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  • Take the whole family on holiday in France - including the four-legged ones!

    by Marianne Wanstall

    Now that the Pets Passport scheme is firmly established, taking your pet to France is supposedly a straightforward process. This did not stop our family setting off in trepidation for our annual French villa holiday, Poppy the Springer spaniel ensconced in the car, as we were unsure what to expect when it came to travelling with a dog. No one mentioned, but everyone imagined, the worse case scenario of incorrect paperwork resulting in a six month spell in quarantine...

    Our local vet had been extremely helpful at taking us through the steps to travel with Poppy. She had already been micro-chipped and had her rabies blood test and vaccination some time before, so it was a matter of ensuring that everything was up to date, and completing her new passport - complete with space for doggie photo which pleased the children enormously!

    We duly set off for Dover and the ferry to France. Going out couldn't have been simpler, we just had to declare that we were carrying a dog, so that they could put us in a suitable place on the ferry car deck. Once on board, we had to leave Poppy in the car on deck (having disabled our car alarm so that she didn't set it off during the journey!). We spent a pleasant crossing on board, and on return to the car discovered Poppy happily asleep inside. We were ready to start our French adventure.

    A day's drive brought us to our holiday villa south of Bordeaux. A number of Tour Operators can provide accommodation where pets are welcomed, and suggest suitable houses with enclosed grounds, so that your beloved pet can enjoy their holiday outdoors as well. Poppy duly spent the two weeks exploring the new surroundings, chasing bugs in the garden and lounging in the shade. Unusually for a Springer spaniel, she is not a water lover, so we were able to enjoy a fur-free swimming pool as well!

    We had enquired in advance to find a local vet who could do the necessary treatment and paperwork that we needed for our return to the UK. Again Tour Operators can help in this process, and there are a number of websites which provide useful information - some organisations will make the vet appointment for you, for a small fee. We duly turned up for our appointment (which must be 48 - 24 hours before you cross back into the UK). We had been advised to bring our own flea/tick/worm treatment, which the vet was more than happy to administer, and then complete the paperwork.

    Back at Calais on the way home, the check-in process was a little more involved. We were sent to a designated office where Poppy's papers were checked, she was scanned for a microchip, and we were then sent happily on our way, adding no more than 10 minutes to the check-in process.

    Our verdict? We now travel regularly with Poppy to France. The cost is comparable (but not much cheaper) than putting her in kennels, and Poppy gets as much of a holiday as we do.

    Example costs for taking your pet to France UK Vet fees for producing paperwork £50 Cross-channel ferry/tunnel fees £30 each way French vet costs (excluding any medicines) approx €40

    You can take your pet on holiday too - For further details view www.hoseasonsvillas.com

    About the Author

    Marianne Wanstall is a seasoned traveller to France, and a director of Hoseasons Villas, who feature a selection of villas in France and other European countries for the independent traveller (see www.hoseasonsvillas.com). The Hoseasons Holiday group sends over 30,000 pet

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