The French passed a law back in 1975 to improve public accommodations for persons with disabilities. Among other reforms, there's dedicated parking for the disabled and crossing signals for the blind. That being said, Paris is still a pretty tough town to get around in if you're in a wheelchair or for that matter pushing little ones in a stroller or lugging a big suitcase. Curb cuts are intermittent and charming cobblestoned roads can make for a bumpy ride. All buses are now equipped with ramps but the Metro? With the exception of the mostly new line 14, the subway system is a nightmare of steps, steps, and more steps. Museums vary in their accessibility and the best advice I've heard is to always do a dry run to discover the best routes and entrances if you'll be having a visitor who uses a wheelchair.
Whether the problem is lax enforcement, limited resources, or simple apathy, I can't say. A modest sized centre commercial near us was recently renovated, a process that took the better part of two years, with apparently only limited attention to these issues. There's still a significant step between the sidewalk and the building. Once inside, there's a flight of about six stairs to reach the main corridor. Where there was once a rather steep ramp (probably more useful for folks rolling shopping caddies than those using wheelchairs), there is now a small elevator which most of the time seems to be sporting this sign:
For a long time, we were just another typical Washington, DC family: two policy-oriented jobs, two kids, and two cars. Out of the blue, my husband got a new assignment; we ditched the old jobs and the cars (but kept the kids) and headed to Paris for what started out to be a three-year, and eventually became a four-year tour.