Vacation’s Dog Days

If there was anything that could be considered “the hard part” of two-plus weeks in France, it was that we couldn’t take Penny with us. Now, I don’t think that she would have liked Paris all that much (crowded streets, lots of traffic). But it was pretty easy to imagine a pointer running through the wide open – and coyoteless – fields along the Dordogne.

While we were there, I learned something that I wouldn’t have guessed beforehand: the French LOVE their dogs! Dogs were everywhere in Paris — many many people could be seen walking (and a few carrying) their pups around town.

At play

As for breeds, we think we saw more French Bulldogs than anything, with Bichon Frises and Labs coming in close behind. The stereotypical Poodles (whether full-size or mini) were few and far between.

Sorry pups

Still, with all that Penny was often in our minds as we went through museums and along the streets of Paris and Sarlat.

Fire-breathing Pointer?!?!?

I was surprised how often dogs showed up in prominent museum pieces.

Pompidou Dogs of War

And their appearance was no “modern” art trend. Dogs showed up in Medieval areas too — like in the frescoes of one of the grand staircases of the Louvre…

15th century staircase in the Louvre

… and on the floor tiles of the beautiful church of Saint Chappelle.

Floor tile of Saint Chappelle showing dogs and bunnies

When we got to Sarlat though, there weren’t as many dogs in the art work and frescoes, but there were a number of free-roaming dogs that seemed to have free-run of the cobblestone streets. Usually these dogs would trot by, stopping at their favorite stores’ doors and cruising by to see if you might have a treat for them.

One day in Sarlat, I was followed home from the boulangerie by a sweet-faced brindle-coated dog. I was tempted, but didn’t relinquish any treats. Then surprisingly after our dinner, The Beloved and I were visited by the same dog. If I’d left with a “doggie bag”, he might have gotten a score.

Got any treats for me??

I know Penny would have played with him.


28 thoughts on “Vacation’s Dog Days

  1. One of the lesser-happy symptoms of a dog-society is, “Ooo la la, Faites-attention!” ::shrrrrrup::

    As someone steps in yet ANOTHER steaming pile and slides down the pavement…in it. They cleaned the pavement of Nantes (city-proper, not where I lived) twice a day. TWICE A DAY with big steam sweepery things. People do not clean up doggie doo there. I asked why not and my neighbors and coworkers thought that was a crazy idea. “Me? Clean up dog shit?” “It gives somebody a job.”

    • Lauri — I love it that the fire-breathing/light-vomiting dog actually has Penny’s coloring. And that picture was in The LOUVRE!! So you know it’s important. :)

  2. The dog is supposedly the first animal humans domesticated, so it wouldn’t surprise me to find a painting of someone’s pointer in a cave someday. But the Pompidou painting of the man running in panic with a pack of—foxhounds? beagles?—seems so wrong. It looks like a dog walker who lost control of his charges. The fire-breathing pointer made me laugh too, I confess. Artists like writers sometimes strain for adequate metaphors and fail, very publicly, unfortunately.

    Awww to the friendly stray in Sarlat! It says something about the town that this dog is able to survive on scraps and human goodwill. The strays we see haunting the riverbanks out here look so miserable, even going to the pound would be better for them.

    • HG — I was surprised how many dogs and dog-oriented art we saw. I would have had more dog pics if I could have snapped them without looking like some crazy dog-stalking tourist.

      I was impressed with the free-roaming dogs. They all seemed healthy and had a certain “bounce” to their strides. Especially coming on the heels of a tough winter.

  3. Awesome photos. I’m just catching up…been busy. I am jealous of your trip. I’ve been to Paris quite a bit but managed to miss a lot of the really fun things….

    On a totally unrelated topic….have you read Lab 257? It is a book that explores the role of Plum Island Animal Research etc. QUite a horrific experience. i thought of youwhen reading it, as you are the person I know who knows about research and safe lab techniques…

    • Miz — it was a really wonderful trip. I know we could go back, fill another couple of weeks and not even overlap what we did before.

      I have not heard about Lab-257. I’ll look it up, though it doesn’t sound like nice bedtime reading…

      • I read it at bedtime each night. I admit, it’s one of the few books I have read this year that has me continuing to think about it….I would not say it was extraordinarily well written, but…it was eye opening.

      • That’s my fear…we’re heading to Italy next spring for three months with three weeks in Paris. This is going to be our “big trip of a lifetime” trip. The one we sold the boat for and all the penny pinching (ha)…I’ve told the Mister he may not be able to get me back on the plane!

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