Dog Walking restrictions in National Parks?

I was surprised to hear from friends with a holiday flat on the edge of the Mercantour National Park that they were recently warned not to walk their dogs in the Park. They were told they could be fined 1000 euros.

Does this apply to similar National Parks across France?

It may influence where people choose to live. For my friends it was the last straw and they have just sold up.

La réglementation | Parc national du Mercantour (
Extrait simplifié de la réglementation du coeur de parc - Les chiens, même tenus en laisse ou portés sur soi, sont interdits.

As your link goes on to explain … these areas are highly protected…

“This ban is also common to all national parks in France and is in no way specific to the Mercantour National Park: it appears in the ministerial decrees and applies to all visitors and even residents living in the area protected.”


I found this, concerning the Parc Naturel Régional des Causses du Quercy…

Les chiens sont-ils autorisés sur le Parc ?
Oui, comme partout, mais restez vigilant et tenez votre chien en laisse à l’approche de troupeaux de brebis.

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Different type of parc

Two points, the national parcs cover a much smaller area than the natural parcs and there are only 7 of them. So don’t confuse with the 58 natural parcs.

We live in one of the 58 and yes there are areas with ground breeding birds where dogs are not allowed, and others where they have to be on a lead, but otherwise ok except for…

Everywhere in France dogs must be on a lead between 15 April and 30 June.

We learnt this the hard way!


Park National and Park Naturel are not one and the same thing…

and people often miss the important difference… Nature is the most important thing in a National Park…

Les parcs nationaux de France.


Thanks for the link, but it’s worth noting an important exception in the final clause in Article 1 ‘… it is prohibited to walk dogs not on a leash outside forest paths during the period from April 15 to June 30.’


Firstly, there are no dog-walking ‘rights’. So, why anyone assumes they should be granted a right to walk their dog, off leash to boot wherever they like, surprises me as a dog owner.

I well understand my dogs are dogs, albeit doodles, and they do have prey instinct. Gentle as lambs with people and other dogs (and horses), no squirrel or other small furry is safe in their vicinity. They enjoy a wilderness walk but I do not think that takes priority over the safety of other little creatures. There are plenty of places we can choose to go that the nature reserve guardians have not placed under needed protection and closed off.

Indeed, UK has seen that dogs can be quite a hazard where there are baby lambs or goats or calves or wildlife. Even small dogs have teeth and legs and bark. The deaths every year caused by the ignorance of humans who do not know the natural instincts of dogs and imagine their own wishes trump any Do Not Enter signs is, in my opinion, if not brainless then arrogantly selfish.


Unfortunately our dog can’t read. So if a boar and it’s squeaking marcassins are close to a forest path he is rather quickly not on a forest path but in full chase. And as we learnt angry mama boar can charge, especially when herded back our way by our sheep dog. Not an experience I wish to repeat.

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