france

Traveling To Paris With Your Dog: everything you need to know

[ Updated May 1, 2018. ]

Traveling To Paris With Your Dog

Ok guys. This post is a big one. Months before I left to Paris, I was online doing SO much research on how to bring your dog to Europe. The one thing I noticed is that a lot of the info is scattered and sometimes hard to read, boring or complicated. I hear a lot of people saying that dogs must be in quarantine when traveling internationally. That is not the case–as long as you do the steps and paperwork then you’re good to go.

Getting the correct paperwork to travel with your dog can be an anxious + lengthy process but follow these steps below (and don’t forget your own passport!).

 

Let’s start…

For official instructions for each country, the United States Department of Agriculture is the best place to go to print out forms etc.

 

1. Microchip

Your pet’s microchip must be 15 digits. If you have something different, then you must get them microchipped with a 15 digit microchip OR bring your own scanner. Personally, I think bringing your own scanner is the best bet, so your dog doesn’t need to have 2 microchips implanted on his body.

If you do decide to get a separate microchip implanted, then your pup must get a new rabies vaccine at least 21 days before travel. Hold onto the signed certificate.

If your original microchip is good or you’re bringing a scanner and the rabies vaccine is up to date, then just make sure to bring their signed rabies certificate.

2. Health Certificate

Visit your USDA-accredited vet within 10 days of travel to get a health certificate and forms signed. The vet will know what to do and fill out the correct paperwork in blue ink. For France, it was a 7-page document and the signed rabies certificate.

3. Stamped by USDA Office

Next is to have all your paperwork stamped at your local USDA office. You can find a list on the USDA page. Note: no dogs allowed in the office. It’s basically like waiting at the DMV. You get a ticket and wait. And wait. I waited 1.5 hours and it wasn’t even busy (around 4-5 people total) so make sure you schedule some time. It was $38 and you get a fancy embossed stamp on all the paperwork.

This used to be in walk-in only, but now it is appointment only!

4. Time to fly!

Keep all your paperwork in one place. I used my laptop sleeve and it kept everything nice and neat. We flew from LA to NYC and stayed one night to break up the flight. Helps with jet lag too. I think that’s a must as LA to Paris is 11 hours compared to NYC to Paris = 7 hours. Here is a list of airlines that go to Paris + allow dogs in-cabin.

Flight wasn’t bad at all and Fira slept right through. When we landed though, that was a different story. Going through customs took about half an hour and I was so worried for Fira. She was trembling because she had to pee so bad. Then when we got up to baggage claim I found out you can’t actually LEAVE the airport until you have your luggage.

Once you go outside, you can’t come back in.

WHAT. So, we waited and finally got my luggage, ran out the door and there was no dirt/grass patch in sight. None. Everything was cement. I didn’t want to get yelled at for Fira peeing on cement so I got an Uber as fast as I could. Driver, of course, spoke no english and I had to signal him to pull over the second I saw some grass. Imagine the scene: we’re on the highway and I start flailing my arms around and pointing “PEE PEE”–finally we pull over and Fira probably took the best pee of her life.

(Optional) Pet Passport

If you’re thinking of coming to Europe more often with your pup, consider getting a pet passport. You can only get it issued in Europe so I saw a vet in Paris and got Fira a France passport. There’s an EU Passport too but I think they only had the France ones. Plus, next year we’re coming back to France and going to England from Paris so I’m fine with that. Now, I don’t have to do the paperwork all over again each time I travel. 


So, that’s it!

It’s really pretty straightforward–doing it for the first time does ensue some anxiety but now I feel pretty confident for next Spring. I will also be doing London from Paris so that will be an adventure. England is soo much more complicated as it’s considered an island, there are stricter rules and you cannot fly directly into the country (unless your dog is in cargo, BUT frenchie breeds are not allowed in cargo).

Overall, Paris is surprisingly a dog-friendly city. They’re very relaxed about dogs in general. We were even able to bring dogs inside a few restaurants (Montpartnasse 1900) and there are dog-friendly areas of the big parks (Tuileries, Palais Royal Gardens, Luxembourg etc)–perfect. You can read my dog-friendly Paris guide here.

Let me know if you have any questions in the comments. It was pretty daunting for me in the beginning but I knew I wanted to create a guide that was written in you know, normal human sentences that were easy to understand. Also, here’s a free step-by-step checklist!

Paris Dog-Friendly Getaway

Paris, je t’aime.

