Enjoy Paris safely
A guide for tourists
The "Enjoy Paris safely" guide has been specially designed for foreign tourists visiting the capital. It contains some basic advice on how to avoid being the victim of these crimes and what to do if you need to make a complaint.
Available in French, English, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Spanish and Russian, it can be accessed and downloaded online.
Welcoming visitors: a priority
For several years, the Préfecture de Police has been developing a comprehensive system for welcoming tourists.
The Paris police has public contact points all over the capital. These include the 20 central district police stations which are open 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, for receiving victims and providing help and assistance.
Foreign visitors can also have access to bilingual police officers. Bilingual officers are either placed on reception at the stations or patrol the streets. During summer they wear badges with a flag that shows which language(s) they speak. They can answer both simple requests for information (directions, location of tourist sites etc.) and more sensitive questions concerning thefts or attacks. They therefore offer valuable help to tourists who do not speak French.
When a complaint is made, police officers can use the S.A.V.E. software (Foreign Victims Assistance System), available in 16 languages, to report complaints from foreign tourists and give them a receipt in their native language, which simplifies future procedures they may need to take with their embassy or in their own country.
To avoid being a victim of crime, follow these tips
Be vigilant in the street
- preferably carry a small shoulder bag or a pouch-style backpack;
- carry as little cash as possible;
- do not put your wallet in your back pocket;
- if someone tries to grab your bag, do not resist in case you are injured;
- do not trust people who try to distract your attention to steal your belongings, particularly on café terraces, when you are withdrawing money from a cash machine or when signing petitions.
Good to know : some fraudsters impersonate police officers and may ask you for your papers and your money. A real police officer will never ask you for money. Ask to see their white plastic "tricolor" card marked "Police" in the centre, which has a blue, white and red stripe across it, and contains information on the back and front.
- do not leave your bags unattended;
- never let anyone go through the ticket barriers right behind you;
- never buy tickets from anyone in the street, as they will make you pay more (up to 10 times the normal price). Use the ticket offices and ticket machines in the stations.
Good to know : never go with someone who offers you transport services at airports or in the street: they could be an "unauthorised" taxi driver, an offence which is illegal under the French Employment Code. These vehicles are not equipped with the statutory items required for Parisian taxis.
Be vigilant in public places
- do not handle cash in public and never change currency in the street; use a Bureau de change;
- pay for purchases in small banknotes, by bank card or cheque (if accepted in France of course);
- never leave your payment cards or money in cloakrooms or in your coat left on a chair (in a restaurant or café for example), a pickpocket could easily sit behind you and rob your belongings;
- never put your bag at your feet and do not leave your mobile telephone or wallet on a café or restaurant table;
- do not put your telephone in an external pocket of your bag or clothes, do not lend it to someone you don't know;
- in restaurants and bars, don't hesitate to ask to see the food and drinks menus, so that you don't get a surprise when the bill comes.
Protect your vehicle against theft
lock the doors and boot (trunk), and make sure all the windows are closed;
do not leave valuable items on show (mobile telephone, camera, clothes, bag etc.).
Loss or theft of your identity papers
- consider photocopying all your identity papers (passport etc.) and keeping them at your hotel or place of temporary residence;
- if you lose them, contact the consulate, and if they are stolen, report this to the police as well.
In concert venues and cabarets
Avoid certain Parisian cabarets, particularly in the Pigalle district, where the staff try to solicit customers in the street. Once inside, female company will be forced on you and you will be made to buy drinks at very high prices. Providing information to customers on drinks and services is compulsory. Instead choose large institutions which do not approach customers in the street, and clearly display their prices inside and outside.
What to do if you are the victim of a theft or attack
If you are the victim of an attack :
- try to run away, making as much noise as possible (shouting);
- take refuge in the nearest shop and call the police;
- give a description of your attacker : gender, possible age, cut and colour of hair, height and size, clothes, distinctive marks (beard, scar, tattoo, glasses etc.);
- State which way the attacker went, and by what means of transport. For a vehicle, specify the colour, make and if possible the registration plate (even part of it).
