Need urgent help in France? Read our guide to emergencies in France and ensure you have the right French emergency number for your needs.
Finding yourself in an emergency can be scary wherever you are in the world. However, if you’re an expat living in a new country where you don’t speak the language, it can quickly become even scarier.
But don’t worry. Our guide to French emergency numbers will arm you with the information you need should you encounter any difficulties or require any assistance in France. This guide to emergency phone numbers in France contains advice on the following:
- French emergency services and numbers
- Fire services in France
- Police in France
- Healthcare and accidents in France
- Mental health services in France
- Drug and alcohol services in France
- Children, family, and youth services in France
- Crime-related services in France
- Utility and telecommunications services in France
- Road and traffic emergencies in France
- LGBTQ+ services in France
- Homelessness services in France
- Animal services in France
- Lost or stolen property in France
- European-wide emergency numbers
- What to do in an emergency in France
- Other useful phone numbers in France
- Emergency terms and phrases in France
French emergency services and numbers
There are three main emergency services in France: the medical service (SAMU), the fire brigade (sapeurs-pompiers), and the police (Police Nationale or Gendarmerie Nationale). In an emergency, you can call the following French numbers from any phone in France:
- Medical service: 15
- Police: 17
- Fire service: 18
The French emergency services are also available by calling the Europe-wide emergency number (112).
You should use the numbers above in a genuine emergency or life-threatening situation, such as for serious medical issues, fire-related incidents and to report crimes.
Fire services in France
The French fire brigade (les Sapeurs Pompiers) is available by calling 18 on any phone.
Generally, the fire brigade is the first service to respond first to road injuries and domestic accidents. In rural areas, it is generally the fastest to the scene for all emergencies.
The fire service coordinates with other emergency services where necessary. It works closely with the medical service and employs professional, health, medical, as well as volunteer brigades.
Police in France
You can contact the police in an emergency by calling 17 from any phone.
Upon calling, you’ll be connected to the appropriate emergency police service nearest to your location – be that the Police Nationale, which is responsible for urban areas, or the Gendarmerie Nationale, which covers rural regions.
The Police Nationale conducts criminal enquiries and performs security operations such as traffic control. The Gendarmerie Nationale is operated by the armed forces. It carries out criminal investigations and security activities – for example at airports and military locations.
It’s worth noting down the emergency number for your local French police station, which can be contacted for non-emergency inquiries. Larger cities also often have a secondary municipal police force (la police municipale). The municipal police have relatively limited powers and generally handle local law enforcement, such as dealing with traffic offenses and lost property.
French emergency numbers for accidents and healthcare
In a medical or health-related emergency in France, call 15 from any phone.
The SAMU (Services d’Aide Medicale Urgente) is the national emergency service in France. It deals with serious emergencies, providing ambulances as well as specialist medical teams.
The SAMU boasts around 100 call centers, with each run by a local hospital. Centres are manned by doctors and trained medical staff. The SAMU also operates hundreds of emergency response teams (SMUR – Service Mobile d’Urgence et Reanimation).
When you call, the SAMU will determine the best response for your situation, be that sending an ambulance, sending an on-duty doctor or recommending you visit your own doctor. You can contact an out-of-hours doctor yourself on 116 117.
In a non-emergency situation, you can visit your local hospital’s A&E department (urgences). Not all hospitals have A&E services, so check before travelling.
Another alternative is use the Maisons Medicales de Garde (MMG). The MMG operates an out-of-hours medical service available 24/7. These centers offer support from GP or other medical professionals. Not all areas have an MMG, however.
Mental health services in France
- SOS Help: helpline for English speakers in France offering help with emotional or practical issues. Call 0146 21 46 46 for help, or you can also check out the online advice.
- Counseling in France: website offering directory of English-speaking counsellors and therapists in France.
- Red Cross (Croix Rouge Ecoute): confidential counseling services in French. Call 0800 858 858 or get help online.
Drug and alcohol services in France
- SOS Drug/Alcohol Addiction helpline: 113
- AA Europe: English-speaking meetings available in some parts of France. Find details online.
- AA France (Alcooliques Anonymes): 24-hour helpline as well as meetings across France (in French). Call 08 20 32 68 83 or see the website.
- Alcohol hotline (Écoute Alcool): confidential help in French. Call 0811 91 30 30.
- Narcotics Anonymous (Narcotiques Anonyme): English-speaking meetings are also available in some French cities. You can contact the French language helpline on 01 43 72 12 72 or find out even more online.