This was my second time in Paris and it was just right. For some reason the first time I went 3 years ago, I liked Paris obviously but wasn’t in love. Now I adore it so much that I want to live there for a month or two! Maybe it was because this time we spent almost 2 long weeks there and were able to totally breathe and live it. Or maybe because this time I was able to bring Fira?! 🙂

First, the process to bring Fira wasn’t bad at all–you can read it step by step here. Second, most of the French have such a laissezfaire attitude about dogs. We even brought Fira inside a few restaurants and no one minded at all. Crazy! No lie, I still had anxiety just waiting for someone to come up to us and say the dreaded words: no dogs allowed.

[ drawing by @fine_frenchie ]

Here are my dog-friendly spots in Paris…

Green Collars + Lead by Fetch & Follow

Tuileries Gardens. There are parts of the gardens that allow dogs–just look for dogs and go that way! I spotted locals with their pups on their morning walks.

Jardin du Luxembourg. Dog friendly on east side of park.

Champs de Mars. With one of the best views of the Eiffel Tower, pack a picnic + baguette (by the way, I found it so adorable seeing people walking around the city holding huge baguettes–so french!) and hang out for lunch.

Palais Royal Gardens. I loved taking a stroll here and there are even grassy areas for pups to play in. Make sure to stop at the famous Cafe Kitsune for coffee + their fox-shaped cookies (you can see the outdoor cafe tables on the left side of the photo). Also along that side, I found a gorgeous home decor store called Maison de Vacances with fluffy sheepskin rugs, pillows in all different colors and textures and woven baskets. I ended up getting a burgundy rug and pouf!

Les Deux Plateaux (AKA Colonnes de Buren). Walk towards the inner courtyard and you’ll find these gorgeous black + white striped columns by French artist Daniel Buren. I didn’t realize this spot isn’t exactly dog-friendly but no one said anything!

There are parts of the fields in front of the Louvre (and the front of the museum itself) that are dog-friendly. It’s so crazy how beautiful and majestic everything is…

Beaded Dog Necklace by Harper And Hugo.

Skirt by Keepsake. Dog Outerwear from Lead The Walk.


Cafe de Flore. This famous coffeehouse (and one of the oldest) on Saint Germain is tres adorable and great for people-watching. It’s pretty overpriced (I think I paid 7 euros for tea) but it’s just one of those must-go places.

Geometric Sweaters from Lead The Walk.

Pizza anyone?

Pink Flamingo Pizza: order food to-go and they’ll give you a pink balloon where you can walk around the block to Canal Saint-Martin and they will deliver your food to you straight there!

The Batobus

I was planning on trying this but never got around to it but it’s a glass-enclosed shuttle boat on the Seine River which stops at 8 points along the way. It’s an easier, more peaceful way (no traffic and crazy streets!) of getting to all the main sight-seeing stops in Paris and only 18 euros/pp for 48 hours. Small dogs ride free.

Dog-friendly Hotels in Paris.

Mama Shelter. This Philippe Starck-designed hotel is trendy, fun and perfect for those conscious of their budget. Read my review here.

queen dog bed

Nolinski. Modern, sophisticated, luxury hotel with a highly rated spa. Pets stay free. Read my full review here.

Saint James. The only hotel in Paris with official chateau status–you’ll feel like you’re staying at a beautiful, historic Parisian mansion. Guerlain spa, Michelen-starred chef. Read my review here.

Hotel Jules & Jim. Swanky boutique hotel in the heart of Le Marais with art gallery. Read more here.


PHOTOGRAPHER: Ylenia Cuellar 

Fira @wtfrenchie + Elle @grrlgenius_
Thank you to Lead The Walk, Fetch & Follow, Harper And Hugo.

Airlines That Allow Dogs In-Cabin to Paris France

Finding airlines that will accept dogs in cabin for internation flights is tricky, but possible. For example, American Airlines is normally dog-friendly BUT on transatlantic flights (ie: JFK to Paris) dogs are not allowed. Weird, right? Dogs that can’t fit in a carry-on carrier must go in cargo underneath the plane.

