Inside Travel: Pooches in Paris

Does Paris merit its dog-friendly reputation? JoAnne Good and Anna Webb take their bulldog and bull terrier across the Channel to find out

Paris is a city that people fall in love with, and sometimes in. So, why would two British women want to go there with their dogs? Well, we wanted to try out the Pet Travel Scheme (see below) – which, thankfully, will be eased from next year. And there's a lot to be said for seeing a place through different eyes. Our dogs are our surrogate children; our disposable income is mostly spent on Molly (Anna's bull terrier) and Matilda (JoAnne's bulldog).

So we embarked, driving from London through the night and crossing via Eurotunnel from Folkestone to Calais – Eurostar doesn't accept dogs. Eurotunnel was impressive: we paid £125 return for a "Flexiplus" ticket, which enabled us to be flexible about the departure times – and also use the dog exercise area, which even provides free food (for the dogs, not us).

After a skirmish with the SatNav that saw us up a cul-de-sac in Calais at 3am (not recommended), we arrived in Paris soon after sunrise.

We had chosen the three-star Hotel des Archives in the Marais near République – where, perhaps appropriately, the flea market takes place. There was an early hiccup at the hotel as to whether our dogs were small – in which case they were welcome – or medium, in which case they weren't.

After that was sorted out to everyone's satisfaction, it was all plain sailing. Everywhere we went, people kept saying "Jane Birkin, she has your dog". Jane Birkin (see the interview on page 19) lives nearby. She was married to Serge Gainsbourg, who loved bull terriers; indeed he was rumoured to have wept more at the death of his bull terrier than at the death of his father.

Dogs, like children, need variety and exertion. As we sat in cafés, Parisians queued to pet our dogs – unless Matilda and Molly were racing around behind the bar. The dog regulations in Paris appear to be at the discretion of the proprietor: in shops, restaurants, wherever we went, we were welcomed.

Any dog owner likes to inspect other owners and their pets. In Paris, there were plenty of pedigree dogs, all beautifully turned out with beautifully turned out owners. We didn't see any cross breeds.

Dogs are really ingrained in the Parisian culture. That's obvious just from walking around, seeing the way that French people lead their lives. It's a contrast with Britain, where as a nation we've become anti-dog over the past few years.

As you might expect, there's a very good dog boutique in Paris: Moustaches, which translates as "Whiskers". The owner is a French-Chinese man named Monsieur Young. We bought Molly a cashmere sweater for €65 – a bargain compared with the price of a jewel-encrusted dog-bowl or a gemstone collar.

Whether your pet is from the proletariat or the caninocracy, dogs are a great leveller. And, if you happen to be a woman of a certain age, as we are, you cease to be invisible when you have an interesting dog.

We've never enjoyed Paris so much. We saw the city with completely new eyes. We wanted to discover if Paris is the dog-friendly capital it is said to be – and it is.

Any dog-lover will tell you this: it completes a holiday to have your dog with you. When we finally returned – after some fairly stressful canine bureaucracy at Calais – the dogs slept for three days solid.

JoAnne Good is a presenter for BBC London

Travel essentials: Passports for pooches

You can take any old dog into France, but coming back is a different matter.

First, get your dog (or cat) implanted with an ISO-compatible microchip. Next, your pet must be injected with rabies vaccine. A blood test must be conducted no earlier than six months before you want to bring the animal back in. (The six-month rule will be relaxed from the start of 2012 for pets arriving from the EU and other "safe" countries.) Now you are able to get a pet passport, issued by a government-authorised vet.

Choosing a form of transport is the next step. By air, British Airways' World Cargo subsidiary offers a good range of options; Flybe, Monarch, Thomson and Thomas Cook are also co-operative. Most ferry routes are feasible – as is Eurotunnel from Calais to Folkestone.

With a pet passport and a ticket, your problems are only just beginning. "Your pet must be treated against ticks and tapeworms and the treatment recorded in sections VI & VII of the EU pet passport," says Defra. This must occur no fewer than 24 hours and no more than 48 hours before you are due to arrive in the UK.

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

Suggested Topics
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
The Pipes and Drums of The Scottish Regiments perform during the Opening Ceremony for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park on July 23, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Commonwealth GamesThe actor encouraged the one billion viewers of the event to donate to the children's charity
Sport
Karen Dunbar performs
Entertainers showcase local wit, talent and irrepressible spirit
Sport
Members of the Scotland deleagtion walk past during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
News
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
news
Life and Style
Listen here: Apple EarPods offer an alternative
techAre custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?
Arts and Entertainment
Top guns: Cole advised the makers of Second World War film Fury, starring Brad Pitt
filmLt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a uniform
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
News
Joining forces: young British men feature in an Isis video in which they urge Islamists in the West to join them in Iraq and Syria
newsWill the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
books
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    C++ Software Engineer - Hounslow, West London - C++ - to £60K +

    £40000 - £60000 per annum + Pension, Healthcare : Deerfoot IT Resources Limite...

    VB.NET and C# developer (VB.NET,C#,ASP.NET)

    £30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET a...

    Visitor Experience volunteer

    Unpaid voluntary role: Old Royal Naval College: To assist the Visitor Experien...

    Telesales Manager. Paddington, London

    £45-£55k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...

    Day In a Page

    Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

    Screwing your way to the top?

    Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
    Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

    Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

    Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

    The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

    Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
    US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

    Meet the US Army's shooting star

    Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
    Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

    Take a good look while you can

    How climate change could wipe out this seal
    Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

    Farewell, my lovely

    Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
    Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

    Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

    Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
    Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

    Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

    John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
    Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

    Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

    A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
    Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

    Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

    The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
    The 10 best pedicure products

    Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

    Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

    Commonwealth Games 2014

    Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
    Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

    Jack Pitt-Brooke

    Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
    How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

    How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

    Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game