Here we are at part 1 of my Europe trip, starting in the beautiful, romantic city of Paris! Being a natural wooer of women and one sexy beast, I'm sure you could imagine that I fit in quite well.
However, being on a tight schedule, we only had a few days here and so had to make every minute count!
But then again, I always do ;) In fact, you may or may not already know that I'm already fluent in French - having been raised in Quebec and all. Je suis bilingue!
Now I don't usually dress like this, but I'd say I pulled it off quite well.
The only thing I found myself missing in this romantic place was a special lady to enjoy it with... Or as the French call it, "une chérie" (a sweetie).
But then I remembered, I do! Mum says I'm her "hunny bun" for life!
This is the romantic bridge where thousands of couples have pledged their love to each other by sealing it forever in the form of a padlock on the guardrails.
However, as we learned from our Paris guide, as you'll see below, this trend has gotten a little out of control. Nowadays you see locks not just on this bridge - but every other bridge as well and pretty much anywhere they can be attached to in the city! In fact, it's essentially become vandalism, and is adding tons of extra weight (literally) to these old beautiful bridges and monuments. Many panels of the guardrails have already fallen off and had to be replaced. So maybe next time you're in Paris, seal your love with a kiss instead. After all, it's the memories that matter.
Anyway, for our first day in Paris we were still quite tired from the flight, so decided to take a laid back boat tour along the River Seine as a little introduction for our visit.
This bridge had some impressive gold statues atop its columns, which reminded me - I really need to get on commissioning a sculptor to create my own gold statue. I've been meaning to for a while but keep getting distracted with all these dang vacations... #FirstWorldProblems
And then, just like that, I was staring up at the iconic Eiffel Tower.
On top of that thing would probably be a good spot to place my statue, I thought to myself.
But the soft rocking of the boat made me realize just how jet-lagged I was... So before I knew it I was snoozing away on Mum's lap with dreams of gold statues atop tall towers... far away from the reaches of tourists and their padlocks.
But back at the hotel, the tables had turned when Mum found herself conked out on the bed and me with a renewed energy to play ball!
So while Mum takes a quick nap, I'll answer some of the questions you may have about how I'm able to travel to Europe. It's actually pretty simple, and requires no quarantine. I'm traveling from Canada (would also be same from US), so here's what your dog will need:
- A rabies vaccination of at least 21 days prior to entry.
- A microchip, with proof showing the microchip was inserted before the rabies vaccination was given (if not, it's not considered valid).
- A European Union Health Certificate form to fill out from your government's Food Inspection Agency (I just emailed them and they sent me the form and clear instructions on how to fill it out).
- Get your vet to fill out the EU Health Certificate (in blue ink, very important!) within 10 days of traveling.
- Then still within those 10 days of traveling, have the certificate endorsed (signed) by your local government Food Inspection Agency office.
And that's really about it! This EU Health Certificate form essentially becomes your "EU Pet Passport". You must enter the EU within 10 days of having it signed by your vet, but then once you've entered, you can travel around anywhere within the EU for 3 months.
I'd like to insert a special thank you to my friend Montecristo who is a very well-traveled little chihuahua with his own travel blog and now, illustrated children's book! Check it out: montecristotravels.com Monte (as he goes by for short) provided us some great direction and insight on organizing this trip. They have a ton of resources for traveling with a pet.
We entered through Paris, and no one even asked to see my papers. Heck, we didn't even pass through customs at all! (I wouldn't count on this always happening though).
It was a full 10 hours of two flights and an hour-long taxi ride before I was finally able to stretch my legs and relieve myself... But boy did it feel good! De toute façon, revenons à Paris! (Anyway, back to Paris!)
The day had finally come for me to take my walking tour of city, which I was very much looking forward to!
Heather of secretsofparis.com is a wonderful tour guide, but as she also owned two miniature pinchers in the city herself, she also offers dog-friendly tours to folks like me!
Here she is with Mum and I in front of part of the beautiful Luxembourg gardens!
And here I am, posing in front of the Luxembourg palace itself.
The grounds of the Luxembourg gardens only allow dogs in certain areas - which are not very clearly marked, so Heather was helpful in leading the way.
As she led us through the city, we also learned a bit about her, like how she's an American who went to school in Paris 20 years ago, fell in love with the place, and never left!
She also showed us her favorite Chocolaterie, where we picked up some of these multi-colored mini hamburgers...
I still don't quite understand why they come from chocolate shops though...
And heck, I thought the Franks were supposed to be famous for "French Fries", not hamburgers?
Side note from Heather: "French Fries" as they're called, actually originated from Belgium but because there is a certain population of Belgians that speak French, their culinary creation was mistakenly associated with France.
Anyway, we followed Heather further, leading us through the courtyard of Le Louvre.
The museums are pretty much the only place in Paris where dogs are truly not allowed - even in a bag, since they inspect them.
But hey, there's no rules about chasing pigeons in the courtyard!
"Comme c'est amusant!" (How it's fun!)
It is wonderful to see how dog-friendly Paris is (and most of Europe in general) - especially compared to the US and Canada.
I mean, you might walk into a café and see a couple dogs inside next to their humans in line.
More than once, I enjoyed a cool drink on a patio chair, and even sat at the table inside a restaurant!
By the way, when traveling, it's recommended to have a concealable pet carrier like this. It's quite useful if you need to sneak through a section or get in a restaurant if they aren't too keen on dogs coming in. It's come in handy more than once.
I will also mention that although Europe is very dog-friendly overall, it ultimately comes down to the person in front of you, so you can't always count on it.
We then stopped by the Luxor Obelisk which came here from Egypt.
With everyone doing it every which way I looked, I as well had to hop on the bandwagon and throw the 'classic tourist pose'...
And although I've only covered a fraction of what we covered, our last stop was a closer look at the Eiffel Tower, where I got what the French say "le money shot".
Okay, they don't really say that, but whatever ;)
The next day we decided it would be nice to do as the Parisians do, which is to pick up a bottle of wine and some cheese and enjoy a nice picnic along the river for the afternoon.
So we stopped by the local market to pick out some cheeses...
My remark was, "Un gros morceau de chaque s'il vous plaît" (a big piece of each, please).
But of course Mum was the one who reined in my fun by saying we could only choose three.
Then of course, we needed a couple fresh baguettes to go with our cheese and wine! Luckily my harness made for a perfect carrier!
As you can imagine, I caught a lot of attention on the way back!
We found a cozy spot along the river at the Jardin des Plantes (Garden of Plants) for our picnic...
I can't speak for the wine, but the baguette, cheeses, and salami were délicieux!
I have to say, I really dig the Paris lifestyle - sleep in, stay up late, eat well, and chase a lot of pigeons.
I may be a German breed - or as they say here, un chien saucisse (sausage dog), but French was my first language and Quebec was where I was raised, so there's something about this place that feels a little like home.
Or maybe it's just because I look so good in a beret and scarf.
In fact, the only time I didn't enjoy myself in Paris was when Mum and Dad decided to take an hour walk along the Promenade des Jardins (Garden Walk) in the rain...
That's my grumpy face BTW if you couldn't tell...
But as wonderful as this place is (most of the time), our stay was short-lived. After just a few days we were on a plane to Italy, to where I now write this in the gorgeous Cinque Terre region.
So stay tuned for my next posts on my week here in Italy. In the meantime, at least I have a little Paris teddy to remember my romance with the beautiful city of Paris.
Now it's time for pasta, scenic seascapes, and mountain trekking!
Keep ballin', or as the French might say, à fond la caisse,