Emergencies

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Emergencies

France's emergency services are conveniently streamlined. Every town and village has a médecin de garde (on-duty doctor) for flus, sprains, tetanus shots, and similar problems. Larger cities also have a remarkable house-call service called SOS Médecins (01–47–07–77–77); for dental emergencies, contact SOS Dentistes (01–43–37–51–00). The cost is minimal, compared to the United States—about €65 for a house call. If you need an X-ray or emergency treatment, call an ambulance (15). The easiest number to remember in case of emergency is 112, the European equivalent of 911; the call is free from any land line or cell phone.

Most hotels will be able to help you find assistance in the event of a health crisis. Note that outside Paris it may be difficult to locate English-speaking doctors.

You may be able to get a list of ones—along with info on nearby hospitals, private clinics, and medical centers—from a pharmacy. Bear in mind that pharmacists themselves are authorized to administer first aid and recommend over-the-counter drugs, and hence can be very helpful when health problems are minor. Pharmacies de garde are designated dispensaries that remain open overnight, on Sunday and holidays, or 24/7. These rotate, but a list of locations is posted at the entrance of every pharmacy; you can also find one by calling 3915 (€0.34/min), though the operator may not speak English.

On the street the French phrases that may be needed in an emergency are: Au secours! (Help!), urgence (emergency), samu (ambulance), pompiers (firefighters), préfecture de police (police station), médecin (doctor), and hôpital (hospital).

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