French emergency numbers for anti-poison centers
- Angers: 02 41 48 21 21
- Bordeaux: 05 56 96 40 80
- Grenoble: 04 76 76 56 46
- Lille: 08 25 81 28 22
- Lyon: 04 72 11 69 11
- Marseille: 04 91 75 25 25
- Nancy: 03 83 32 36 36
- Reims: 03 26 06 07 08
- Rennes: 02 99 59 22 22
- Rouen: 02 35 88 44 00
- Strasbourg: 03 88 37 37 37
- Toulouse: 05 61 77 74 47
Children, family, and youth services in France
- Child Abuse hotline: call 119
- Abused Women Helpline: 3919
- Red Cross hotline (Croix Rouge Écoute): counseling service (in French). Call 0800 858 858 or go online.
- SOS Missing Children (SOS Enfants Disparus) Call 116 000 or go online.
Crime-related services in France
- Support for victims of terror attacks: advice from the French government.
- Terror/kidnapping hotline: 197
- Rape hotline: 08 00 05 95 95
- Racial discrimination helpline: 114
- Victims of violent crime hotline: 08 10 09 86 09
- Domestic violence helpline: 3919
Utility and telecommunications services in France
There is no national French emergency number for any of the utility services, which generally have urgency hotlines according to the region where you live.
You should make a careful note of the number for your area, which you can generally find on your bill.
In Paris, you can call 01 43 35 40 87 to report a gas leak, or 01 43 35 40 86 to report an electricity outage.
Road and traffic emergencies in France
The best course of action to take in a road accident or emergency is to call a French emergency number.
If you’re involved in a collision, contact the police as soon as possible. If the accident results in any kind of injury (regardless of whether it’s your fault), you’ll need to remain at the scene until the police arrive. After a collision, you should move to a safe place and also put your warning triangle 30 meters behind the car to alert other drivers.
For minor collisions, you should take the name, address and insurance details of the other party, as well as their vehicle registration number. Details of any witnesses may also prove useful in an insurance dispute.
You may be asked to fill out an amiable declaration (constat amiable) if a French car is involved in the accident. This involves a written as well as a graphic description of the accident, which can be used as evidence. If you don’t understand French or disagree with the declaration, do not sign the form.
LGBTQ+ services in France
France is one of the most LGBTQ+ friendly countries in Europe. Same-sex marriage has been legal since 2013. Most support organizations for LGBTQ+ people are based in Paris.
- Federation of LGBT associations (Fédération des Associations & Centres LGBT ): Central contact point for LGBTQ+ people in France, has links to local associations and also provides a news resource for the LGBTQ+ community. Find out more online.
- Le Centre Lesbien, Gay, Bi et Trans, Paris: 01 43 57 21 47 or online.
- SOS Homophobie: Legal counsel for victims of homophobia. Call 01 48 06 42 41 (French-speaking) or go online.
- Travel Gay Europe: Travel guide for LGBTQ+ people in France, available online.
Homelessness services in France
- Information hotline for homeless people: Call 115 / 0800 306 306 or find out even more online.
- Depaul France: French branch of international charity offering support for homeless people. Find out even more online.
Animal services in France
- Society for the Protection of Animals (Société Protectrice des Animaux): animal protection charity founded in 1845. Call 01 43 80 40 66 or go online.
- Hope Association: fundraising organization in south-west France to support rehoming and fostering animals. Find out even more online.
Lost or stolen property in France
If you lose property in France, you’ll need to contact the local lost property office (objets trouves).
In Paris, the main lost-property office is located in rue des Morillons in the 15th arrondissement. It generally collects 190,000 items a year, which are stored in a warehouse.
You can report your lost item online by filling out a form including the details of the object, where you lost it and in what circumstances. If the service finds the object, you’ll need to pay a fee of €11, as well as postage if you want it sent back to you. You can also report a found item online.
If you lose your mobile phone in France, you should call your service provider to block the phone. If you think the phone was stolen, you should also report it to the police, providing your IMEI number.
Lost bank cards
If you lose a bank card in France, you should first ensure it is blocked, so nobody else can make transactions. You can do this by calling the national reporting centre on 08 92 70 57 05.
The emergency phone numbers for major card providers are the following:
- Visa: 08 00 90 11 79
- Mastercard: 08 00 90 13 87
- American Express: 01 47 77 70 00
European-wide emergency numbers
The pan-European emergency number is 112 or 114 (for hearing assistance).
