The Good Life France

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Guide to taking your dog to France

Small dog in front of the Louvre Museum, Paris

For dog parents who love to travel, France is a dream come true. And it’s no secret that France is an ultra dog-friendly country.If you’re planning to travel to France with your dog, these great tips from dog travel website, Wetnose Escapades, will help you:

Dog Import Requirements from the U.S. & Canada

For travelers coming from the U.S. and Canada, you’ll need to take your dog to an accredited veterinarian for the following:

*ISO-compliant 15-digit Microchip – Keep in mind that the rabies vaccination must be administered AFTER your dog is microchipped, NOT before. However, the vaccination can be administered on the same day as the microchip.

*Rabies vaccination (or proof of vaccination if your dog already has one) – Vaccination must be done at least 21 days before entry and your dog must be at least 12 weeks old.

Please note that if your dog was previously vaccinated for rabies but not microchipped, then he or she must be given the rabies vaccination again AFTER being microchipped.

*EU Health Certificate (non-commercial) – Be sure to print out the certificate and bring it to the veterinarian for completion. Get the forms for the U.S. or Canada.

*Besides acquiring the required paperwork for dog travel, it’s imperative that your dog gets a thorough examination from the veterinarian to ensure that he or she is healthy enough to fly.

Upon obtaining the completed EU Health Certificate from the veterinarian, you must then get the paperwork endorsed by your local APHIS Veterinary Services Office www.aphis.usda.gov (U.S.) or Canadian Food Inspection Agency (Canada). Your dog must arrive in France or the EU within 10 days from the date that the USDA Accredited (U.S.) or CFIA Accredited (Canada) Veterinarian endorses the health certificate. This step is very important!

Remember to bring the rabies certificate, copy of flight reservation, and the EU Health Certificate that requires endorsement.

Once it’s stamped, the EU Health Certificate is valid for travel within the EU for up to 4 months (or until the rabies vaccination expires, whichever comes first).

*Please note that the entire process also applies to assistance dogs.

OPTIONAL: If you plan on traveling frequently to France or EU with your dog, then you should take your dog to an accredited veterinarian upon arrival to Europe to exchange your existing EU Health Certificate for an EU Pet Passport. The passport is valid for 10 years.

**A European pet passport is required for travel between EU countries for animals. It contains a description of your pet, ownership contact, microchip information, vaccination records, and the issuing veterinarian’s contact. You can obtain a European pet passport for your dog from any authorized vet once you’re in the EU.

Dog Import Requirements from the UK

Starting January 2021 to reflect Brexit, the only new requirement for travel to the EU for first-time travelers is the use of an animal health certificate, rather than a pet passport issued in Great Britain. You can still use a pet passport that was issued in an EU country.

You’ll need to take your dog to an accredited veterinarian for the following:

You will need the ISO-compliant 15-digit Microchip and Rabies vaccination per US and Canada travellers.

*Animal Health Certificate (non-commercial) – Find an “official veterinarian” who can issue the certificate no more than 10 days before travel. The certificate must be signed by an “official veterinarian.” Upon endorsement, the paperwork is valid for 4 months (or until the rabies vaccination expires, whichever comes first).

Please note that the entire process also applies to assistance dogs.

OPTIONAL: If you plan on traveling frequently to France or EU with your dog, then you should take your dog to an accredited veterinarian upon arrival to Europe to exchange your existing EU Health Certificate for an EU Pet Passport. The Pet Passport especially comes in handy if you plan on returning to the EU with your dog in the future. The passport is valid for years on end – mine expires a whoppin’ 10 years from the date of issuance and I’ve read that the passport doesn’t expire as long as you keep up with the rabies vaccination. With an EU Pet Passport, you can kiss all the onerous paperwork goodbye!

Dog Import Requirements from another EU country

EU rules make it super easy to travel to another EU country with your dog with an EU Pet Passport.

For travelers from other countries in the European Union, you will need to take your dog to an accredited veterinarian who can issue an EU Pet Passport. You will need the You will need the ISO-compliant 15-digit Microchip and Rabies vaccination per UK, US and Canada travellers.

Please note that if your dog was previously vaccinated for rabies but not microchipped, then he or she must be given the rabies vaccination again AFTER being microchipped.

France dog culture

It’s no secret that the French love dogs. France has one of the highest ratios of dogs per person in the world. Several French cities have notable historic pet cemeteries, illustrating the French’s long history of animal companionship. The French just love taking their dogs everywhere. This is especially true for city dwellers who live in small apartments. Here’s a quick overview of where you can and cannot take your dog in France:

Eating & drinking places. Dogs are free to wine and dine with humans at many restaurants in France. Even the most upscale dining places may be dog-friendly with servers happily bringing a dog bowl to your table. Whether indoor or outdoor, dogs are welcome inside many drinking and dining establishments, Cafés, boulangeries, patisseries, brasseries, bouchons, bistros, restaurants, crêperies, and bars often allow dogs. Just ask if in doubt.

