sacre Coeur is all lit up. Going inside the church can definitely be a hassle. To get up to the church there is an accessible tram that will take you to the top of the hill. Once you get to the top of the hill, there is a huge set of stairs that can only be avoided by going all the way around the hill up a cobblestone street. There is a small lift in the back entrance, and there is a side door that will bring you to the main part of the church. As you can see, it's not easy. My recommendation would be to just explore the Montmartre area, and go up the tram to take a few photos of the church. If you really want to see inside the church, I would call ahead, or if you are with others, to either bump up as many stairs as you can, or have someone call ahead, or go into the church to explain your situation.
Oh, but you have to see ...
Seeing the sites is a must in Paris, but the beauty of going to a huge city, is finding the unique neighborhoods that give the city its character. One of my favorite places in Paris is the Marias district and the Jewish Quarter. Located in the 3rd arrondissement, Rue to Rosiers is most definitely one of the most interesting neighborhoods, filled with character, not to mention incredible food. While most places are not accessible, there are a couple places you can order falafel from the window, without even needing to go inside. If you don't mind a couple stairs, l'As du Falafel is worth the wait, and while the atmosphere is crowded, the bathroom is accessible! The streets in these areas are cobblestone, and the deli's have stairs, but even just taking a short stroll down the street is a nice detour as you wander around the area. There is a small grocery store that is accessible there and full of different kinds of desserts, wine's and goods - check out Chez Marianne.
Not too far from Rue de Rosiers, is Place des Vosges. Place des Vosges is the first place I fell in love with Paris the first time I traveled there when I was 14. It is a very small square surrounded by art galleries and small cafes. In the middle is a small park and garden, and on the corner is the former home of writer and famous Parisian Victor Hugo. Place des Vosges is a beautiful place to sit for a while and take a break while grabbing a cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate in one of the outdoor cafes.
One of the reasons you should go to Paris is to eat. The French know food. In addition to a pastry a day, here are some wonderful (accessible!) suggestions for food ...
Tip: the nice thing about Paris is that there is a ton of outdoor dining, so even if the restaurant or café isn't accessible, there is the option to sit outside. Too cold? These cafes are almost always surrounded by outdoor heaters for people to enjoy the view and more importantly, les cigarettes.
Chartier: (7 Rue faubourg Montmartre) located in the 9th, by the Grands Boulevards metro station, Chartier is truly French. The table cloths are paper, and the waiters write your order on the edge, the fast paced restaurant is located in an old library and has dozens of tables. Be prepared to wait in line! If you decide to go on the earlier side, around 6 or so, it might be shorter. For those of you who like late dinners, the restaurant closes at 10, beware. This is also a vegetarian's nightmare, but if you are looking for a classic steak frites, this is your place. Not to mention, a very nice staff to help you open the side door for a stair-free entrance!
L'Ecurie: (58 Rue de la Montagne Ste-Genèvive). Founded in the 16th or 17th century, this old restaurant is tucked away in the Latin Quarter, at the end of Rue de Moufftard. Inside there is one step, but you can eat outside with a lovely view of the Sorbonne and the neighboring restaurants.
César: (81, Boulevard Saint Marcel). Italian in France? Paris is a great place to discover not only French food, but international food as well. If you are craving pizza or pasta, my recommendation would be to eat outside at César for both incredible Italian food and wonderful service.
Something sweet ...
In the mood for some dessert? Something to go with your afternoon tea?
Pierre Hermé: If you can find an accessible Pierre Hermé I would highly recommend it for some macaroons. Last time I was there I tried olive oil and vanilla - very creative and delicious
Angelina: (226 Rue de Rivoli ) It's time to channel Chanel. This tearoom across the street from the Tuleries Gardens is the perfect place for afternoon tea or a morning hot chocolate. Their hot chocolate is said to be one of the best in the world - don't forget to ask for the whipped cream! The tables are a bit awkward, but there is only a tiny lip to get into the street-level restaurant so it is very easy to get in and out of.
Berthillon: (31, Rue St. Louis en l'Ile) Incredible homemade French ice cream? Yes please. Open year round, this ice cream shop is definitely not to miss. Located behind the Notre Dame it is a perfect excuse to stop and take in the views of the bridge. (http://www.berthillon.fr/). If the line is too long, check out Rue de Deux Points, there are many other small shops and restaurants that are accessible and sell the ice cream.
That is a lot to do in one weekend, but it should keep you busy! For additional information, David Leobitz's blog about Paris has an extremely helpful link http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2008/02/accessible-trav/ and for French speakers, be sure to visit www.jaccede.com.