paris with a dog

Visiting Paris with a dog

Ah, the city of love. Why wouldn’t you want to share Paris with one of the most loyal loves of your life? Well, I can think of a few reasons, but I’ll get to those. Visiting Paris with a dog can be downright delightful as long as you are well prepared for what to expect.

Is Paris dog-friendly?

Paris is one of those cities (like Vienna) that I like to call dog-owner friendly, but not so dog-friendly. Dogs are pretty much allowed everywhere you’ll want to eat, from sidewalk bistros to cafes to even some nicer restaurants. Not only are they allowed, but servers and restauranteurs will be positively doting. They’ll get pets and water, and you’ll instantly become one of the establishment’s favorite customers. The rumors are true – the French are much friendlier and warm when you have a dog. And of course, what dog wouldn’t love French food? Our dog had everything from steak frites to quiches and was in culinary heaven. But I would say that is just about where the city’s dog-friendliness ends.

paris with a dog

As much as your dog might love to eat table scraps of your French food, he probably also likes running around big parks, and Paris is dog-hostile when it comes to parks. Most small city parks are gated, and dogs are explicitly forbidden. So my dog who lives a luxury life in very green Prague, with at least half a dozen parks within 10 minutes of him, was a little bit at a loss when it came to doing his business outside. Even the squares with trees that line the streets are covered up, so no soil or grass is available. And Paris is huge, so available dog parks are not exactly a short walk away. You might need to take a 40-minute metro to the nearest dog-friendly park.

dog-friendly paris
Wtf is this? Let the grass grow!

Which immediately begs the question: where the hell is my dog supposed to pee and poop? The answer according to Parisians is wherever the hell they please. That seems to be how locals handle it, so it’s how I handled it too, even though I normally keep my dog from peeing on private property. But in Paris, they literally have nowhere else to go, so Paris can suck it.

Dog-unfriendly activities in Paris

The other main consideration when visiting Paris with a dog is that if you’re visiting as a tourist, your dog is not allowed anywhere indoors that you probably want to visit like museums, the Eiffel Tower, etc. The only reason I went with our dog to Paris is because I’ve visited before and had no interest in doing any of that stuff. If I did plan to, I would have had to leave the dog alone back at the hotel for extended periods of time, which is not something we like to do.

You also can’t take your dog into stores or supermarkets including Paris’s charming open-air markets, though chances are no one will tell you anything if you just walk past a market on the street. Most stores have a place where you can tie them up outside if you need to stop by while you’re walking your dog.

That being said, Parisians seem to take their dogs all over the place where they’re not allowed including enclosed parks, bakeries, and store where dogs are forbidden. I am not especially keen on being yelled at by a French person, so I generally adhered to the signs.

Dog-friendly things to do in Paris

If you’re looking for dog-friendly activities where your dog can “legally” be, there is still plenty. Some dog-friendly parks are within walking distance to many of the city’s most notable sites like the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Louvre. These parks include:

Jardin du Palais Royal

dog-friendly paris

This is also a popular tourist attraction just next to the Louvre, so it’s a garden you don’t want to miss with your furry companion.

Bois de Boulogne

One of the largest parks in Paris, the Bois de Boulogne is dog-friendly and has a huge area where dogs can also be unleashed.

Bois de Vincennes

To the Bois de Vincennes on the east side of Paris also have off-leash areas.

Gardens of the Champs-Élysées

Monceau Park

Champ-de-Mars Park

Your dog may not be able to go up the Eiffel Tower, but he will be allowed in the park at its base. Be warned that if you’re visiting in the summer of 2024, the Olympics have taken over that park.

Parc Montsouris

Jardin du Carrousel

paris with a dog

The adjacent and much nicer Tuileries Garden does not allow dogs, but you and your dog can roam around the garden where the carousel is.

Luxembourg Gardens

Dogs are only allowed on the south end of the gardens.

Parc des Buttes-Chaumont

This is a very abbreviated list, but you can find a more complete one here.

Take a boat tour on Batobus

Batobus offers sightseeing boat tours on the Seine, and they are dog-friendly. You can take Batobus to major sights along the river including Notre Dame, Musee d’Orsday, Tour Eiffel, and Invalides. A day pass allows you unlimited hop-on hop-off access. Your dog can go either in a carrier bag or muzzled and on a leash. Public transportation is so chaotic, that this may not be a bad way to get to different areas of Paris with your dog.

Dog-friendly dining in Paris

paris with a dog

Since most Paris restaurants and bistros have outdoor seating, there’s a better than average chance of your dog being allowed to eat with you. Some restaurants, even nice ones, allow dogs inside and will happily bring them a bowl of water to boot. Nonetheless, here are some for you to consider:

Bistrot Richelieu

Le Garde Manger

Gruppomimo

Le Centenaire

Café Lateral

Angelina

Old Shalimar

Le Christine

Dandy Hotel & Kitchen

Les Petit Commines

Le Compas

Les Bancs Publics

Le P’tit Bougnat

Borgo

Arbore

Getting around Paris with your dog

Paris is absolutely massive, so chances are that neither you nor your dog have the stamina to be able to get around only on foot. The Paris metro, RER, buses, and trams are all relatively dog-friendly, provided you follow the guidelines. Small dogs should be either in a bag or a basket and can travel for free on. Large dogs must be kept on a leash and wear a muzzle. They’re only allowed on the RER and metro, but not trams and buses.

Note: A lot of websites suggest that large dogs are not allowed or need a reduced fare ticket, but the information above is directly from the FAQ of the RATP, which operates the city’s transportation.

If you don’t want to subject your dog to the chaos that is a Paris metro, you can also use Uber Pet, which is slightly more expensive but is guaranteed to accept your dog. We had some taxi drivers offer us a ride while we walked the dog as well, so dog-friendly taxis are probably more common than not. If you’re calling for a cab, make sure you warm them in advance.

Should you visit Paris with your dog?

Paris is hit or miss with most people as it is, and I’m sure the city would be quite overwhelming to most dogs unless you’re coming from an even more chaotic city like New York or London. Our dog seemed pretty put off by the fact that there was no grass anywhere, or worse, forbidden grass that he could see but not access. All the street corners with their cutesy outdoor cafes also seemed to be disorienting to him because they all look the same – though admittedly, he was a very big fan of the cafes and wanted to go into every single one after he realized that he gets snacks there. As a result of his distaste for Paris, I ended up spending the majority of our vacation relaxing in the hotel with the dog.

dog-friendly paris

If you want to avoid that fate, I suggest you book a hotel that is walking distance to one or more of the dog-friendly parks in town. At least they can burn some energy before you take them to a bistro. In addition to the draw of the local cuisine, the sidewalk cafes will probably be a hit with your dog because there is a non-stop parade of other dogs walking by at all times. There are more dogs in Paris than I’ve seen in most cities. French dogs are pretty chill, and even our usually-reactive pup took a liking to them.

dog-friendly paris

Vets in Paris

I normally list off two or three vets in major cities, but Paris has more vets than they do pharmacies. I’m sure you’ll see one around the corner and if your dog needed something, he would probably be fine. As a worst-case scenario, you can use 24-hour emergency vet VetoAdom, which sends a vet to you.

All in all, I’m glad we went to Paris with our dog, but I would never ever do it again. I am offended on the dog’s behalf that he was not allowed in so many of the city’s parks.

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