Violent crime is relatively rare in France, especially in broad daylight in well-populated areas. However, as in most countries, pettry crime such as bag snatching and phone theft are widespread, especially in "risk areas" such as airports, train stations, in the metro and busy shopping centres. To limit these risks, we advise you to exercise caution and follow some basic safety rules:

  • Don't carry around large amounts of cash (in France you can pay for almost anything with a bank card)
  • Never leave your bags and other luggage unattended
  • Make several copies of your ID card/passport and your credit cards. In case of theft, this will make it easier to cancel you bank card and make a declaration of theft to the police.
  • While at a restaurant or bar (particularly if you're at an outside table), never leave your cell phone, wallet, laptop, or anything valuable on the table.  You would be a very easy target for a passing theif who knows where to quickly hide with your valuable item.
  • Particularly at night, avoid attracting attention to your mobile phone (on the metro or in the street).  Today's expensive smart phones are an easy and attractive target for theives.  Keep in mind that ear phones, particularly the classic white ear buds, are a clear signal to a potential theif that you have something worth stealing.
  • Ask friends to see you home or take a taxi if you have to return home late at night.
  • Don't accept a first meeting in an isolated place with a stranger you have met over the internet.
  • Watch out for people who stop you in the street asking you to sign a petition (often while pretendingt to be deaf), to watch a show or bet on a card game or otherwise, or who approach you in a panic.  These are very common strategies to distract you and steal from you.  These criminals sometimes act alone, or often are groups of several young teenagers, hoping to overwhelm you and make an easy profit.

If you are robbed or otherwise a victim of petty crime, you should go to a police station (commissariat de police) to make a declaration, which you can then use for insurance claims etc., such as for a stolen mobile phone.

The nearest commissariat to Sciences Po is very close to campus, at the corner of rue Saint-Guillaume and rue Perronet: Commissariat de Police, 10 rue Perronet, 75007 Paris - Tél : 01 45 49 67 70.

In Case of Emergency

  • 15 is for the SAMU (ambulance/paramedic service)
  • 17 is for the Police
  • 18 is for the neareast fire station, which also administers first aid

Sexual harassment

If you are a victim of, or a witness to, sexual harassment or assault, you can contact Sciences Po's dedicated Hotline: +33 1 45 49 54 00, write to, or consult Sciences Po's Guidelines To Dealing With Sexual Harassment (PDF, 603 Ko).

Road rules

Alcohol and driving never mix. Alcohol is the cause of a majority of road accidents, and is becoming the main cause of death among young people, with nearly three victims per day.

In France the legal blood alcohol limit is 0.5 g per litre of blood (tested through a blood analysis) and 0.25mg (tested by breathalyser), the equivalent of two glasses of wine.

Above this limit, you are putting your life and that of others at risk and also risking heavy penalties ranging from fines of between 135 and 150 000€ and ten years' imprisonment if your drink-driving causes the death of another road user.

To verify your blood alcohol level, ask for one of the breath tests offered at student parties.

From 1 July 2012, all drivers must carry in their vehicles (except those with two or three wheel not larger than 50cm3) an unused and unexpired breathalyser test that can be used immediately.

Key-expression: celui ou celle qui boit ne conduit pas.

In France the law of 3 February 2003 states a maximum penalty of two years in prison and a 4 500€ fine for anyone driving under the influence of substances or plants classified as narcotics, if the presence of the product has been confirmed by a blood test.

For more information on organising a responsible party without putting yourself at risk (in French).