Reader question: We want to take our dog and cat with us to our holiday home in France but we are taking a train to get there. Can you take pets on French trains? What are the rules?
It is permitted to take a pet on the train in France, but according to the rules, you should pay extra for doing so.
The tariff to take an animal on a train used to be linked to the size of the pet – for the largest dogs, the price to bring them on a train was 50% of the cost of a person’s ticket for the same journey, meaning for some it cost dozens of euros to bring an animal on a particularly long journey.
The rules changed in 2022, however, to introduce a flat tariff – good news for large dog owners, but less so for owners of smaller dogs, cats, and rabbits, who saw prices shoot up.
Depending on the size of the animal, you are asked to either muzzle it and keep it on a lead, or keep it in a pet container.
You should note also that, at least in theory, the SNCF states that the right to have a pet with you is only a ‘tacit permission’, on the assumption that its presence does not bother other passengers. We would therefore suggest if possible avoiding taking it on a busy commuter train at rush hour, for example.
How much is a pet ticket?
The standard tariff to bring a pet onto the train is now €7 for a TGV or a regional service, and €10 for a Ouigo train.
If you are making a connection, however, you will have to pay this fare again on the new train. For example, if you take a cat from Paris to Montauban, with a change in Bordeaux, you will have to pay €14 in tariffs (€7 for each of the two trains).
There is a further complication in some areas which have introduced their own special pet ticket for journeys on regional TER services, which is a flat fare even if there is a change of trains.
This ticket costs €5 in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur and Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, and €7 in Brittany and Occitanie.
Nouvelle-Aquitaine, meanwhile, has different rules again, which state that the tariff varies according to the distance of the journey, being €2 up to 43km, then €4 up to 80km and €7 after that.
These local train tickets must still be purchased on top of the €7 pet tariff for longer-distance SNCF trains if you are using both as part of the same journey.
If you are caught not paying the animal tariff, the fine is €35 per train per animal for your journey.
Guide dogs are exempt from paying the tariff, and can travel for free, provided they stay at the feet of the owner throughout the journey.
Where can you buy a pet ticket?
It is possible to click to ajouter (add) a pet or pets during the online booking process if you buy tickets on sncf-connect.com or via the SNCF Connect phone application.
Otherwise, you can pay at a ticket desk in a station, and some ticket dispensing machines also include the option to add a pet.
What are the rules for bringing a pet on a train?
The rules on most SNCF trains are as follows:
- Pet price hike on Air France planes. Each passenger can only bring two pets or two containers (with one pet in each) on their journey.
- If an animal is under six kilograms, it must be in a basket or pet container.
- If a dog weighs more than six kilograms, it must be muzzled and kept on a lead.
- In theory, SNCF websites state you should carry with you identifying documents for the pet, though we consider it unlikely you would be asked for them
Note that the rules and tariffs may vary slightly if travelling on international services such as the TGV Lyria, Thalys or Renfe-SNCF trains, and you cannot bring pets onto Eurostar services.
If travelling abroad on an international service with your pet, you should also make sure you have documents including your pet’s passport and up-to-date health records, as well as making sure the pet is microchipped and, for dogs, is vaccinated against rabies.