There is no joy like the love of a pet. If you are thinking of moving Fluffy and Filo with you to Paris, here are our pointers about pets in France to make the transition easier.
Generally, dogs are welcomed and loved throughout France. Don’t be surprised if you sit down at a café and find a little fluff ball on the chair next to you, awaiting their café crème. While I exaggerate only slightly, you will find that French dog owners often assume that their incredibly well behaved dogs can go anywhere and do anything. It is useful to know, however, what the rules, tips and tricks are to help raise happy healthy pets in The City of Lights.
France is one of the countries that does not have a quarantine period for most companion animals. Air France flies dogs and cats in a special air conditioned compartment in the hot summer months and most other airlines will fly dogs throughout the year.
Before your arrival your pet will have to have an EU passport which requires them to be micro-chipped and have all of their vaccinations up to date. Your dog or cat must be over three months old to enter the EU.
Traveling with your Pet
Dogs and cats are allowed on all trains throughout France. Small dogs and cats need to be in a travel bag or case and you are required to purchase a ticket (10€ each way) in advance for any SNCF train. Larger dogs require a ticket for 1/2 the price of an economy ticket (even if you will be traveling first class) and should wear a mussel.
Similar rules apply for the metro, although no tickets need to be purchased. Small dogs should be in bags but frequently they are not used and I have yet to be told off for it. A reprimanding or even a fine could be given, however, so be warned.
Unfortunately, the concept of the “dog park” has not quite made its way to Paris. In fact, most parks do not allow dogs, even on the leash, to enter. I know, bummer, right? Below are a few known spots to let your pup free and get some exercise throughout the city:
Champs de Mars, 7th – the eastern side by Ecole Militaire has a space where dogs run off the leash. Around 4-6pm most days it is very much like a dog park. Dogs are allowed off-leash throughout the entire park.
Tuileries, 1st – the north end of the park only
Jardin du Luxembourg, 6th – dogs are allowed on-leash in the southern part of the gardens
Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, 19th – along the pathways but not on the grass
Parc Montsouris, 14th – everywhere as long as they are on leash
Next to Parc de Bercy, 12th – along the large grassy area between the park and the stadium. Off-leash is ok (and great as there are no cars around)
Bois de Boulogne & Bois de Vincennes – the two largest parks on either side of Paris offer lots of space for a long walk or a jog.
Walks and Poop
I know it is hard to believe, but the puppy merde on the streets of Paris has actually lessened greatly in the past 10 years. Still, 600 Parisians are hospitalized each year after slipping in doggy caca on the street. In spite of the tonnes of crottin that is left on the street daily, not picking up after your dog has done his/her business is illegal and you can be fined up to 450 euro if caught.
Daily Errands with Rover
You may be surprised to see Parisian pups accompanying their owners almost everywhere in the city. It is true that dogs in France are allowed into many more shops and businesses than you might be used to, however, it is good to know where they are allowed and what errands should be sans Rover.
Small dogs are allowed in most clothing shops and department stores as well as pharmacies, banks (although most likely not for a rendez-vous with your banker) and most restaurants. I say “most” because the general rule is, if your dog is well behaved and if there is no sign on the door stating that dogs are not allowed, it should not be a problem to have your dog accompany you inside.
Dogs are not allowed in food shops such as grocery stores and most boulangeries. Usually it is ok to tie up your pup just inside the front doors of the store. (**a quick warning on this: NEVER tie up your dog outside on the street in Paris, especially if it is a purebred or expensive breed. 60,000 dogs are stolen each year in France and are most frequently stolen after they have been tied up on the street while their owner ran inside for a baguette). Dogs are supposedly not allowed in the open air food markets, however, they are always there and no one seems to say anything.
When You Are Away
We work with a number of private pet sitters to watch your dog or cat (at your house or theirs) while you are away. If you would prefer, however, there are two doggie daycare and boarding spots that we recommend:
32 rue de Turbigo, 75003
This doggy daycare has an indoor playground (with activities and toys) that is supervised by experienced dog care professionals who play with them and separate the ones who cannot play well with others. The center also offers pick-up and drop-off as well as dog training, agility training and grooming. In addition to the dog services at their center, CaniCrèche also can send its employees to your house a few times a day to care for and feed your cat while you are away.
71 rue Balard, 75015
City Canine is a hollistic doggie daycare where your dog can play in their 100m2 of indoor play areas. Dogs are separated by size and the floors have been outfitted with special shock-absorbance materials to ensure safe and fun play. You can even have access to a doggy webcam while you are away to watch your pup when you miss him the most. Their billingual team of dog care professionals take your dog out for long walks in the 2 acre park next to their center. City Canine also offers a taxi pick-up and drop-off service as well as dog training, grooming, massage and whirlpool services for the luxurious pup.
**UPDATE** City Canine has closed. Please feel free to contact us as we have pet-sitters that we can recommend.
In France, there are a number of insurance companies like SantéVetwhere you can purchase medical insurance for your dog, cat, even chinchilla. Pricing varies but starts at about 120 euro/year for an indoor cat and 200 euro/year for a dog. Coverage plans vary as well but they can reimburse up to 100% as well as a portion of special therapeutic food if needed.
If you have any specific questions or concerns about your pet, please don’t hesitate to ask. We are experienced animal owners and have spent years navigating our way through the ins and outs of pet life in Paris. Also, if any of you have any pointers for us, please share!
UPDATE | Feb. 2014
It has come to our attention that City Canine has closed it’s doors for good. Please let us know if you have any other recommendations for day care spots. We would love to hear!
***An updated Pets in France post can be found here.