INTERVIEW – Mélanie is the founder of the website “Chien Voyageur”, where she explains her holidays accompanied by her border collie, Maïdo, and gives her good advice for a successful human and canine holiday. Share your favorites with us.
It is an image of Epinal. The minivan, the two children in the back, a trunk barely closed. And the head of the Golden Retriever sticks out the window. In France, one in three owners would choose to go on holiday with their pet, instead of having it or boarding it. Despite the stress, the extra costs, the preparations. Because it must be said that although 15 million dogs, cats and ferrets live in French homes according to Icad (Identification of domestic carnivores), taking them on holiday still looks like an obstacle course.
To focus on the solutions rather than the pitfalls, Mélanie has created the site “Chien Voyageur”, where she collects her tips, learned at work with her dog Maïdo, a border collie who follows her on her walks worldwide. This great traveler has also made five guides, the last of which, dedicated to Savoy, is available in PDF format (€ 14.90). Because we remember that, every year, tens of thousands of animals are abandoned on the holiday route. An animal that walks with its owner is one less animal in the SPA. By car !
FIGARO TRAVELS. – What is the ideal foreign country to go with your dog?
Melanie. – Without hesitation, I would say Italy! It is an especially dog-friendly country. There are many dog-friendly accommodations and restaurants. Some supermarkets too: this is the case, for example, of the Conad or Unes chains. At Unes, small and medium-sized dogs even have access to specially equipped carts! The beaches are also suitable for dogs: this is the case of the Baubeach in Rome, the Dogbeach in San Vincenzo or even the Baubeach near Venice. Finally, there are parks reserved for dogs almost everywhere in the big cities, Rome, Florence, Naples or Milan. And if dogs are not allowed in historical monuments, there are excellent dog boarding houses in Italy.
What is the most cozy accommodation you have ever tried with your dog?
We have many accommodation experiences with Maïdo, but our favorite accommodations are those that have a special focus on our dogs. I am thinking in particular of Camping 2 la Plage de Treffort, in Isère, which received us with a welcome kit for Maïdo (blanket, bowls, etc.). In the Vendée, the Port de Moricq campsite is 100% dog-friendly and welcomes dogs as family members with all the equipment and attention they deserve: “toutoudouches”, a “toutousnack” or a “toutouparc”! In Bangor, Belle-île-en-Mer, the La Désirade Hotel has provided a welcome kit for dogs: a blanket, bowls and even towels for a return trip. , this type of reception is uncommon.
Do you have a recommended beach to go with your dog?
You should know that while many are forbidden to dogs, others are accessible to them but only at certain times of the year. We still had the opportunity to visit some very beautiful beaches with Maïdo! In the Var, in Ramatuelle, dogs are allowed on all beaches as long as they are tied up. On L’Escalet beach, there is even a canine shower that allows you to rinse your dog after bathing. In Corsica there are also beautiful beaches that accept dogs, such as Santa Giulia. Next to the ocean, Quiberon Bay has magnificent beaches where dogs are allowed all year round: Mané Gwen in Plouharnel, Le Lizeau in Saint-Pierre Quiberon or the Mare in Conguel.
Which ski resort is best for dogs?
A dog ski resort, for me, is a resort that includes dogs in its range of activities. You can easily find dog-friendly accommodation, snowshoe trails accessible for dogs, ski lifts allowed and you can ski with your dog apart from the area. I am in love with Haute-Savoie and, in particular, the Massif des Brasses. The destination Môle et Brasses Tourisme has also received the Touttourisme seal, which guarantees visitors accompanied by a dog a quality welcome.
SEE THE FILE – Skiing and winter sports: the guide Figaro
What is the most beautiful dog-human walk?
On the roads of the coast, in the mountains, on the plains, we have often been amazed. My favorites? The GR 34 is also called the customs road which starts at Mont-Saint-Michel and ends at Saint-Nazaire. The landscapes crossed are of incredible beauty, we discover all the richness of the Breton coast. On the mountainside, I recently fell in love with the Belledonne Massif in the Northern Alps and its high-altitude lakes. It is neither a national park, nor a regional park, nor a reservation, so it is accessible to dogs in its entirety! Maïdo is a great hiking companion: her infallible motivation is a precious ally when fatigue sets in. When we reach the top, we taste our victory together in front of some impressive landscapes.
The most beautiful meeting made traveling thanks to Maïdo?
One year, we delayed the organization of our summer vacation. We also wanted to go to the south of Brittany, a very touristy destination that forces you to anticipate accommodation reservations, especially when you want to go with your dog. When we looked for accommodation there was nothing left. We were willing to give up on changing our plans when I had the idea to remove the “Pets Allowed” filter on the online booking platform. I contacted some accommodation owners, who were shown to be unfit for dogs, to assure them that we were respectful and that Maïdo was well behaved. A lovely couple trusted us and accepted our booking request. We were greeted with a bottle of cider and two bowls for Maido in a magnificent beach apartment. Unexpected! We had a great holiday week and left the apartment perfectly clean and tidy. We hope we have made them want to welcome other dogs in the future!
The unexpected little problem you encountered while traveling with Maido?
Even when he says “pets are allowed” sometimes there are conditions that are not mentioned. For example, we found ourselves on a rental that only accepted small dogs. We found out when we got there. The owner was a little annoyed to notice the size of my border collie (25kg). He finally accepted our dog but imposed on us some limitations for which we had not been prepared: our dog had to stay at the entrance, he did not have to be left alone in the accommodation … Now, We systematically contact the owners of the accommodation in order to make sure in advance of the conditions of reception.
Is there a place to avoid when traveling with your dog?
From experience, I think it’s important to choose your accommodation based on what you can do with your dog nearby. The hotel offers access to a vast array of services, including dog boarding, dog boarding, beach activities. This saves you from having to travel miles. It is also important to choose activities that both humans and dogs will enjoy: Maïdo is a very sensitive dog who does not like crowds. He prefers large spaces, so we take this into account when developing our program.
What are the basic things to carry when traveling with your dog?
When I travel with Maïdo I always plan two bags: one for the car that I always have nearby and in which I put the cord, the harness, the health card, the European passport, a bowl and water, a brush and a first aid kit. . . In the second, I put chewing candy, his toys, his life jacket, a fluorescent vest if we are hunting. I also take croquette a little more than enough in case we prolong the holidays, their food bowl, their mattress. It is important to bring familiar objects so that the dog has some guidance in a new place, this reassures him.