With some truly beautiful dog-friendly destinations in the UK and a quarter of British households now owning dogs, it’s unsurprising the demand for pet-friendly trips is now on the rise. From the slightly bonkers dog yoga to luxury pet hotels, our love for our furry friends is very well documented so it’s no wonder so many people don’t want to leave home without them. With the introduction of the Pet Travel Scheme – which allows itchy-pawed British dogs (and other furry creatures such as ferrets apparently!) to travel on a “pet passport” to Western Europe it’s now a lot easier to go further than just a good ol’ British staycation. I’m joining one of the 5% of people who dare to venture a little further afield with their pets and heading off on a 10 day trip to France with Gary our team videographer and my with my rescued Athens’ street dog Rosa (so handily she already has a passport – it’s just all in Greek!)
After crossing from Dover to Calais via a ferry we’ll be exploring some of France’s finest cities and most beautiful scenery. Road trips are my favourite method of travel – there really is nothing quite like the freedom of the open road, it’s will just have an interesting twist this time! As a blogger, this means I’ll also be working as I go, running your own business means that there’s always a continuous supply of emails to check and blog posts to write! So as well as my usual social media updates I’ll also be trying out every digital nomad’s (and any traveller who is thinking about logging on abroad really!) must have technology the VPN or in its full version the Virtual Private Network.
The VPN service I’ll be trialling is the F-Secure FREEDOME, a market leader in the industry, they ensure you can browse in complete privacy. Picture the scenario – you’re in café on your travels and you’re ready to connect to the public WiFi but a hacker is sitting next to you ready to steal all your passwords (yikes)! F-Secure FREEDOME offers perfect encryption on all your devices, from a mobile to a laptop so it means you can browse without worrying. It also means that you have secure access to your favourite streaming websites so you can check out your favourite TV shows. Another great benefit is that FREEDOME blocks unwanted third-party tracking and malicious sites and stops advertisers from making money at the expense of your privacy. With just a few clicks of a button the app was downloaded and then installed, now if only it was that quick and easy getting all the documents, vet arrangements and insurance ready to take my dog away! Anyway here’s what our France road trip will look like…
Three nights in the beautiful Champagne region
We’ll be travelling from Calais to Troyes (with my faithful four-legged friend in tow as well of course) to explore the beautiful Champagne region which is famous for its wine trails, beautiful scenery, medieval chateaus, vineyards and of course being the birthplace of champagne.
Firstly we’ll be staying at the beautiful pet-friendly Hotel de La Poste and Spa (pictured above) in Troyes which is an ultra- charming medieval town featuring narrow, cobbled streets lined with colourful, half-timbered 16th-century houses. Next will be Le Tadorne Hotel which is located in the tranquil Piney, a small french picturesque village located northeast of France and then Les Demoiselles Essoyes Hotel located in Essoyes an idyllic commune in the Aube department in north-central France where Impressionist artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir owned a house in the town. We’ll also be exploring beautiful gardens, dining at the gourmet restaurant Le Valentino, heading out on a Renoir art trail, indulging in champagne tasting and also exploring the city of Troyes and all its medieval splendour!
Five nights in Rhone-Alpes
Next up is the beautiful Rhone-Alpes region and as well as the world-famous Alps mountain range, the vineyards of the Rhône Valley, it also includes the beautiful the lavender fields of northern Provence and the iconic extinct volcanoes of Auvergne – so some diverse scenery here for sure! We’ll be staying in Volca’Lodges in Saint-Pierre-le-Chastel in the heart of the Puy chain of volcanoes these are eleven eco-lodges built of wood, part of the Parc Naturel des Volcans d’Auvergne the lodges also contain a private jacuzzi! Then at Vichy Les Célestins a gorgeous modern five star Spa Hotel located in a privileged position on Allier Lake. It’s even connected to a Thermal Spa by a covered walkway!
Two nights in the Somme
Before heading back to Calais we’ll be trying out glamping the French way at Domaine de Drancourt, a family (and pet) friendly resort complete with an outdoor swimming pool set in the grounds of a gorgeous chateau. The accommodation is very near the Saint Valery sur Somme, medieval town whose seduction had been painted by famous painters as Degas, Boudin and Seurat.
There will be lots of updates and photos along the way (including gratuitous pup shots of course!) so follow us as we uncover France’s most beautiful places, find out whether we run out of gravy bones (gasp!) and also discover the benefits of using the F-Secure FREEDOME service on the trip hashtag #FreedomeFrance
Top photo credit: Petr Meissner
With thanks to our trip partner F-Secure FREEDOME, for further information on this awesome VPN service click here.