112, 15, 17: Do you know the emergency numbers to use in France?

There list the many different numbers and situations of when they should be called

Several emergency numbers exist. Do you know the right one to call depending on the situation?

If you are involved in an emergency in France, the quickest way to find help is usually via telephone.

This is particularly the case for medical issues, as well as for serious problems in your house (such as a gas leak). 

Below, we look at a list of key telephone numbers it is useful to have on hand. 

Emergency numbers 

112: Universal European Emergency Services number

112 is the most important emergency number to know. Whilst you can directly call for an ambulance, police, or sapeurs-pompiers (see below), this number is a Europe-wide assistance line. 

The number works from all phones – including mobiles – across the EU, and will have English-speaking respondents. 

The helper will connect you to the appropriate local service. 

This is also the number to call if you are involved in a skiing or mountain accident.

18: Emergencies

This is the number for the fire brigade, however the sapeurs-pompiers also act as first responders in medical emergencies. 

15: Samu (ambulance service)

17: Police / Gendarmes

114: Emergency number for the hard of hearing

People with hearing difficulties can text this number to access emergency services. Exchanges take place via SMS (text). 

115: Emergency Shelter

119: Child abuse report number

196: Sea and lake rescue

197: Terror/kidnapping hotline

3020: School bullying report number

3919: Domestic abuse/domestic violence report number

01 40 05 48 48: Anti-poison centre

09 726 750 + your department number e.g. 24 for the Dordogne): Gas & electricity emergencies

Note that many services for gas, water, and electricity emergencies have local numbers relating to your department or region. 

You should find the ones applicable to your location using an online search, and then write them down somewhere you can easily find them.

3237: (0.35/min) Out of hours GP and pharmacy information (also available on www.3237.fr)

Many out of hours services for non-emergency medical services (doctors, dentists, etc) are also localised. 

You should also look for these in your department/region.

09 77 40 30 77: France’s pet database

In most cases, if you find an animal in distress you are asked to contact the local police or gendarmerie (on a non-emergency number) or a local animal shelter. National services will unlikely be able to help. 

However, if the animal is tame, and you think it may belong to someone, you can call the I-CAD pet database to see. Only common pets (cats, dogs, ferrets) are included. 


If your car breaks down on the French motorway – and is not involved in an accident – you need to follow a series of steps, outlined below. 

Read more: What is the procedure if my car breaks down on a French motorway?

In this instance, you should use either the orange telephones dotted along the motorway (as the article above explains) or signal for assistance using the smartphone application of the motorway operator. 

Most of these companies do not have an emergency contact number, as you are expected to use the orange phones. 

If you breakdown on a smaller road, you should call your breakdown cover provider. 

This will either be your insurance company, if you live in France, or a company you took out special insurance with if you are travelling.

They will organise a local breakdown service to come and repair your car/pick you up. 

If you have international breakdown insurance with a provider outside of France, you should contact them through the number they provide/through their smartphone app (if they have one). 

Read more: Telecom firms, utilities: which offer English language services in France?

Embassies and consulates 

01 44 51 31 00: British Embassy (Paris)

05 57 22 21 10: British consulate in Bordeaux

04 91 15 72 10: British consulate in Marseille

+ 44 300 222 0000: UK passport helpline

01 44 17 67 00: Irish Embassy (in Paris)

01 43 12 22 22: US Embassy (in Paris)

01 44 43 29 00: Canadian Embassy (in Paris)

01 40 59 33 00: Australian Embassy (in Paris)

01 45 01 43 43: New Zealand Embassy (in Paris)

01 53 59 24 10: South African Embassy (in Paris)

Read more: Tax, visas: Is there an English version of official French websites?