Emergency Phone Numbers and Helplines

Originally posted on & updated on 31st January, 2024

In a case of an emergency, here are the main telephone numbers to use if you live in France or you are holidaying there, even from your mobile/cell phone. First make sure that it is safe to call, if unsure if it’s a medical emergency, and depending on condition perhaps check with a local pharmacie/chemist. They are trained for many urgent situations, including first aid, poisoning ...

It’s important that you are prepared and able to indicate your exact location. Many people use the what3words app, an easy and efficient way to say and share accurate location details, with a unique combination of three words.

You will need to briefly explain the nature of the emergency, if possible in French. If you don’t have a French speaker amongst you quickly rehearse what you need to share with the service des urgences, start with your name, ‘je m’appelle” and your age, “j’ai .... ans”. Try to stay calm and speak clearly to the operator, ask them if they speak English, many do. “Parlez vous Anglais”. For example if you have time, use an translation tool or app. on your mobile to prepare the text, before you call.

Main Emergency Numbers in France

From a landline or public phone free call:

  • Police/Gendarmerie - dial 13 (from a French phone or landline)
  • Medical Emergencies/Samu - dial 15 (from a French phone or landline)
  • Fire services/Pompiers - dial 18 (from a French phone or landline)

NOTE, the above emergency numbers are for serious medical emergencies and accidents only

DIAL 112 for the whole of the EU and Europe - English-speaking service

Pan-European for all emergencies in the EU, you can dial 112 from your mobile phone.
112 is a free emergency number that can be dialled from any landline or mobile phone.
Operators are English speakers who will connect you to the appropriate local services.
Do not call 911, this will not work in France (and in most European countries).

Other Emergency & Helplines

Call the following services from a French landline or public phone :

  • To find a duty pharmacy in your local area dial 3237
  • For the Medical advice line (SOS Médecins) dial 08 20 33 24 24
  • For dental emergencies call SOS dentists on 01 43 37 51 00 (Paris)
  • For the Child Abuse visit their website and to call the hotline dial 119
  • For the Abused Women Helpline dial 3919
  • For the Red Cross hotline (La Croix Rouge) dial 0800 858 858
  • For the SPA - animal protection, equivalent to RSPCA dial 01 43 80 40 66

Credit Cards Problems

  • To report a lost or stolen Visa Card dial 08 00 90 11 79
  • To report a lost or stolen Mastercard dial 08 00 90 13 87
  • To report a lost or stolen Amex card dial 01 47 77 72 00

Gaz & Electricity Emergencies

  • For EDF emergencies dial 01 43 35 40 86
  • EDF Customer service is 0333 200 5100
  • GDF - Emergency contact for gas leaks/problems
  • Dial 0800 473 333  or  01 40 33 80 60
  • If calling GDF from aboard, you can talk a French assistant on +33 4 72 74 56 89

British & US Embassies in France

Traffic, Breakdown & Customs

Motorway breakdown service - call from the emergency phone on the motorway, usually an orange box, they’re easy to spot. Breakdown service is available round the clock throughout the French motorway network. Before driving in France we recommend you check the driving rules in France, that your motor insurance cover for your car is adequate and also invest in French driving kit with a red emergency road side triangle.

There are many websites to help plan your journey while driving in France, the most popular ones are Google Maps and the handy Bison Futé which informs you of peak traffic times during busy weekends and holidays. If you’re planning a trip to look at properties, take a look at our Planning your Viewing Trip page on our buying guide.

French customs information - wether you travel to France for leisure or business, you should learn about the formalities to check before you go.

We’ve aimed to be as thorough as possible but don’t hesitate to share any suggestion you think may be useful to travellers and business people going to France or already living there. And you should consider health insurance and/or travel insurance before you leave, especially if travelling with a young family or relatives with medical history.

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