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traveling in France with a Dog

Just returned from 2 weeks in France. My wife and I have a small (7 lb.) dog.

Restaurants were wonderful. never an issue about bringing in the dog. Restaurants seem to be universally welcoming to dogs. We dined in one small bistro with 16 seats. By the time 12 people were seated, there were 4 dogs in the restaurant.

However, our experience in museums was horrible. Unless you are a blind person with a service dog, the dog will not be allowed in. Same for taxis in Paris.

Dogs in the Paris Metro must be in a carrier.

Posted by
8504 posts

Why on earth would anyone think that a museum was an appropriate place to bring a dog? Of course they are not allowed in.

It reminded me of an funny/sad situation recently at our local movie theatre. A woman who is clearly attached to her poodle brought it to the theatre. Almost every seat in the small town theatre was full. She decided on a seat in the row behind me. The people politely said, "I'm sorry but we are allergic to dogs." This completely self-absorbed woman replied, "That's okay, Poodles are hypo-allergenic" and sat down anyway.

There are simply some places pets should not go.

Posted by
3767 posts

The concept of the emotional support animal is not really a thing in France and I have not seen that they even recognize service animals other than ones for blind persons. I do not feel like that will change any time soon. Is your dog a service animal? If not, you would not be allowed into museums here in the US such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney, and the Smithsonian. I am surprised that you thought things would be different in France. I have some former friends who had their pet declared to be an emotional support animal so they could bring the dog on flights with them only to find in Europe that the documentation which, by the way, they got from one of the scam sites on the internet was useless for getting them on to intra-Europe flights, museums, etc.

Posted by
542 posts

Two years ago we spent a week in a gite outside of Bergerac. The house was on a five hectare plot of land. Since the main purpose of our stay was a family vacation we brought our dog with us. He is an 8kg Jack Russell Terrier. In the immediate area we had now problem with the dog in restaurants, wineries, and shops. We did not visit any museums, but 1 of the 2 chateaux let him in. We also visited the Lascaux cave, and they let us take him in as long as we held him. So in we went.

Twenty years ago we visited the Alcazar in Segovia with our dog, a mini schnauzer and they made the same offer. So in we went.

Posted by
9429 posts

I think it’s very nice to travel with your dog, I would enjoy that very much and I may take mine to Europe someday.
Lots of great towns, parks and walks / hikes to enjoy together... all outside.
But I do feel strongly that dogs do not belong in public indoor spaces... restaurants, museums, stores, libraries, theaters, etc. It has gotten out of hand imo, especially in the area I live.

Posted by
131 posts

best to leave your dog at home, one less distraction, that is, unless you have a french poodle. nicholas

Posted by
153 posts

Nobody asked my opinion but, from a dog lover, subjecting any pet to the stresses of international travel constitutes animal cruelty, IMHO,

Posted by
1989 posts

Maybe I'm being thick but why would anyone bring a dog into a museum? I have my issues with dogs in restaurants as unclean but I understand they can sit and rest while the owners have a meal. But bringing them to a museum where there are people bumping into one another and priceless art on display seems a recipe for disaster. Dogs are not children, they can stay home alone.

Posted by
4 posts

We have made trips to France with 2 small dogs three times, for a month, 11 weeks, and 14 weeks. Our 17 year old chihuahua rescue passed away last year, but our little 9lb, 9ish rescue muttski will head back with us for 11 weeks this winter.
If you enjoy being with your dog, and your dog feels the same way, France is great! Our pups went into every restaurant on each trip, and were warmly welcomed. We always brought carry bags or a pet stroller, depending on the space, but most restaurants encouraged us to let them be out of the bags.
We tag-teamed museums and caves and such; one of us would have lunch with the dogs while one of us would enjoy the cultural site. Advance research was useful for knowing which chateaux were pet-friendly and which were not.
As pet owners, we just followed local suit, and always picked up after our dogs and kept them under control and out of the way of others. We really appreciated how welcomed our furry companions were and would encourage anyone with a small dog that enjoys traveling to consider a European adventure.

Posted by
9429 posts

What about people that are allergic to dogs? What do they do when a dog is next to them in a restaurant?

Posted by
8293 posts

Any time I have seen a dog in a restaurant in France, the animal has been under the table, at the feet of the owner, usually asleep. Would that actually be a problem for someone with an allergy? If so, I guess a request for a table further away would be the answer.

Posted by
375 posts

We travel to Europe with a guide dog. In our experience the pet dogs we’ve encountered in the various countries have been leashed and well mannered. Typically only guide dogs are allowed in museums. For the Vatican we had to notify them in advance and then show documentation that the dog was indeed a guide dog for the blind. There have been a few instances where we were not allowed to enter a church even though it is allowed by law of the particular country. At Santa Croce in Florence, the guard approached and allowed my husband to touch the various sculptures and explained the significance to us. We’ve experienced much kindness traveling with a guide dog.

Posted by
4171 posts

As I sit here watching my 10-year old, 50 pound, 1/2 Yorkshire terrier rescue snoozing on the sofa, I must admit I'm biased in favor of having a meal in the presence of dogs. The closer I can sit to them, the better.

And France is not the only country where that is possible. If cats are your thing, Istanbul is the place to go to share a meal with them.

I'm far more bothered by the smoking, now almost totally limited to the outside seating of restaurants. Fortunately, I'm not allergic to dogs, cats or smoke. That's a good thing because moving to another table to escape smokers is a futile exercise.

I love my dog, but he's too big to take along when I'm traveling, so he stays at Camp Bow Wow. He loves it. He doesn't even say goodbye when I take him in. It's pricey, but that's just part of my trip costs.

When I'm away from home, I talk to as many people out with their dogs and pet as many of those dogs as I can. I get my dog fix and it's a great icebreaker for meeting people.

Posted by
9429 posts

“it’s a great icebreaker for meeting people”...
A great point Lo, it really would be!
Now i’d like to take my dog all the more.

Posted by
12172 posts

I noticed many, if not most, restaurants in France are dog friendly. I also noticed that most French dogs are incredibly well behaved (maybe aloof is a better description?) - you'd hardly notice they're there. I was alone in one restaurant and the owner's dog came and sat near my feet. Ready to take a hand out but above acting enthusiastic about it. It even suffered through being petted. I'm curious how an American dog did with other dogs in the restaurant?

A couple from Rotterdam camped next to me on the Atlantic coast near Bordeaux in June. Their dog acted a lot more like an American dog. They said French dogs are all stuck up. ;-)

Posted by
2573 posts

It would be a mistake to assume that dogs are welcome in all restaurants. You should always ask first. Most are accommodating to small dogs but not all establishments welcome animals. Dogs are also prohibited in most parks and all public beaches.

In Paris, dogs are allowed in carriers in the métro and on buses. Larger dogs may be taken on the métro, but they must be muzzled, and require a valid child´s ticket t+.