Stay safe during your visit to France
Taking care of yourself
You can consult a general practitioner, a specialist, or a dentist at a hospital or a health center, or go to the emergency service of any hospital, depending upon the severity of your condition.
You can also have a doctor visit you at your hotel. Doctors can be registered with the Department of Health (fees fixed in agreement with the Department of Health) or from a private practice (more expensive). Find out before you make an appointment.
There is always a doctor on call, but please be aware that home visits and consultations on Sundays and public holidays are always more expensive.
To find contact information for medical professionals, ask at the police station or dial 15 (SAMU - medical emergencies).
At the pharmacy
There is an enormous network of pharmacies, and although their hours are generally the same as shops (9:00 am to 7:00 pm/8:00 pm), there is always an on-duty pharmacy open at night, and on Sundays and public holidays. All pharmacies display the address of the nearest on-duty pharmacy.
Obtaining certain medicines requires a prescription issued by a doctor (whom you must have consulted beforehand). Other medicines are freely available and can be bought over the counter. Any pharmacist can give you full details on this subject and will be able to advise you accordingly.
The Pharmacy, marked by a green cross, is usually your best bet in France for fast medical advice and most medicinal needs.
Refund of medical costs
If you are a national of a country belonging to the European Union, you can be refunded for your medical costs upon your return from France. Be sure to take an International Social Security form E111 with you. The simplest way, however, is to take out an all-risks insurance policy before you leave. In case of a problem, your insurer will accept all of your medical expenses.
In case of emergency
SAMU (medical emergencies): 15
Police emergencies: 17
Fire Service emergencies: 18
European emergency line: 112
SOS Médecins (Paris - emergency doctors): 33 (0) 1 47 07 77 77 or 33 (0) 820 332 424
SOS Dentistes (Paris - emergency dentists): 33 (0) 1 43 37 51 00
Poison Control Center (Paris): 33 (0) 1 40 05 48 48
The police, the French legal system
In case of attack or theft, you can report it to:
- The nearest police station or gendarmerie to where the attack was carried out
- The state prosecutor's department of a higher level court [for cases of a serious nature] where the attack was carried out, or of the place of residence of the person who carried out the attack if they can be identified.
Local addresses: See Les Pages Jaunes [Yellow Pages] for the address of the appropriate department.
In case of dispute with a hotel, restaurant, retailer… you must contact the Direction Départementale de la Concurrence, de la Consommation et de la Répression des Fraudes [departmental consumer rights organisation] of the Department where the incident occurred.
In the event of a crime committed by yourself
If you commit an offence you are liable to various sentences in the same way as a French citizen, whether it be a driving offence, travelling without a ticket on public transport, for being under the influence of alcohol on a public highway or for brawling in a café.
If in the event that you wish to take legal action for any reason, the "Ordre des Avocats" [lawyers association] provides free and open consultation to all.