|Medical emergency/accidents/ambulance||SAMU (Service d'Aide Médicale d'Urgence)
- a coordinated service to call in any case of serious
|Police||This number puts you in contact with the
appropriate emergency police services nearest you, which
may be the police nationale or the gendarmerie.
|Fire Brigade||Sapeurs pompiers - ring them for first
aid in medical emergencies, such as traffic and domestic
|Europe-wide emergencies||This is the pan-European emergency number which can be called in the case of any emergency from your mobile phone. You will then be redirected to the appropriate emergency service.||
The SAMU is the national, publicly-run emergency service which deals with serious cases. It provides both ambulances and specialist medical teams.
The national police force in France is divided between the Police Nationale and the gendarmerie. In practice, the Police Nationale is reponsible for urban areas while the gendarmerie covers the rural regions (though this is an over simplification). From wherever you call the emergency number for the police you will be directed to the appropriate service. It is advisable to also note down the eight-digit number for your local police or gendarmerie. In large towns there is also a secondary police force, which has limited powers, called la police municipale, and which is managed by the local town hall. For non-urgent problems, make a note of the direct eight-digit phone number for your nearest police station (commissariat de police or gendarmerie).
The French fire brigade is trained and equipped to deal with medical emergencies. They provide an ambulance service using specially equipped vans. It is often the fire brigade who are called first to deal with accidents such as road injuries and domestic incidents. In many areas, especially rural regions like the Languedoc, they will be the first to the scene. They coordinate with other emergency services and will, if necessary, call in the specialised SAMU emergency medical service.
Dialling Emergency Numbers in FranceWhen calling an emergency service, be ready to give your name, address, telephone number and the reason for your call.
Never hang up until you are asked to do so.
Emergency telephone lines in France are answered in French. While you may by chance come across an operator who speaks English, there is no guarantee that an English speaker will be available. It is a good idea to make sure you know in advance how to give clear indications in French of your personal details, starting with your name, address and telephone number.
Other Useful Telephone NumbersAnti-poison centres Lyon: 04 72 11, 69 11, Marseille: 04 91 75 25 25, Toulouse: 05 61 49 33 33
SOS children in distress: 119 and 0800 05 41 41
SOS homeless in distress: 115 and 0800 306 306
Drug addiction helpline: 0800 23 13 13
Hepatitis information line: 0800 845 800
AIDS helpline: 0800 840 800
Red Cross: 0800 858 858
English-language SOS Helpline for people in psychological distress. (This is not an emergency services number): 01 46 21 46 46
Lost or Stolen Credit Cards or Cheque Books
- Visa: 0836 69 08 80
- Eurocard MasterCard: 0800 90 13 87
- Diners Club: 0810 314 159
- American Express: 01 47 77 72 00
- Stolen/lost French chequebook: 0836 68 32 08