Prevention tips

What can I do in case of assault or theft?

I may request assistance from the police or gendarmerie by calling 17 or 112. I can go to the nearest police or gendarmerie station to file a complaint.

How do I protect against cell phone theft?

I avoid putting my cell phone in an outside pocket or lending it to a stranger. If I am robbed, I inform the police or gendarmerie as soon as possible by calling 17 or 112.

In addition, I immediately contact my cell phone provider to have my phone line blocked. If I subscribe to a French telephone company, I must then communicate my phone’s unique ID number (IMEI) when filing a complaint in order to prevent unauthorized use of the phone.

How do I protect against pickpockets?

I prefer a small bag or a fanny pack to a backpack and I do not expose my personal belongings in plain view. If I am robbed, I inform the police or gendarmerie as soon as possible by calling 17 or 112.

How to protect my means of payment?

I carry as little cash with me as possible while not leaving my wallet in a back pocket or in plain sight. I try not to handle money in public or exchange currency on the street. It is best to use exchange offices.

How do I file a complaint?

I can file a complaint in a police or gendarmerie station. If I do not speak French, agents can receive my complaint and give me a receipt in my language.

What emergency numbers are available?

  • police and gendarmerie: 17
  • emergency number: 112
  • fire services: 18
  • EMS (medical emergencies- SAMU): 15

On the road

Alcohol: The blood alcohol level must be less than 0.5 g/l of blood, i.e. 0.25 mg/l of breath. (So I do not drink more than two drinks as usually served in bars and cafes).

Speed: I must adjust my speed to the limits indicated on roadside signs and the circumstances (location, climate, traffic conditions, road conditions, etc.).

I must respect safety distances and increase vigilance at night. Finally, I regulate my speed by frequently consulting the speedometer in my car.

In France, the speed limit is:

  • 50 km/h in urban areas
  • 90 km/h in rural areas
  • 130 km/h on expressways.

Fatigue: I must drive without fatigue following my normal sleep habits. During the trip, I take frequent breaks (every two hours) and I do not hesitate to take a break and rest at the first sign of fatigue (back pain, heavy eyelids, yawning, inattention, etc.).

Mandatory equipment: All vehicles must be equipped with a reflective safety vest and an emergency warning triangle. If you do not have these devices in the vehicle, you will be liable to a fine of €135.

A breathalyzer is also required in each vehicle as of July 1st, 2012 (only NF stamped breathalyzers are valid). Not having one is punishable by a fixed fine of €11.

Sanctions: In case of violation, you are subject to a fine and, if appropriate, a temporary prohibition against driving on French territory. Criminal penalties are also provided depending on the seriousness of the offense. Non-resident drivers who commit offenses in France and do not pay their fines may have their vehicle blocked and, where appropriate, impounded, until such amounts are paid.

For more information (in French):