Health & Safety
Your wellbeing and mental health are incredibly important. Living in an unfamiliar culture can be challenging, so please speak up if you are struggling, or you feel that things are not going well. The program team will help with day-to-day queries and point you in the right direction.
The European Emergency Number is 112. You can call this number for any situation that requires fire rescue, an ambulance, or the police. The SAMU (Service d'aide medicale urgente - ambulance) number is 15. Call the SAMU for response to critical health and medical situations, which may include: Urgent medical emergencies, Coma, Hemorrhage, Severe chest pain, respiratory difficulties, extreme burns, intoxication. The French fire brigade, called les sapeurs pompiers, can also be called in cases of medical emergencies, such as traffic and domestic accidents. The number is 18. They work closely with the SAMU and employ professional, health, medical and volunteer brigades. The number for the police is 17. Police stations Every arrondissement has a Police station. All thefts and other forms of aggression must be reported to the Police station closest to where the incident occurred. The Police Station for the 6th arrondissement is located in 12, rue Jean Bart, 75006 Paris, Tél: 01 44 39 71 70.
Paris has a large network of public hospitals. If you must go to an emergency room, find the one nearest you or call 01 42 72 88 88. If you need surgery or a hospital stay, you might prefer to go to the American Hospital in Neuilly, just outside of Paris. The hospital is accredited by both the American Joint Commission and the French Haute autorité de santé, is set up to an American model, accepts American insurance, and charges American-style prices. Tel: 01 46 41 25 25.
Many hospitals in Paris also have a round-the-clock emergency unit. Your American health insurance policy is valid in all French hospitals, but you may have to pay ahead of time and request a reimbursement later.
OTHER EMERGENCY CONTACTS / RESOURCES
Hospital information: 01 40 27 30 00
To find a Pharmacy that is open 24/7, please call: 01 45 62 02 41
If you are too sick to leave your house and need to have a doctor come, you can always call the SOS médecins: 01 47 07 77 77 or 3624
Should you not feel well, your first point of reference may be a pharmacy. Pharmacists are well-trained professionals with considerable medical knowledge. They can advise you on what sort of medicine could be appropriate for your symptoms, and can also refer you to a doctor if your problem appears to warrant it. Most pharmacies are closed on Sundays, but each neighborhood has a pharmacie de garde – usually identified on pharmacy doors or google.
Pharmacies close to Reid Hall
Pharmacie du Dome: 206 Boulevard Raspail, 75014 (8:30 a.m.–8 p.m.)
Pharmacie des arts: 106 Boulevard du Montparnasse, 75014 (9:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m.)
Pharmacie Montparnasse: 3 Rue du Départ, 75014 Paris (9:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m.)
Pharmacie Vavin: 12 rue Vavin, 75006 (9:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.). Note: they do rapid COVID tests on a walk-in basis.
Students can consult with mental health professionals to help them at a moment of crisis or for other personal issues. Consultations are strictly confidential. Payment of first sessions is covered by the student's program. When possible, subsequent sessions are covered by the participating program's insurance. Consultations normally take place at the practitioner's private practice. When appropriate, referrals to psychological or medical services outside of Reid Hall are suggested and facilitated.
Doctors, or GPs, are called “médecins généralistes “ and they most often have their own individual office in the city, not a big GP clinic how you may be used to. A really easy way to find any kind of doctor is via Doctolib, a site where you can find and make appointments (often for the next day or in a couple of days time). The site is in French but easy to navigate. It also specifies whether the Doctor speaks English or any other languages (filtrer par: Langues parlées - Anglais). The price of consulting a doctor depends on the sector. Sector 1 is the cheapest so the key word when looking for a Doctor (whether a GP, gynecologist, ophthalmologist etc) in France is conventionné secteur 1. This means that doctors charge the basic rate which is normally around 25€ (30€ for gynecologists). If the doctors are non conventionné, they can set the prices individually, and basically charge you whatever they want sometimes as much as 90€. However, please be aware that those prices may vary and depend on your specific situation (emergency, treatment etc.). In any case, please call beforehand and ask for the rate.
Recommended Medical Contacts
In the past, students have successfully used the Cabinet Médical located in the 14th arrondissement, 5-15 rue Olivier Noyer, 75014 – phone number: 01 45 40 51 14 (M° Alésia). The Cabinet Médical has several doctors and you can make an appointment while calling them directly, or online.
We also recommend the Centre Médical MGEN. 178 rue de Vaugirard, 75015 Paris. Tél. : 01 44 49 28 28. (M° Volontaires line 12 or Pasteur line 6). The prices are moderate (depending on the doctor and the treatment) and they are also available on weekends. You can even see a general practitioner without an appointment in the mornings but there is usually a long wait. Please call in advance for an appointment or for more information. You will find more details on their homepage.
You can also find a recommended overview of English speaking doctors in Paris on the homepage of the American Embassy.
Commuting at Night
Please be aware that the last metro usually runs at 1:15 a.m. on weekdays. We recommend that you take a taxi or an Uber to your destination, especially if you don't know the neighborhood. Alternatively, you can take a night bus, but they are generally not recommended due to safety concerns. 47 bus lines operate from 12:30 a.m. to 5:30 a.m. Overall, Paris is a safe city and easy to get around but as in every large city, there are neighborhoods that are less safe than others and you must remain aware of your surroundings at all times.
Following several scooter accidents, including former Columbia students, we strongly discourage you to ride e-scooters in Paris, despite their easy usage and accessibility. Should you wish to ride a scooter anyhow, do not use headsets at the same time and WEAR A HELMET, even for short rides. Paris is a more agressive city than you may be used to in terms of driving and traffic. Please be very careful.