Notes on...

A miracle: French hotels actually like dogs

Especially those that are stopovers for long-distance drivers rather than destinations in themselves

22 November 2014

9:00 AM

22 November 2014

9:00 AM

The first time I checked in to a French hotel with a golden retriever — his name was Gregory, predecessor of the incumbent Douglas — I left him, clearly unhappy, in the bedroom when I went to dinner. Then I realised that every other party already in the dining room included a dog, in some cases a lapdog enjoying morsels direct from its mistress’s plate. So I fetched Gregory, shoved him under the tablecloth and told him to keep quiet. But each time a tasty dish went past, his big hairy head emerged and sniffed the air. Eventually the maitre d’hotel approached. ‘You’re in trouble now,’ I whispered (to Gregory). ‘Ah, quel beau chien,’ said the maitre d’. ‘Would he like to order anything?’

It was a lesson in the dog-friendliness of French hotels, especially those that are stopovers for long-distance drivers rather than destinations in themselves. The Michelin Guide has a ‘No Dogs’ symbol, but if it’s not shown for your chosen auberge, your travelling companion is almost certainly OK — not just tolerated, as he might be in an English country inn, but welcomed even when, like Douglas, he puts his front paws on the counter to greet the receptionist.

The Logis de France handbook is another starting point in the search for the ideal dog hotel — which must of course have a large, well-fenced garden, or adjacent countryside, and preferably ground-floor bedrooms for speedy access to lawns and borders. If you regularly chauffeur your pet to your own or other people’s holiday homes a long way south, you need a selection of congenial, grassy places en route.

The scene of that first encounter was La Bertelière at St Martin-du-Vivier, off the A28 in the northern outskirts of Rouen and a couple of hours south of the Channel Tunnel. If you prefer to cross the Seine by the Pont de Brotonne, heading for Tours and Poitiers, my recommendation is the Auberge du Val au Cesne, just south of Yvetot: cottage bedrooms in a menagerie-garden of donkeys, parrots and exotic poultry; delicious local cuisine. If your ferry crossing takes you to Cherbourg, my tip at the bottom of the peninsula (poised for attacking the western autoroutes the following morning) is La Croix D’Or at Avranches, a bargain-priced, half-timbered coaching inn around a leafy courtyard.

My own journey’s end is the Dordogne, and I have tried out all sorts of routes and stopovers to make the two-day expedition more fun for me and more tolerable for the canine passenger. Le Lanthenay is a simple hostelry with good food just outside Romorantin-Lanthenay in the Sologne. Les Orangeries at Lussac-les-Chateaux is my secret consolation for the tiresomeness of the truck route from Poitiers to Limoges: it looks nothing from the road but is actually a stylish ‘eco-hotel’ with lovely wooded grounds. And the Relais de Comodoliac at St Junien, close to Limoges and the war memorial village of Oradour-sur-Glane, could not have been friendlier. Douglas the dog enjoyed staying in all of them, and looks forward to discovering others to recommend next year.

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

You might disagree with half of it, but you’ll enjoy reading all of it. Try your first 10 weeks for just $10

Show comments
  • John Smith

    We recently took our Golden Retriever to a Michelin starred restaurant in Agen, to attend my wife’s birthday lunch.

    Madam was slightly concerned about her silk curtains but I promised I would not touch them

  • ForGodsSake1

    What is it with the health-and-safety hysteria here about dogs in hotels and restaurants? If they’re THAT dangerous, why are we allowed to keep them in their millions as domestic pets? Once again, the French prove their essential civility and common sense.

  • Their restaurants allows dogs in too

  • Shella Staten Morris

    I Never believed i was ever going to be HIV Negative again,Dr Molemen
    has given me reasons to be happy, i was HIV positive for 2years and all
    the means i tried for treatment was not helpful to me, but when i came
    on the Internet i saw great testimony about Dr on how he was able to
    cure someone from HIV, this person said great things about this man, and
    advice we contact him for any Disease problem that Dr Molemen can be of
    help, well i decided to give him a try, he requested for my information
    which i sent to him, and he told me he was going to prepare for me a
    healing portion, which he wanted me to take for days, and after which i
    should go back to the hospital for check up, well after taking all the
    treatment sent to me by Dr Molemen, i went back to the Hospital for
    check up, and now i have been confirmed HIV Negative, friends you can
    reach Dr Molemen on any treatment for any Disease he is the one only i
    can show you all up to, reach him on
    ( or call him on +2347036013351,
    Facebook page on (… Website at (http://drmolemenspiritualtempl…), God Bless you for your Good Work Sire!

  • Albin

    Good to check into a dog-friendly hotel with a dog. Not so good without one, since, as we know former guest fleas will then hop to the next dog before they hop to next guest, you. Otherwise, you will get them. I was on a business trip stay at the lovely waterfront former Holiday Inn near the Canada Place facility in Vancouver, nice eggs benedict with trout for breakfast, but went home with flea bites.