After some research, this is what I found:

DELTA

Fee: $200 (one way)
Small enough to be in a kennel/carry-on
Kennel must be able to fit under seat
Pet must stay in kennel at all times
At least 15 weeks old to travel to Europe
Kennels must be leak proof and ventilated on at least two sides
Pets aren’t allowed in First Class/Delta One

UNITED

Fee: $125 (one way)
Must be in soft or hard kennel
Must fit underneath seat
Ventilated kennel and enough room for pet to stand and move

AIR FRANCE

Fee: ÂŁ125 or $164.40 (one way)
Weighing no more than 17 lbs including bag
Travel bag doesn’t exceed 18 x 11 x 9 inches
Bag must be well ventilated and must be big enough for animal to stand and move
Bag must fit under seat
Must have European Passport

More helpful links:
 

Nolinski Paris

queen dog bed

Nolinski was one of our favorite stays. Maybe ever. I mean, look at Fira in that elegant bed. This boutique hotel (45 rooms) is not your traditional Parisian hotel. It is sleek, sophisticated, minimal–very very modern. With its dark gray/silver color palette and heavy drapery, it feels like you’ve walked into an enchanting hideaway. By the way, pets stay free! (Haha, reminds me of “kids eat free!” at Sizzler)

The service is top-notch and they offer a Grand Salon (sitting area with a grand piano–where I did a lot of my work), a delicious cafe Rejane and spa La Colline. If you’re ever in Paris, pls pls check out this spa. It is–yes I’m going to use this word–DIVINE. It is dark, almost black but the whole wall surrounding the indoor pool illuminates with vague tree/abstract designs and there’s even a mirrored ceiling. The pool stays open til 11PM or later, by request. Very Starry Night-esque.

Location is great, as it’s based on a busy avenue but since it’s in the middle of the city not too many grass patches around. Luckily, the Palais Royal garden is not too far (less than 1/2 mile). We found an area that was closer when you turn left out of the hotel, there was a nice tree and dirt patch that was Fira’s designated potty spot. There’s also the “japonais district” right behind the hotel with rows of udon, ramen, sushi spots. Ugh, so good. Rooms start at $400. Pets: $0.

Pom pom sweater by Bauhound.

 

Saint James Paris

Saint James, the only hotel in Paris with official chateau status, feels like you’re staying at a beautiful, historic Parisian mansion. Out of all the hotels we stayed in in Paris, this felt the most French. Located in the 16th arrondissement, it’s in a residential area so it feels quiet, quaint and lovely. Although, it is walking distance to the main sights, I loved exploring the grounds and the hot air balloons in the back!

It’s also a private members club so it has an exclusive Guerlain spa and restaurant with Michelin-starred chef. All the rooms are designed very differently and sort of a mismatch of leopard prints, deep reds and flea market finds. Very Moulin Rouge? or Lady Marmalade?

Haha, maybe not. Rooms start at $400. Pets 35 euros/night.

Grid Infinity Scarf by Bauhound.

 

How To Get To Paris From London With Your Dog

The Eurostar does not allow dogs on their trains. Now what?!

On our recent trip to Paris, our friend @grrlgenius_ + writer mom Coco joined us for a weekend! We didn’t think it would be so complicated but let’s just send a collective thank you to Coco + Elle for their determination and dogmom-stubbornness (#dogmoms is a real thing and we’re, ahem, a passionate group). Keep reading for Coco’s recap of the journey in her own words.


 

When we first started discussing a trip to Paris, it seemed like it would be an easy journey. The most common question was “did we take the chunnel,” which is the Eurostar. I can confirm they only accept Guide Dogs. They do not have even one car, off-peak, with weight limitations available for dogs, not even in a bag or secured crate section as an option. Yet, Paris is so dog-friendly. No one blinks an eye in the most expensive of stores. That is why when I visited Paris 3 years ago and saw a Frenchie running all over Versailles, a dream began of taking Elle to the Frenchie Motherland.

 

The basics of what I learned researching the journey:

Train: Eurostar, the only direct train from Central London to Paris.

Coaches: except Guide Dogs. The night bus for humans takes over ten hours, as the depot in Paris does not open until 6AM. If the bus arrives before then, passengers must remain on the coach.

Airlines: British Airways and Air France do not accept bulldogs in the cabin. Also costly.

Car rentals: Charge 60% additions if you are driving to Europe.

Private Car Service: Door-to-door roundtrip quote, plus Eurotunnel (the train for cars that takes a mere 35 minutes to cross €46 ticket price and the pet fee for animals at Pet Reception (€25 Euros) coming in at £545.

 

France requires a tapeworm treatment good for 5 days entering from the UK with a valid pet passport. (No tapeworm treatment necessary if coming from USA)

 

I used aferry.co.uk to locate a dog-friendly route. I had seen a friend posting about taking Brittany.fr with her dog. Unfortunately that particular ferry route leaves twice a day so we would have gotten up at 4am to reach the port by 8 AM or arrived at midnight in Paris. In the end a ferry customer service representative informed me the only route that accept dogs as foot passengers was DFDS, leaving from the southern port of Newhaven and arriving in Dieppe, France. The ferry also leaves only twice a day, but the first departure was more manageable at 10AM.

