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Your safety in France

What you need to know about safety in France

France is a rather safe place, provided that you respect a few basic rules. Here are a few tips to avoid danger in France and to know what to do in case of a problem.

A few tips to avoid danger in France… and everywhere else

  • In the streets or in the subway, never leave your bags or valuables (purse, camera) unattended.
  • Remain alert in airports, public transportation, tourist areas, restaurants and cafés, as these places may attract pickpockets.
  • In the subway, if you need to use devices such as smartphones or tablets, it is highly recommended to remain discreet.

In public places like train stations and in the subway

  • Do not forget to tag your luggage (with full address and contact details).
  • Never leave your bags or valuables unattended.
  • Remain alert and should you detect a deliberately abandoned or a suspicious package, report it to a member of the working staff.
  • Should the police forces subject you to an identity check, be cooperative.

What to do in the event of theft in France?

Dial 17 to reach the nearest police station.

If your credit card is lost or stolen

  • Immediately report your missing credit card to your bank as soon as you notice the card is missing. You will find the phone number on the Internet or on any ATM. You can also dial 0 892 705 705 from a landline, a public or mobile phone 24/7 (€0.34/min). Keep your card information in a safe place as you will have to give your 16-digit number and your card expiry date.
  • Report the loss of your credit card at the nearest police station ("commissariat de police").

If your residence permit is lost or stolen

  • Report your missing residence permit to a police station. You will receive a receipt acknowledging your declaration of the reported theft.
  • Go to your Préfecture or sous-préfecture to ask for a duplicate of your residence permit. Do not forget to bring your receipt acknowledging your declaration.
    Keep in mind that the issue of a duplicate is charged €16. This fee must be paid in tax stamps.

What should I do if I am assaulted?

Should you be a victim of assault you can report the assault either by lodging a formal complaint or by simply by calling any police station (your declaration will be registered in the police log book), regardless of your city of residence and of the place where the assault occurred.

The police log book ("main courante")
It is used to report facts without instituting criminal proceedings. The declaration is registered and the perpetrator will be summoned if necessary. You will receive a receipt acknowledging your declaration and stating the place, date and time of declaration and your registration number.

The complaint ("plainte")
In a lawsuit, a complaint is the document filed by a person or entity claiming legal rights against another. Only the victim of the offence, his/her legal representative and his/her dependents are entitled to lodge a complaint. Should the victim be a minor, his/her parents or guardian can lodge a complaint on his/her behalf. However, the minor can still contact the police to tell them about the assault.

In France, the police forces are composed of two divisions:

  • The "Gendarmerie nationale" refers to a branch of the French armed forces which is in charge of public safety and has police duties among the civilian population.
  • The "Police" refers to the French national police.