These general numbers can be called free of charge during any emergency from your mobile phone. As it is a Europe-wide number, you can also ask to be connected to an English-speaking operator. Those who are deaf or hard of hearing could also send text messages to 114.
What to do when calling a French emergency number
When calling any French emergency services phone number, it’s important to follow these tips:
- State your name, telephone number, the location where help is needed, the situation, and if it’s still happening, how many people require help, and whether there are weapons or dangerous substances involved.
- Don’t forget the code to your parking lot or apartment building.
- Never hang up until the operator says you can.
- If you have medical problems or regularly take prescription drugs, make sure you know how to say their names in French to the operator.
- If you have children, cite their ages as well as how much they weigh if you need to call an anti-poison center or to administer medication.
- In case you’re dealing with intoxications, make sure to inform them of what was taken and if possible, give them the rest of what was consumed.
Other useful phone numbers in France
Emergency and medical response numbers
- Hepatitis information helpline: 08 00 84 08 00
- AIDS helpline: 08 00 84 08 00
- Cancer helpline: 08 10 81 08 21
- Dental helpline: 01 43 37 51 00
- Psychiatric emergency: 01 45 65 81 08
- Maritime emergency (calling from land): 196
- Maritime emergency (not in land): VHF Channel 16
- Aeronautical emergency: 191
- Find a duty pharmacy: 3237
- Medical advice line (SOS Médecins): 08 20 33 24 24 or online.
Non-medical response numbers
- Directory enquiries: 12
- Call collect: 3006
- Gas leak assistance: 01 40 33 80 60
- Emergency electrical services: 01 43 35 40 86
- Public services hotline (toll number): 39 39
Emergency numbers in Paris
- Emergency doctors (SOS Médicins): 01 43 37 77 77
- Dental emergencies: 01 43 37 51 00
- Out-of-hours chemists: 01 48 74 65 18 / 01 45 62 02 41
- Anti-poison center: 01 40 05 48 48
- Spousal abuse hotline: 01 40 33 80 60
- Taxi Bleus: 01 49 36 10 10
Other helpful resources
The French government has launched a smartphone app to alert users about possible security incidents, including natural, technological, and terrorism risks. The app, SAIP (Système d’alerte et d’information des populations), is available in both English and French and allows users to view alerts for up to eight geographical areas.
Do not be alarmed when you hear a siren every first Wednesday of the month at noon. France’s sirens are tested nationwide with three consecutive blasts of almost two minutes, with five seconds of silence following the noise.
Emergency terms and phrases in France
All members of the family should practice how to give clear instructions when calling a French emergency number. This includes being able to say your name, address, and telephone number in French. You may come across an operator who speaks English but there is no guarantee of this.
If you do not speak French, however, it is best to find a French-speaker whom you can trust.
- Police: La Police Nationale or gendarmerie
- Fire brigade: Les sapeurs pompiers
- Emergency services/ambulance: Service d’Aide Médicale d’Urgence or SAMU
- Poisoning emergency: Urgence d’empoisonnement
- Road emergency services: Services d’urgence routière
- Emergency numbers: Numéros d’urgence
- It’s an emergency: C’est un cas d’urgence.
- My name is…: Je m’apelle…
- My telephone number is…: Mon numéro de téléphone est…
- I live at…: J’habite à…
- Help!: Au secours!
- Ambulance: une ambulance; J’ai besoin d’une ambulance. (I need an ambulance.)
- Heart attack: une crise cardiaque: Mon mari fait une crise cardiaque. (My husband had a heart attack.)
- Stroke: une attaque cérébrale; Je pense que ma femme a souffert une attaque cérébrale. (I think my wife suffered a stroke.)
- Choke: s’étouffer; Mon bébé s’étouffe. (My baby is choking.)
- Difficulty breathing/gasping: haleter or difficulté à respirer; J’ai difficulté à respirer. (I have difficulty breathing.)
- To bleed: saigner; Je saigne beaucoup. (I am bleeding a lot.)
- Hemorrhage: une hémorragie; Mon mari fait une hémorragie. (My husband had a hemorrhage.)
- Concussion: une commotion cérébrale; Mon enfant est tombé. A-t-il une commotion cérébrale? (My child fell. Does he have a concussion?)
- Diabetic: diabétique; Je suis diabétique. J’ai besoin d’insuline. (I need insulin).
- Labour: accouchement/accoucher; Ma femme accouche; la poche des eaux a percé. (My wife is giving birth. Her water has broken.)
- To be poisoned: s’empoisonner; Mon enfant s’est empoisonné. (My child has been poisoned.)