Dressed in her Barbour collar and lead, (*Elle normally wears a harness, but we decided to experiment for this trip–it is Paris, after all), Elle was excited to go directly to the overground train station.

Kitted out, we boarded our first train, waited 20 minutes to switch trains first at Clapham Junction, missed a train (there was only a 3 minute leeway) at Lewes, so waited another half an hour until the next one. It was only one 10 minute train ride to Newhaven.

It was at this point, I started to ask myself why I had not dissected the journey i.e. trains from Lewes to Newhaven town instead of looking up trains from London to Newhaven Town. It would have saved us almost 2 hours.

The ferry had warned to arrive 45 minutes minimum pre-boarding to accommodate for passport control. The walk from the Newhaven Town train station was 3 minutes to the sad ferry port office and passenger lounge.

When we entered the building, there were signs warning it was for Guide Dogs Only. I walked in confidently with Elle. We were checked in and then an older man came shouting out at us from the ferry crew. A very brisk day, it was beyond me why a ferry service would accept dogs and take a fee for them but not allow them in the port to check-in. It was at this point we went outside for Elle’s breakfast and I gave her a calming pill called Zylkène, a natural choice for behavioural support because she has never been on a ferry before and I was told she had to be kept in a crated area because it was not hygenic to have her on the upper decks.

After 10AM (time of departure) the ferry crew began the passport boarding reviews. We were ushered with other foot passengers aboard a bus, then we all walked through the loading door. Elle and I were led by crew members who did not speak English to the “dog area.” I say area loosely because it consisted of 4 large, dirty cages, some with old water, food and rust–none that had secure locks for the doors. The crew member pointed for me to place Elle in a cage. I was extremely heart-broken. I considered taking one of Elle’s calming pills but I didn’t. The area was on the car and truck loading bay, with sirens going off the entire 4 hour journey to France.

The representative I had asked about dogs told me I’d be lucky if I was allowed to visit Elle once during the journey because a crew member had to accompany me and they left me and didn’t even bother to come back to see if I had left Elle. It was the most stressful part of the journey.

Once we reached the other side, the view was gorgeous. While the UK port had been a sad, depressing area, the French coast was beautiful and the houses reminded me of Cinque Terre, while the cliffs reminded me of images of the White Cliffs of Dover, making me wish I had once again been able to leave from that port.

[ image credit : instagram @spunkskyn ]

 

Once we arrived in France, cars are unloaded before foot passengers. When we disembarked, we were sent to a bus, driven to the passport office with the other foot travelers. While waiting for luggage, we befriended an English painter who lives in Dieppe. She kindly offered to drive us to the train station. That leg of the journey cost 40 Euro, taking over 2.5 hours to reach central Paris. The first train was far cleaner than the second and Elle seemed extremely happy to be back on a mode of transportation she was used to and even listened intently to the mother tongue spoken to her by the conductor.

We switched trains once and headed to a packed train. Once we arrived in Paris, we could have taken the Metro but Elle and I were both exhausted. We opted for a taxi, where Elle was asked to remain in her dog bag.

The journey time clocked in at over eleven hours. 


For the journey from Paris back to London, it was another story.

Weekend timings made things quite challenging. I couldn’t rent a car in France for the Dieppe to Paris return since there was no car rental open on a Sunday to return it. I went through all the above options with one of the car rental places. A kind salesperson suggested I look into the rideshare service called blablacar.com. The drive back was smooth sailing! I connected with a man who had made 61 trips and had a rating of 4.8 out of 5 over five years.

The entire trip took 7 hours.

The tapeworm treatment was good for 5 days, so we didn’t have to go to another vet in France. My experienced driver took us to Pet Reception. He even knew how to scan the microchip, which officials let you do “for the comfort of your dog.” There is an area for your dog to play outside and relieve themselves. A digital sign proudly displayed 506 animals had been processed that day. It was so easy and incredibly fast, especially at 10PM at night.

We simply drove onto the train, remained in the car and were back in England in a mere 35 minutes. The entire drive took just over 7 hours due to a slight delay by the Eurotunnel.

I was charged for 2 seats having Elle and totalled £126, (Pet Ticket, Eurotunnel ticket, plus 2 seats.) Look out Europe because this is our new favorite way to travel.

