Safety in Paris

For such a large city, Paris is very safe. But as you would in any city, it’s best to be aware and follow common sense to keep yourself safe. Here are some simple tips for staying safe in the city.

 

Pickpocketing and Safety

Tips to avoid pickpocketing:
  • Keep with you only what you need and avoid bringing extra credit cards or excess amounts of cash while you’re out. Make a photocopy of your passport/visa instead of carrying it with you.
  • Pay attention to your belongings while on the metro. Keep bags under your arm or wear the strap across your body. Put your hand on the zipper. Do not leave wallets, phones, or money in your back pocket. Keep a careful eye on your belongings in crowed stations or trains.
  • Don’t leave phones, iPods, or wallets outside your bag if you’re sitting at a café. Keep your personal items inside a closed bag and keep it close to you. Beware that iPhones are the most commonly stolen item!

Also make sure to check out these recommendations from the US Embassy to avoid pickpocketing in Paris.

 

Tips to stay safe at night:
  • Stay with friends. While walking around any big city, it’s always better to be with a friend than to be alone.
  • Take a taxi home. Don’t be afraid to pay the money for a taxi to get you home. Plan to keep extra money with you that you won’t spend during your night out. G7 taxis are required to take cards, even if they are sometimes reluctant. Feel free to hold a conversation with the taxi driver, but don’t give out any personal information. It can be a good idea to call a friend and let them know where you are and inform them once you arrive home. Make sure when you step into a taxi that the "TAXI PARISIEN" sign is on the roof. There are fake taxis that roam around nightclubs and bars at night. There are phone numbers for taxis on the back of your AUP student ID card. Keep these numbers in your phone!
  • Pay attention to your surroundings. Don’t be afraid when walking through the city, but as with any metropolis it’s best to stay in well-lit areas (lights are on along the Seine all night). Cross the street to avoid anyone you feel can be a possible threat. Avoid lonely streets; take more crowded streets even if it makes your walk a little longer.
  • Be careful while crossing streets. Even though the green light for crossing is on, still check that no cars are rushing down the street. Parisian drivers are renowned for driving fast and not respecting traffic laws. Plus, buses and taxis run in opposite direction on some streets.

 

Aggression/harassment
  • Paris is a big city and may have a very different culture than the one you are used to at home. For Americans, it’s common to smile or say hello to a passerby on the street, but in Paris this is not the case.

  • Be aware that a simple look or acceptance of a drink often means accepting an invitation for more than conversation.

  • If someone approaches you, remember to be firm but polite. Being rude can often lead to trouble.

  • If someone is harassing you verbally or physically do not be afraid to be forceful in your speech. Even if you don’t speak French, you can get your point across by saying ‘NO’ or speaking in any language you are most comfortable.

 

What to do if you are a victim of a crime:
  • File a police report. Do not wait to contact the police. If you don’t feel comfortable speaking French, ask someone who does to come with you. The US Embassy also offers recommendations for you if any personal items are lost.

  • Cancel all credit cards. Contact your local bank and tell them you lost your card. Phone numbers can be found on their website or with AUP Student Development banking information.

  • Call your phone company. You have a maximum of 48 hours to inform your phone company (Bouygues, SFR, Orange…) in case of theft or loss. If you don’t call them in this period of time, the insurance will not repay you if any credit has been used by the thief. Call: 1064 for Bouygues, 1023 for SFR, 3970 for Orange.

  • Ask for help. Robbery or harassment can be a traumatic experience. If you need to talk with someone, do not hesitate to ask. If you’re not sure what to do in your particular case, Student Development is open to help you. You can also leave a message on the AUP switchboard 24/7 (dial 600).

  • Seek medical attention. The Hotel Dieu hospital is the place of choice you should go to, in case of rape or aggression. They have physicians specialized in these types of assaults, who can make sure you have all the legal reports for a future prosecution of the attacker, as well as providing you with the necessary medical attention.

If you have any questions or concerns, or feel like discussing the matter, please come see our trained counselors in the Student Development Office.

 

Contacting Emergency Services

In an emergency, the French police can be reached by dialing 17. The fire brigade can be reached at 18. The samu ambulance at 15.

 

The closest police station to the University:

9, rue Fabert 75007 Paris
Tel. +33 (0)1 44 18 69 07
Metro: Invalides
UMIP-Unite de proximite: +33 (0)1 53 73 90 65

 

In case of fire or flooding:

Pompier (firemen): 18

Caserne Malar (closest fire station): +33 (0)1 47 05 41 99

Emergency number in all of Europe: 112

 

In case of sickness or accident:

SAMU (ambulance): 15

Poison control center (24/7): +33 (0)1 40 05 41 99

Always remember, Paris is a safe city. Just use your common sense, behave responsibly, and don't hesitate to be in touch with Student Development if you have any questions or concerns!