Pets in Paris
Pedro in the Cour Carré of the Louvre
If you're moving to Paris with your pooch, or buying one here, be sure to pick up the free guide provided by the Mairie, Petit Guide du Maître: Bien vivre avec votre chien à Paris (down load the PDF here). It's only in French, so I'll try to paraphrase some of the important info here.
Where can you take dogs in Paris?
Restaurants, usually. Museums, never (not even closed in a doggie carrier). Post offices, bakeries, boutiques….depends on the dogs and the mood of the people working there. I take my dogs into places that supposedly don’t allow them, like the bakery, because I figure if smokers can pretend they’re blind to signs, then so can I (that and I always clean up after my dogs’ “merde” in public).
You can't take dogs into food stores, but at the supermarket it's generally okay to tie your dog up near the entrance (in a place out of the way, preferably). I leave mine near the carts when I go into Franprix and haven't had any problems yet.
Legally, dogs aren't allowed in the open-air markets either (although they certainly can't keep the dirty pigeons out, so I don't see the difference), but I've only been chastised once (and it was by the local police who happened to be at the market, not the stall owners).
You can take small dogs in the Métro and Bus only if they're in a carrying bag (I let mine out while I'm walking around and put them in their bag during the ride, like in the photo). All dogs can ride in the RER if they're in a bag or on a leash and muzzled. Dogs carried in a sac ride free, dogs on their leash have to have a ticket (child rate).
I would guess that about half of the hotels in Paris accept pets, spread across every price category from no-star to the Palace hotels (which usually have extra-special pet services). Be sure to get written confirmation, though just in case.
Some taxi's don't want dogs in their car, so it's best to call and ask in advance. There's an agency that specializes in transporting pets around Paris, called Taxi Dog, of course. Another dog taxi is the Taxi Animalier.
Seeing-eye dogs can go wherever their owners go.
Lena & Pedro on the Passerelle Simone de Beauvoir, to Bercy Park
What about walkies?
Legally, all dogs must be on a leash in Paris, although you'll often see very well behaved doggies following closely on the heel of their owner. Or not. I've had the unpleasant experience of someone's German Shepherd mix attacking my dogs...twice! Both times the owner was nearby but couldn't stop the dog from coming after us. I'm usually very good at knowing if a dog just wants to play, and my little Min Pins are used to big dogs, but this one came in teeth first and I had to stick my foot in between its jaws and little Lena's neck. The woman screamed at me, but the teeth marks on my ankle and the witnesses who were watching from the nearby café terrace all proved I wasn't just a dog kicker. The second time it happened, her dog actually ran across four lanes of traffic to get to us. Poor doggie, to have such a bad owner!
There are no dog parks in Paris. I know! What a shame, eh? The majority of parks are completely off limits to dogs, even on leash. You will see signs posted on the gates. A few allow dogs in part of the park specifically designated, like:
- the north end of the Tuileries, 1st;
- the south end of Luxembourg Gardens, 6th (photo below)
- anywhere on the Champ de Mars except the grass, 7th;
- the paved paths of Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, 19th;
- everywhere in the Parc Montsouris (on leash),14th;
- and the large grassy lawn between the Pac de Bercy and the POPB Stadium, 12th
I've actually let the doggies off their leashes at Bercy because there are no roads nearby, and the elevated path that runs along the western end of the park from the cascading fountain to Bercy Village is perfect for jogging. I've been told the park across the Rue Bayard from the Parc Andre Citroen allows dogs off-lead, and it has become something akin to a dog park (I haven't confirmed this yet).
You can call the Mairie's hotline to ask about dog-friendly parks near you: 08 2000 75 75
What about the poop?
The golden age of doggie doo doo on the streets of Paris is coming to an end. The pooper scoopers that once roamed the rues were finally removed (too expensive) and the city introduced the revolutionary idea of asking dog owners to pick it up themselves.
Word on the street is that 95% of owners say they pick up, but the reality is closer to 65%. Ever since the inspectors started popping out from behind trees to fine negligent owners (I've seen it!), things are slowly, slowly improving.
The city used to provide free doggie sacs, but the budget was cut, so you'll have to get your own. I use sandwich baggies (€1 a roll at any supermarket) or buy actual doggie sacs. They're sold at BHV's pet store, La Niche (42 rue de la Verrerie, 4th), €4 per roll of 30 (with a cute plastic bone-shaped dispenser your larger dog can wear). Buy them. Use them!
No dogs past this point in Luxembourg Gardens.
There are no dog licenses in France, but since 1999 they must be tattoo'd OR microchipped (puce électronique), and regularly vaccinated. The vet arrange all of the above.
The central office for dog tattoo records is the Fichier Central des Chiens Tattoués: 01 49 37 54 54. Call them if you find a dog and can read its tattoo (usually on the ear or inner thigh), or if you want to get your dog tattoo'd and registered.
