We all hope to avoid emergencies when we are travelling but unfortunately they still occur!

There are various phone numbers reserved for emergencies in France that are worth remembering 'just in case'!

The main emergency telephone numbers to be used in France

  • 15 : ambulance and doctor
  • 17 : police / gendarmes
  • 18 : pompiers (fire brigade)
  • 112 : European general emergency phone number
  • 115 : for homeless people
  • 119 : maltreated children

Note that 18, for pompiers, is used for a wide range of problems - not just fires.

For example during the recent storm emergency it was pompiers who came out to make emergency repairs to damaged roofs. If you call the pompiers with a medical urgency they will put you through to the correct department.

So if you can only remember one emergency number for your visit - make it 18 or 112 if you are travelling around Europe.

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France generally has an excellent emergency service, but in rural areas these are often manned by volunteers and may take a while to reach you if you are in a very remote location.

The emergency staff are sometimes summoned to action, as with our local town, by a loud siren that sounds from the town centre across the surrounding region - so don't be startled if you suddenly hear a deafening 'air raid siren' as you stroll around a picturesque medieval village!


Sometimes an emergenc might affect you and prevent you calling the emergency services (eg if you are run over by a car!) so remember to add a phone number to your mobile phone called ICE (In Case if Emergency).

In theory at least the emergency services will check to see if there is a phone number under ICE listed under 'favourites' on your mobile so they know who to call.