If you’ve ever dreamed of a weekend trip (or longer break) to Paris but don’t like the idea of leaving your dog behind in a boarding kennel or in the hands of friends or family whilst you’re away there’s good news; nowadays it’s easier than ever to take your dog with you to France.
France adores dogs; it has the highest population of pet dogs in Europe, with more than a quarter of French households owning one or more dogs. Naturally, this love of dogs extends to Paris, the beautiful and historic French capital city. As one of the world’s most popular and romantic destinations, legendary for its rich cultural, artistic and architectural heritage, abundance of iconic landmarks and gourmet cuisine, Paris is an unmissable destination for anyone and since it’s such a dog-friendly city there’s no excuse for not taking your pet pooch along for the trip.
Ensuring your dog can legally visit Paris
There are certain conditions that have to be met before you can take your dog on a trip to Paris. Happily, new legislation introduced in 2012 make the process of taking your dog overseas far more straightforward than it used to be; the quarantine period that was mandatory before your dog could be brought back into the UK, for example, no longer applies.
However, before you can take your dog to Paris it must have been micro-chipped with identification and owner information, have been inoculated against rabies at least twenty-one days before departure and must possess a Pet Passport (available from your vet). Once these conditions have been met, you’re free to parade with your pooch in Paris whenever you please.
Travelling to Paris with your dog
Whilst there is a choice of ways to travel from the UK to Paris with your dog there are, inevitably, questions of cost and convenience to consider. The most direct route would be to fly directly to Paris, but this usually means separation from your dog which will be placed in a pet-carrier in the plane’s hold; a potentially distressing experience for both owner and pet. Flying also brings with it the usual hassle of checking in queuing, waiting, retrieving your dog and clearing security, customs and immigration at either end of the journey.
Most passenger ferry companies will allow the carriage of pets between the UK and France for a fee. Depending upon which ports you are travelling from and to, a ferry crossing from UK to France can take two hours or more and if your dog is prone to motion sickness it may be worth seeking advice from your vet before travelling. It’s also worth remembering that ferry travel is at the mercy of the weather. The exact costs and conditions for ferry travel to France with your dog vary from operator to operator so it’s worth making sure that you choose the most suitable service to avoid doggy disappointment.
Whilst dogs are not permitted to travel on the passenger Eurostar train, they can travel by the Eurotunnel Le Shuttle service, whereby owners drive their car onto the train and remain in it for the thirty-five minute journey to France through the Chanel Tunnel. This is by far the quickest and easiest way to get into France with your dog, although Paris is a couple of hours’ drive away from Coquelles where the tunnel emerges. However, this way your dog stays with you the whole time and the service offers dedicated exercise areas for your dog too.
Paris is as much fun for dogs as it is for owners Unlike, for example, London, dogs are welcomed and accepted pretty much everywhere in Paris. If you want to take your small dog on the Metro, it’s no problem. Fancy a snack or a meal? Rover is allowed into the vast majority of Parisian cafes and restaurants; the only real exception is food shops, but even then most provide a dedicated hook or fixing-ring for dog leads.
Dog-friendly accommodation is abundant throughout the city and there are even a couple of dedicated taxi companies that will ferry your pet about the city in style. Whilst many of Paris’ parks restrict dogs, several reserve areas specifically for them which means that exercise and play shouldn’t pose too much of a problem. Anywhere else, so long as you clean up after your dog, is fine.
So what are you waiting for? Exploring beautiful Paris with your pooch has never been easier.