UPDATE: Find the latest practical information in the article Pets in Paris.
The French love dogs, and make them a part of their everyday lives. You’ll see Parisians take their dogs to cafes, bars, restaurants, department stores, the bank, on bicycles and motor-scooters, and even at the office. The tiniest ones are seen peeking their heads out from the chic shoulder bags their owners carry them in (Louis Vuitton makes a nice one), and the large ones seem to follow their owners faithfully through the crowds without even wearing a leash. With the latest chic doggie decorations and even perfume, the pooch has become a real fashion accessory in Paris. If you’re thinking of bringing your dog to Paris, or if you’re a resident with a newly acquired pup, here are some handy tips to help you and you companion get the most out of Paris.
Allo Animaux is a service provided by the Mairie de Paris (Mayor’s Office) where you can get information from a veterinarian about any dog-related issues you may have including health, kennels and boarding, requirements for bringing dogs in or out of France, and local rules and regulations. A good number to keep handy:
“Allo Animaux” 01-42-76-58-58 Open to the public from 10am-8pm Monday through Friday, and 11am-6pm on Saturday.
If you’re looking for up-to-date info on bringing a dog into or out of France, including airline regulations, check out the Pets On the Go (For the Jet Set Pet) website. You’ll find information about hotels that accept pets at Travel Pets.
When you’re in Paris, be aware that even though you’ll see dogs everywhere, there ARE rules to where they can and can’t go. You’ll see signs on supermarket doors, most parks, and on the metro. If your dog can be carried in a shoulder bag, you can usually get away with going anywhere legally. If you have a larger dog, be more aware and if you do go into a restaurant or small shop, don’t get too offended if you’re told that the dog must stay outside. You never can tell, so think of doggie entrance as a privilege and not a right. I remember how two ladies working at Galeries Lafayette wanted to take my puppies around the store (to show them to their co-workers), allowing me to try on sunglasses in peace for twenty minutes. You never know. Also, be aware that although you’ll see doggie doo everywhere in Paris, it’s the law to curb your dog (in the gutter), and if you can’t, then take along some baggies and get scooping. In the past owners were seldom fined, but the tide is turning and more and more people are getting sick of sliding around the sidewalks. Maybe if enough foreigners start cleaning up, then the French will catch on. Maybe.
I had one reader ask me where to take her dog walking, since most parks are closed off to dogs. The parks where you can go include: Parc Buttes-Chaumont (19th arrondissement), part of Jardin de Luxembourg (6th), the Tuileries (1st) and the Bois de Vincennes and Bois de Boulogne. You can also walk your dogs along the canals and the Seine (quite leafy in some areas). The gardens around Les Halles are nice in the daytime, Georges Brassens Park (15th) has a doggy run, and the area around the Champ de Mars (Eiffel Tower) is okay (but not the center, grassy area). If you’re a resident, you can try asking about good places from the local vet, dog groomer, pet shop owner, or even people you see walking around with dogs. If you want to talk with other dog owners on the web who travel to and live in Paris, try the Paris Anglo Forums.
If you have a large dog and want to take public transport, your only option is the RER, your dog must be muzzled in some fashion for the ride, and you have to pay a discounted fare. You see people all of the time on busses and the Metro with dogs, but be prepared to pay a fine if you’re caught. Another option is to take a taxi, which charge 4ff extra for dogs, and they have the option of not accepting the dog at all. There are special dog taxis that can transport your dog with or without you:
Taxi-Canine 01-45-85-12-74 62 rue Regnault 75013 (they need 48 hour notice)
If you need a vet to come to you at home or in a hotel, call SOS Vétérinaires: 01-47-06-09-09 (24-hours). If you’re really stuck and your dog is ill or injured, you can try a local pharmacy. They usually stock dog products and medications, and may be able to help in cases of vomiting or diarrhea (if your dog has a sensitive stomach, you never know what Parisian water may do).
Finally, don’t forget to enjoy all of the benefits of the pampered Parisian pooch lifestyle, and check out the latest in dog accessories from Hermes, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton. The makers of the fashionable “Oh My Dog!” perfume and shampoo have a bilingual website called Dog Generation where you can read the City Guide to Paris (written by two very pampered dogs) and learn all about great areas to walk, shop, the trendy boarding kennel, and top groomers. If you read French, here are two websites for pet owners that you’ll find useful: French Toutou is a sort of dog portal site, and Dog Sitting is handy if you’re looking to board your pet or if you want someone to come by the house to walk and feed them.
This article is one of the 78 original “Secrets of Paris” articles published between September 1999 and July 2004. After disappearing into the internet graveyard for almost 15 years, I’ve republished them in autumn 2019 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Secrets of Paris: “1999-2019: Twenty Years of the Secrets of Paris” Broken and dead links have been updated or deactivated, but otherwise the article remains unchanged.