Dog-friendly holidays and activities on rise in France

Holiday destinations and activities that allow owners to bring their pet dogs with them are growing rapidly in France, with the number of dog-friendly establishments and dog-suitable activities on the rise.

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Animal welfare group, La Fondation 30 Millions d'Amis, has responded to this demand by launching a tourism booking platform dedicated to clients who wish to travel with their beloved canines.

The platform “Nos Vacances Entre Amis (Our Holidays Between Friends)” - created in partnership with travel guide le Petit Futé - includes an interactive map showing 20,000 sites that welcome dogs.

Reha Hutin, president of the La Fondation 30 Millions d'Amis, said: “More and more people ask us for advice on travelling with their animals. Requests have doubled in the last five years. Pets are welcomed as clients, which did not exist before.”

Travel comparison website has also reported a 59.39% spike in the number of searches for “pet-friendly” locations, between 2017 and 2018. The website’s “animals accepted” criterion is now its second-most used search filter.

However, owners should still ensure that the property has adequate facilities for dogs and that it will be suitable for your pet in particular.

Juliette Courtois, author at le Petit Futé - which publishes the guide “Vacances Avec ou Sans Son Animal (Holidays With or Without Your Pet)” every year - said: “The best thing to do is to call to check the facilities in advance.”

Mr Courtois explained that some places do take great care to provide activities that are suitable for dogs, with activities such as “cani-paddle” - paddleboarding that allows dogs to come along too - growing in popularity.

She said: “‘Cani-paddling’ is developing in France, especially on the Atlantic coast, in the Landes and in the Gironde.”

A growing number of places in France are working to ensure that they welcome dogs properly, such as the Port de Moricq campsite in Angles (Vendeé, Pays-de-la-Loire), run by dog lover Julie Hervé.

Ms Hervé explained to French news network 20 Minutes: “It is sometimes difficult to find places where animals are both accepted and well-treated. When nothing is done to accommodate them, it can feel uncomfortable.”

With this in mind, Ms Hervé set up her own campsite, to create an establishment designed to make both humans and their pets comfortable throughout their stay.

Upon arrival, campers receive a kit with toys, dog treats, and refuse bags for collecting dog waste. There is also a shower designed for dogs, and a “puppy park” where pets can run free in safety.

Another dog lover, Maria - who has travelled with her dog Shark since 2015 - created the popular blog Tropical Dog, to show that it is possible to travel internationally without leaving your pets behind.

Similarly, the French-language EmmeneTonChien (Bring Your Dog)” Instagram account currently has 3,799 followers, and shows dog-friendly destinations and activities.

There is even a growing number of sites in France that are “dog only”, effectively designed as high-end kennels.

One example is the Dog Hotel Resort in the Loiret (Centre-Val de Loire), which offers hydrotherapy and pampering sessions for dogs and cats, as well as individual bedrooms with televisions and webcams, so staff and owners can check up on their pets during their stay.

The website reads: “It’s the life of a château for our pets!”

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