If you are physically attacked, the officer will also give you a written document so that you can be examined at the Legal-Medical Emergencies department (open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) :
1, place du Parvis Notre-Dame
Metro Cité (line 4), RER B St-Michel - Notre-Dame
Tel.: +33 (0)1 42 34 82 85/29
An official certificate will be issued and added to your file. An investigation will be opened to find the person or persons who committed the offence.
If you are the victim of a theft
Go to the nearest police station to make a complaint.
- If you are attacked, try to run away, making as much noise as possible (shouting);
- take refuge in the nearest shop and call the police;
- give a description of your attacker:
- gender, possible age, cut and colour of hair, height and size, clothes, distinctive marks (beard, scar, tattoo, glasses etc.);
- State which way the attacker went, and by what means of transport. For a vehicle, specify the colour, make and if possible the registration plate (even part of it). The police officers will take you to the nearest station to report your complaint. If you do not speak French, the officers will use the multiple language S.A.V.E. software to issue a receipt in your own language.
If you are physically attacked, the officer will also give you a written document so that you can be examined at the Legal-Medical Emergencies department (1, place du Parvis Notre-Dame, 75004 Paris - M4 Cité, RER B, St-Michel - Notre-Dame - +33 (0)1 42 34 82 85/29 - open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week). An official certificate will be issued and added to your file.
An investigation will be opened to find the person or persons who committed the offence.
- If you are the victim of a theft, go to the nearest police station to make a complaint. The addresses and opening times of the stations are given on the opposite page.
Paris Victim Support
Provides support for victims of attacks and theft, informs them of their rights and the procedures to carry out, directs them to professionals (doctors, lawyers etc.) and offers psychological support.
Specific assistance for tourists.
South Paris office, by appointment only
Tel. +33 (0)1 45 88 18 00
Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm
12-14 rue Charles Fourier - 75013 Paris
Metro line 7: Tolbiac or Place d’Italie
North Paris office, by appointment only
Tel: +33 (0)1 53 06 83 50
Monday to Friday from 9.30am to 5.30pm
22 rue Jacques Kellner
Metro line 13: Porte de Saint-Ouen
- RATP: for getting around Paris and the surrounding area simply and safely, look at the RATP website for tourists .
- Paris Airports: for all flights departing from or arriving at a Paris airport, consult the Paris Airports website in the relevant translated language .
Emergency numbers :
- police: 17
- European emergency number: 112
- fire service: 18
- ambulance: 15
- lost or stolen credit cards: 0 892 705 705 - 7 days a week (€0.34/min)
- American Express: 01 47 77 72 00
- Diner’s Club: 0 810 31 41 59
- lost or stolen chequebook: 0 892 68 32 08 - 7 days a week (€0.337/min)
Lost or stolen mobile telephone :
- Orange: 0 825 00 57 00
- SFR: 06 10 00 19 00
- Bouygues Télécom: 0 800 29 10 00
Lost property service
36, Rue des morillons - 75015 Paris
0 821 00 25 25 (€0.12/min)
Monday to Thursday from 8.30am to 5pm
Fridays from 8.30am to 4.30pm
The service is open Monday to Friday without interruption, except for public holidays.
Single taxi number : +33 (0)1 45 30 30 30
Parc des Princes
Avenue du Parc des Princes - 75016 Paris
Metro line 8: Porte de Saint-Cloud
PC Bus 22-62-72: Porte de Saint-Cloud
Metro line 10: Porte d’Auteuil
PC Bus 52: Porte d’Auteuil
Stade de France
360, avenue du Président Wilson - 93200 Saint-Denis
Metro line 13: Saint-Denis/Porte de Paris
RER D: Stade de France/Saint-Denis
RER B: La Plaine/Stade de France
N.B. : make sure you buy your tickets from official resellers. Be careful with black market tickets: you might end up with very expensive counterfeit tickets !
Central tourist office
25, rue des Pyramides - 75001 Paris
Metro line 14 and 7: Pyramides line 1: Tuileries
Other information points: Gare de Lyon, Gare du Nord, Paris expo, Gare de l’Est, Anvers.
Website: www.parisinfo.com - Tel.: 0 892 68 30 00 (€0.34/min.)
- To find out the contact details and locations of embassies , please look at the "Embassies" section
- To find out the contact details and locations of police stations in Paris and the inner suburbs , please look at the "Police stations" section