Lost or found dogs without tattoos should be reported to the Gramont Refuge: 01 47 98 57 40.
In addition to the ID and vaccination rules, there are special rules for owning "attack" and "defense" dog breeds, aka Catégorie 1 (Mastiffs, Pittbulls, and Boerbulls) and Catégorie 2 (Staffordshire Terriers, Rottweilers, American Staffordshire Terriers, and Tosa breeds):
- You have to declare them and where they live at the Mairie or Préfecture de Police.
- You have to purchase Civil Responsibility insurance.
- Category 2 dogs must be muzzled and on their leash whenever they're in public.
- Children under 18, convicted criminals (you'll have to ask what crimes apply here), and anyone who has already had their dog taken away because of public endangerment cannot own category 1 or 2 dogs.
- Since 1999 Category 1 dogs cannot be purchased, imported, or sold (fines up to €15,000); those who already owned them must have them sterilized, and cannot take them into any public areas except the street/sidewalks.
Traveling with (or without) Your Pet
There is a helpful website called Ils Partent Avec Nous! which has helpful information for anyone traveling with their pet or leaving them in Paris while traveling. It’s only in French, but has links and numbers for the Pet Passport, the Society for the Protection of Animals (to report abandoned pets), pet-sitting organizations and even a list of beaches in France where you can take your dog.
32 rue de Turbigo, 3rd
Tel 01 42 71 59 09
A doggie daycare open Mon-Sat from 8am-8pm. There’s a huge indoor playground and dog sitters who play with them and make sure they’re all getting along (well-behaved dogs get to play together). Rates start at €7.17/hour with different services like home pick-up and education training.
71 rue Balard, 15th
Tel 01 45 57 47 06
Another doggie daycare and cage-free boarding kennel, with walks in the park next door.
Cat owners will want to bookmark this site. The owner Céline Lorac is highly responsible and devoted to looking after cats (as well as ferrets, hamsters, etc.) in your home. Says one reader, "When we are out, she visits our cat who has diabetes and requires two insulin shots a day, ideally spaced 12 hours apart. He doesn't always warm to strangers, but he gets along well with Céline, who even gets him to play (rare for this 14-year-old cat)."
I get my dog food from this website because they have 20 different organic dog food brands, the prices are reasonable and they always deliver within 5 days. Also products for cats, birds, rabbits, etc. French only.
La Niche by BHV
42 Rue de la Verrerie, 4th
Tel 01 42 74 90 00
M° Hôtel de Ville
The pet boutique by BHV (on the street behind the main department store) opened in March 2007. They have the cheapest doggie sacs and puppy mats (30 for €13) in town (if you find them cheaper, let me know). Also coats, food, leashes, toys, beds, etc. Open late on Wednesdays until 8:45pm.
52-54 Cour St-Emilion, Bercy Village, 12th
Tel 01 53 33 87 35
M° Cour St-Emilion
This is the only location within Paris of this pet supermarket, with a good selection of all kinds of pet products and grooming services.
La Ferme Tropicale
54 Rue Jenner, 13th
Tel 01 45 84 24 36
M° Campo Formio
This boutique specializes in all things reptilian, creepy and slithery: snakes, lizards, frogs, tortoises, spiders, scorpions, centipedes, etc.
You can also find many pet shops along the Quai de Mégisserie (1st) and pet supplies (particularly for birds) on Sunday’s market at the Place Louis Lépine (4th, right at the exit of M° Cité). Grocery stores sell pet food and basic grooming products, and many gardening chains such as Vilmorin have pet sections.
Tel 06 70 21 24 09
Does your dog need to be walked while your at work? Let Cédric Cornevaux (a licensed animal handler) pick your doggie up at your home for a few hours of exercise and fresh air in the forests on the edge of Paris. The owner of Mon Bon Chien sends her dog Sophie every day, and my own little monsters had such a good time with Cédric that whenever he’s around they completely ignore me. He can also dogsit overnight if necessary, a relief considering most kennels are well outside Paris! More than reasonable rates, and he speaks English. Tell him Lena & Pedro sent you!
There are vets in every neighborhood of Paris, just look for the blue and white cross. Pharmacies usually carry flea and tick treatments as well as many basic dog medicines (upset tummy, etc.), so if you need a vet pronto, ask at any pharmacy for directions to the nearest offices.
Syndicat National des Vétérinaires
10 Place Léon-Blum, 11th
Tel 01 43 79 36 12
National Veterinarian Union (can provide a list of vets near your location)
National Vet Emergency Number (24hr)
08 92 68 99 33
01 40 05 48 48 or 04 78 87 10 40
See my archived article from Suite101.com, Pooches in Paris: A Dog's Delight.
Additions, corrections or questions? Let me know!