Christmas road trip advice needed

My husband and I, with our two dogs are planning a trip from Albi to Saint Malo to take the ferry over to Jersey. We plan to stay with my sister in Jersey over Christmas and new year. The plan is to travel half way and stay overnight, before continuing to catch the ferry in Saint Malo to Jersey. We will be leaving 21st December staying over that night and plan to get the ferry on 22nd December. We would appreciate any advice and tips on accommodation etc. We thought perhaps somewhere near Niort, somewhere just off the autoroute A83. We would like a hotel, obviously that allow dogs. As we have never done a trip like this before we would welcome any comments or advice from anyone who live in this area, or who may have done this trip themselves. Many thanks.

Yes Jane, I think it would be better if they had a safety belt on, it would stop them jumping up on the drivers back seat and also as you say in the event of an accident it would restrain them

Sorry if I've been misleading you - I can't for the life of me remember how I 'knew' this stuff about having the dogs restrained by a safety belt but I'm sure it was obligatory when I bought it, but that's some time ago now. I would want them restrained anyway - in the event of an accident, or even having to break suddenly - the dog could fly through the air and possibly kill you...

The dogs also have to have their annual rabies vacinations up to date

hi joyce, we popped into the vets in chef boutonne on monday to see what we had to do if we brought our dogs over and it's a tablet for the worming which is given not less than 24 hours and no more than 5 days before they return to the uk. luckily for us the young lady at the vets was a trainee vet who was english as although my french is getting better my heart did sink a bit at the thought of trying to discuss it in french ;)

Does anyone know the French name for tapeworm, I've had a look on the internet and it's not very clear. Also does the vet give an injection or tablet?

Apparently there are no specific rules, but the driver must make sure that the dog does not disturb him/her while driving.


Finbar (Finn) is brindle but looks a bit like a silverback :) as he is getting very grey now and Nell (nelly noodle) is red and as mad as a hatter :D. we call nell pot noodle as she is potty at times - they come everywhere with us as we bring them to work. If we dont take Finn over he will stay with our neighbours as we wouldn't want to put him in kennels by himself at christmas... people think we're daft but heyho they are our babies :)

what kind of boxers do you have-my little girl is coming 10 .....ahhh and big Bob is coming 6....

thanks Heather:) that's a relief as theyhave never been restrained before and the last time my youngest Nell who's 6 was in a crate was when she was a puppy and she screamed all the time apart from when she slept !!! My oldest Finn is 10 and we are still unsure whether we are bringing him over as he will be fine once he's in France at the house but last time he was in the car he panted all the way to where we were going (2 hours) then as soon as we set back for home he lay down and went to sleep !


Kirsty, we have been travelling back and forth from France to the UK for over 8 years and have never had the dogs restrained- we have 2 boxes as well- in the back of the car-hatchback is fine.

Hi, i can't see anywhere on the internet that it is obligatory to restrain dogs in a crate. I understand if they are on the back seat they need a harness but what about in the back of a hatchback? I am thinking of bringing my two boxers over for christmas. Any definative advice would be welcome

Anybody know about solana-hotel chauray it looks quite close to the A83 autoroute.

Heather I think my husband would be more stressed if I were to drive.

Elaine - it's been a while since I investigated the law but I think if the dog is in the boot there has to be some sort of barrier between them and the back seats.

I seem to remember that the Ibis is about ten minutes drive through loads of roundabouts once you leave the autoroute

yes - it's obligatory for the dogs to have a safety belt when travelling in a car - they're quite cheap and clip into the safety belt clasp in your car. I put a harness on my larger dog and clip the safety belt onto that. It makes sense - if you were (god forbid) to have an accident the dog could kill you as it continues travelling when you brake suddenly. I take it off for customs as I always have far too much booze on me, hidden under all my luggage, and a snarling, barking dog helps push me through quickly!

Thanks Jane, that was very helpful, so is it obligatory for the dogs to wear safety belts, and is it only going through customs? Is the hotel Ibis just of the autoroute? I will look it up, we don't want to travel for miles trying to find a hotel. Once again, thanks

well my advise would be to not let the husband drive, dodgy....

I do this trip twice a year with my four dogs (this Christmas it will be five !) Carcassonne - Saint-Malo - Guernsey. I have stayed at the Ibis in Niort who were very accommodating - the four dogs were no problem. Infact, all the hotels I've stayed in have been great about the dogs. just pick a town you want to stop in a do a search for hotels in the area. they all state on their websites if they accept animals or not. Ask for a ground floor room - easier to get the dogs in and out last thing at night and first thing in the morning. Depending on what time the boat sails, though, you might want to do more than half the driving the day before. If the weather is bad (eg snow and ice) the roads can be rather clogged up and hard to negotiate - no motorway up in that corner of France!

I like to get to the Condor check-in early as they usually have to call the vet to come down and check the passports and verify the chip numbers on their electronic reader.

Check your pet passports very carefully when the vet completes them - it can be a nightmare at customs if they haven't put the right date or signed the right page. I wouldn't sedate them for the boat journey - mine all always fine. It's a bit distressing (for me anyway) to leave them in the car but believe me they just go to sleep - the noise doesn't seem to bother them. You will get an A4 size notice printed on bright yellow paper as you check in. You need to display this on your dashboard so the guys know you have pets in the car when they are telling you where to park.

I'd be happy to answer any more specific questions you may have as and when you think of them. Oh - and I find it helpful to take my larger dog's safety belt off (these are obligatory if the dog isn't in a travel crate) when going through customs. She goes a bit mental when anyone comes near the car and customs officers just wave you through