Before you leave home
If you decide to bring your pooch to Paris, you’ll need to have the right vaccinations and paperwork to be allowed into France. This will vary according to the country you are coming from – your vet should be able to help you.
Fido has friends
But once you’ve arrived, you’ll find Paris very pet-friendly. Parisians keep a wide variety of dogs, but tiny “handbag-dogs” are very popular, perhaps because apartments tend to be on the small side. It’s estimated by the local authorities that there are about 8.1 million dogs in France, which is one for every eight French citizens. About 200,000 of these dogs are Parisian.
Come the summer, when Parisians depart en masse for a month in the country or at the seaside, their pets come, too. Last year on a train from Paris to the south in my carriage alone there were three or four dogs, three cats in their baskets and a rabbit.
You’ll find nos amis les chiens (our doggy friends) are not allowed in supermarkets, but cafés and small neighbourhood restaurants are very welcoming. I’ve seen owners sharing lunch with their dogs, their pet on a chair beside them, accepting tit-bits in a well-behaved fashion.
Cleanliness is next to dogginess
It goes without saying that Paris propre (Clean Paris) expects everyone to poop ‘n’ scoop. It is obligatoire (“obligatory”, a favourite French word) under the law. You can drop the mess in one of the many green litter sacks hanging along the kerbs. And make sure your dog squats in the gutter. These are washed daily and that helps keep everything clean.
Where to stay
You should not have any trouble finding a hotel in Paris that will take your dog. Look first at the big brand names, the chain hotels that will have modern buildings with larger bedrooms, the four-star Novotel Les Halles, for instance.
Or you and your dog could stay in one of the apart’otels. These chains offer a bedsitting room with cooking facilities and are also usually in modern buildings. These are more likely to have airconditioning which your dog might appreciate. In fact, in Paris, a hotel that does not take dogs is the exception rather than the rule.