Markets & grocery stores. Although dogs are technically not allowed, some establishments may look the other way if you’re in and out quickly or if you put your small dog inside a bag.

Pharmacies. Since it’s the norm for the French to run errands with their dogs, it’s not uncommon to see a dog inside a pharmacy. Dogs are not allowed inside hospitals and medical offices.

Shops & boutiques. Whether it’s a big retailer or small boutique, some stores that don’t sell food will permit dogs on-premise. Since it is largely up to the store owner’s discretion, be sure to check for signs that indicate otherwise.

Public transportation. Dogs are welcome on public transportation in Paris, including Metro/RER trains and buses. Small dogs transported via carriers or bags can travel on all modes of public transportation, either for free or at a discounted rate. As for larger dogs who can’t fit inside a bag, they must have a ticket of their own (at a discounted price, e.g. a child’s fare). They must also be muzzled and leashed – well, at least in theory (it’s not always the case in practice).

In certain cities, dogs may only be allowed onboard if they fit inside a small bag or basket, which poses a problem if you’re traveling with larger dogs.

Taxis. Research a taxi app which welcomes pets. It could be challenging to find one that accepts dogs. It’s solely up to the discretion of the driver.

Parks. Many parks are off-limits for dogs. If allowed, dogs must be leashed, kept on paths, and stay away from children’s playgrounds.

Museums/tourist attractions. Dogs are not allowed inside museums or indoor tourist attractions, with the exception of certified assistance dogs.

Hotels/accommodation. Dog-friendly accommodation is plentiful. Some places may charge extra while others will welcome your furry traveler to stay for free.

The Poop Situation

You are required to pick up after your dog. Admittedly not everyone in France does, we all know the stories of pavement poop in Paris but it has definitely got better and there are hefty fines if you don’t scoop your dog’s poop.

Veterinarians

French veterinary care is generally cheaper than the U.S. and U.K.

Recommended Dog-Friendly Cities in France

Are you ready to explore France with your dog? Here are some of my favorite dog-friendly cities!

Paris. In Paris, you will find plenty of Parisian dogs alongside their humans shopping on the fashionable Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré or enjoying a long, leisure outing at Parisian cafés in Saint Germain or Le Marais. From canine chauffeur service to doggy boutique shops, the dog-friendly culture can be experienced almost everywhere. Even though dogs aren’t allowed inside any of Paris’ world-famous attractions (that’s right, even the Eiffel Tower is off-limits to dogs except for certified assistance dogs), your dog can explore the exterior grounds of these magnificent landmarks. Dogs can sniff out the stunning dog-friendly grounds of the Louvre Palace, the massive Luxembourg Gardens, and the enchanting Palais-Royal Garden among many other dog-friendly spots.

Lyon. The third largest city in France, Lyon is the gastronomic capital of France with a rich Roman past. Besides wining and dining with your dog, you can walk around the gigantic Place Bellecour and visit the Ancient Theatre of Fourvière. My favorite dog-friendly parks are the 8-hectare Parc des Hautefeuilles (with a special dog area), the ginormous 117-hectares Parc de la Tête d’Or (with two separate dog runs), and the 18-hectare Parc de Gerland (on-leash dogs are welcome). Be sure to take your dog to The Smoking Dog, which is a cool dog-friendly pub located in Old Lyon.

Marseille. A dynamic city in southern France, Marseille is known for its old port, alluring beaches, and sunny weather. In Le Panier, you can enjoy a bowl of tasty bouillabaisse, Marseille’s famous fish soup, with your dog by your side either indoor or outdoor. From the Old Port, you can make the hilly trek to Notre Dame de la Garde with your dog for some amazing panoramic views of the city. Or you can choose from a variety of dog-friendly trails along the Mediterranean Sea in Parc National des Calanques. For dogs who love a good swim, they can get their paws wet and their noses sandy on the beaches of Plage de Saint-Estève and Plage du Verdon, which are both dog-friendly off-season.

Carcassonne. Quietly tucked away in the south of France, the picturesque medieval city of Carcassonne is worth a quick day trip or a weekend getaway with your dog. At this secluded fairytale town in the Languedoc area, you’ll find some of the most intact old fortifications ever existed. For dog-friendly activities, you can hike up the hills to Cité Médiévale, explore the splendid double city walls, and cross the 14th century 300-meter old bridge, Pont-Vieux, with your dog. Lac de la Cavayere, an enthralling 40-hectare artificial lake, also welcomes on-leash dogs on the pathway and in picnic areas.

This is a guest post by Roger Wellington from Wet Nose Escapades: A Yorkie’s Guide to Healthy Dog Travel

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