 

Hotel Jules & Jim Paris

Le Marais, my favorite neighborhood of Paris, feels worlds away with its windy cobblestone streets and courtyards tucked away. Walk down an unassuming road that feels like an alleyway (called Rue des Gravilliers) and you’ll discover Hotel Jules & Jim.

When you walk in, it feels like an art gallery–this hotel loves art! Local photographers and art exhibitions are featured here which gives the hotel a fashionable, swanky feel. There are only 23 rooms and provide soundproof walls, Molton Brown products and the most amazing waterfall shower. Ahh, give me a good shower and I’m happy. The design is simple and modest with materials like wood, glass and stone.

The bar is their highlight–a fun open-spaced courtyard to have a drink or do it the french way with some smokes. Fira loved running around and saying hi to the bartenders! By the way, just a few meters down from the hotel is an organic juice shop called Wild & The Moon–YES. FINALLY. Turmeric ginger shots? Yes pls!

Rooms start at $200. Pet fee 20€/day.

 

Bulldog made by the french artist Laetitia de Gaulle. She makes frenchies too! Take a peek at her website/portfolio. I especially love her dreamy collages.

This case, right? So fun making this Skinit case with a beautiful image I took in Utah of the fam that always inspires me! Make your own and get 20% OFF with code: wtfrenchie (code expires 10/31/17).

Mama Shelter Paris

“Forget the Eiffel Tower and ignore the Champs Elysees. The young, the weird and the beautiful wine, dine and, er, rendezvous here in the 20th – arrondissement.”Inside The Travel Lab.

Mama says hello.

This Philippe Starck-designed hotel is trendy, fun and perfect for those conscious of their budget. Depending on when you book, the rooms start at 90 to 150 euros and pets are just 25€/day. For the small price, you do get a lot: free WIFI + in-room movies, a hip restaurant with delicious menu + drinks, pizzeria and a rooftop bar for the design crowd. But note: you’ll probably be spending the rest of your budget on transportation. Being that it’s located in East Paris (with not much else around), the metro is a 15 minute walk and 15 minute train ride to central Paris. I ended up taking Ubers everyday which took about 20 minutes and also added up.

I did enjoy my stay and loved the Mama branding. Lotions with “Mama Wants To Cream You Up” and olive oil labeled “Virgin Mama”? Adorable. They are also extremely dog-friendly. I brought Fira inside the indoor restaurant multiple times and everyone was so friendly bringing water bowls for her etc. They didn’t even mind her sitting on a chair once. I’m so used to USA where dogs are never allowed inside eateries!

The rooms are simple and cozy with dark carpet and black + cement walls. I’m currently writing this during my last night here (checking in to a different Paris hotel tomorrow) and feeling really hermit-ish in the plush bed. Another Uber to the center is not calling my name. Gonna take advantage of my day off and being a little removed in East Paris is just the right place to do it.

frenchie in hotel bed

frenchie in hotel bed

Smiley Face Poop Bag Holder from Harper and Hugo.

 

Hotel du Cap Eden Roc French Riviera

Okay, hi.

Now this is luxury.

My 30th birthday was a few weeks ago and for about a month before, my guy declared to me everyday leading up to that he had a surprise… I would be lying if I said I never told him to shut it. Ok, I joke. The point is, he’s really good at surprises.

We arrived in Nice, France (only a 2 hour flight from London–Europeans are seriously so lucky) and got driven over to the sweet, coastal town of Cap d’Antibes. We stayed at Hotel Belles Rives for the first couple nights then we moved over to the grand-finale-of-a-surprise: Hotel Du Cap.

Let me start by saying, this hotel is legendary–and by legendary I mean all the film stars have stayed here, it’s a Cannes Film Festival go-to and Madonna’s favorite. But beyond that, it’s pure French elegance and style. It’s dreamy, opulent, timeless… I really think photos will do a better job telling the story. Oh and I found out they do accept dogs (20 pounds and under) so I couldn’t wait to share it here! We’re already planning on bringing the frenchies back this year. 🙂

The infinity pool and private sea access are just breathtaking. They even have swings and diving boards to jump off! It was too chilly to swim in the ocean (late April) but the pool was just perfect. I can just imagine how much the pups would love it here… gorgeous gardens and forest surround the property–feels like a fairytale, honestly. Their Sisley Spa is also a must. I had one of the best facials…

Everything about this place feels decadent and lush… my 2nd favorite hotel in the world so far (#1 spot is forever taken by Amangiri).

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