No good deed goes unpunished. And when traveling to Europe with your dog that is especially true.
We took Danny to France last summer (his first trip abroad) during which arrival went fairly smoothly. We entered the country through the Nice airport where the Gendarmes barely gave us a glance when we passed through Border Control. They could not have cared less about our dog's import permit that I had painstakingly spent several days putting together. Apparently, bringing a little frou-frou dog to the Riviera is about as common as carrying a Chanel bag. Everyone has them so customs officials aren't the least bit interested in your paperwork or your dog. I wondered if going through the stress of organizing Danny's travel docs was even worth the bother. Surely, the next time we bring him to France through a larger airport they will check his docs, right?
For this trip I was not worried about getting the paperwork done correctly having done this only six months before. But our point of entry would be Charles de Gaulle airport outside of Paris. And given the terrorist events in 2015, I was certain the border entry would involve much tighter security and scrutiny. French government agencies are notorious for being ridiculously complicated and not very helpful at communicating process or document changes. I fully expected there would be some new document I didn't have and would find out about as I tried to get through French Customs with an anxious dog that hadn't peed in eight hours. I stressed about it during the entire flight.
I stressed out for nothing.
We touched down in CDG and passed Passport Control with no problem. After collecting our suitcases we looked around for the immigration police responsible for checking and signing Danny's import permit. We saw two Gendarmes having an animated conversation at checkpoint Charlie. We stood there looking at them and after a few moments, they looked back at us. We asked if they wanted to check our bags and see the dog's papers.
"Allez-y, allez-y!" said the larger gruff one while frantically waving us toward the airport exit.
My French comprehension was a little rusty but the meaning was obvious.... "What do we care? Why are you bothering us? Just go".
And that was that. Another seven days of pre-trip document preparation and $100 in vet visits wasted. France, I will never understand you.