Roya Abdolhosini is an Australian performance artist living in Belgium.
Roya Abdolhosini is an Australian performance artist living in Belgium.

One-legged Aussie barred from tourist spots

A ONE-LEGGED Australian performer is angry after being denied entry to two popular tourist attractions in Paris.

Roya Abdolhosini is originally from Melbourne but is now based in Belgium where she is part of the FRONTX theatre production.

She has travelled the world performing all manner of circus-style stunts and documents her adventures for a legion of online followers, from breakdancing in New York to rollerblading through the French capital.

But Abdolhosini, whose stage name is Roya the Destroya, is furious that she has been barred from both the Eiffel Tower and the city's famed catacombs.

"I've never felt more disabled in my life than these type of moments - all due to legalities and a small phrase or clause written on a piece of paper," Ms Abdolhosini said in a post on her Facebook page.

 

Roya Abdolhosini has travelled the world as a performance artist.
Roya Abdolhosini has travelled the world as a performance artist.

 

"First it was the Eiffel Tower that denied me access to the top due to safety of others in case of emergency evacuation. Now it's the (catacombs) denying me entry basically due to being 'handicapped'."

In the case of the catacombs incident, which occurred last month, Ms Abdolhosini said she was treated with disrespect by staff who prevented her from entering.

"After being passed on to the manager on the phone … (he) ended up hanging up on me. After handing back the worker's phone, he then walked away from me."

She was then told that letting her in would be "like having someone blind fly a plane".

 

Inside the famous Paris Catacombs. Picture: Nicholas Eagar
Inside the famous Paris Catacombs. Picture: Nicholas Eagar

 

Alongside her angry post, Ms Abdolhosini shared a selfie of herself outside the entrance to the catacombs - a series of underground chambers filled with skulls and bones - flipping the bird.

Ms Abdolhosini was a finalist for the Pride of Australia medal in 2014 and told the Herald Sun that she rarely used her prosthetic leg because it was like "carrying dead weight around".

It was her love of gymnastics as a child that ­inspired her to start performing.

"I was watching soccer on TV and someone scored a goal and did a handstand and I thought I don't care about the soccer, I just want to do that," she said.

 

Roya Abdolhosini flips the bird outside the Paris catacombs entrance after being denied entry.
Roya Abdolhosini flips the bird outside the Paris catacombs entrance after being denied entry.

 

Roya Abdolhosini is an Australian performance artist living in Belgium.
Roya Abdolhosini is an Australian performance artist living in Belgium.

In an interview with the ABC, Ms Abdolhosini said she watched while larger people, children and the elderly were allowed entry to the catacombs.

"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," Ms Abdolhosini said.

"You can't just give one rule for people, especially people with disabilities. That's what made me furious."

A spokesman for the catacombs management apologised for the way Ms Abdolhosini was treated.

"This is an unfortunate event that we deplore," the spokesman told the ABC.

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

 

A spokesman for the Paris Catacombs apologised for how Roya Abdolhosini was treated.
A spokesman for the Paris Catacombs apologised for how Roya Abdolhosini was treated.

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