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Cote d'Azur Police

French Police Overview

Cote d'Azur

Any major tourist area attracts thieves and the Cote d'Azur is no exception. Sadly, more and more visitors to the Cote d'Azur are finding themselves the victims of petty crime and with unemployment on the increase this vacation nightmare has become increasingly common.

There are three different branches of the police that you will see outside the major cities. The Police Municipale,Gendamerie and Police National (AKA Commisiariat). The main difference between them is who they are aligned too.The Municipale are aligned to the town and the Gendamerie aligned through the Minister of the Interior and the armed forces,and the National Police another department within the Minister of the Interior. Please do not think the Municipale Police just hand out parking tickets,they are serious gun toting police officers.

Hours open to public

Municipale Police*   Mon-Fri                           8.00/9.00 -12.00/13.00                 14.00-17.00

Gendamerie **         Mon-Sat                          8:00 -12:00                                   14.00-19.00

                                Sun & Holidays                9.00-12.00                                    15.00-19.00

Police Nationale /Commisariat                           24/7

* Plus Lost Property and hours are subject to regional changes,including week ends in some regions

** There is always a permanent presence

You can report a crime to either of these police branches. All crime, no matter how trivial, should be reported. Most, if not all the towns along the Cote d'Azur are increasing police numbers and cameras.Saint Raphael has the largest police numbers per capita, than anywhere else in France and Frejus has recently increased the number of their security cameras. Not to be outdone, during summer in Nice you will see an increase of some 225 police officers across the city. Police even patrol the promenade on Segways! Patrols continue through the early hours until 03.00 and there has been an increase in police presence in the popular Cours Saleya in the Old Town. Needless to say, security cameras are popping up everywhere.

If you are a victim of theft there are 3 things you must do before making a Police Report

1) Cancel your credit and debit cards

2) If your passport has been stolen,contact your embassy/consulate immediately and make an emergency appointment. If possible make an am appointment

3) Re-schedule your airline reservations. It may take either several hours or days to process your passport.

Technically, you are expected to go to the station closest to the scene but you will never be turned away from another station, if for example you would prefer to report the crime closer to your hotel or holiday accommodation. Bi lingual police officers are available at most stations.Obviously in smaller towns language maybe an issue,so you will need to be patient while they organise a translator. Remember that it is vital that you report even the slightest event to enable you to claim on insurance.


You are now able to receive a receipt of your complaint in your original language at any Police Station. This can prove invaluable when dealing with your embassy or a recalcitrant insurance company when you return home. Remember to report even the slightest event to enable you to claim on insurance.

Physical assaults on tourists are thankfully few and far between. Trouble will usually only occur if you struggle with your assailant or have the misfortune to come across a gang of young guys looking for a fight late at night. If you are the victim of an assault, a police officer will provide you with a written document allowing you to get examined at a Medical Emergency Unit. After your examination an official certificate is issued and added to your file. Investigation of the crime can only commence after this protocol has been followed


Like a shark- Keep Moving!

Pick Pockets are Pick Pockets. They will use the same techniques in Nice as they do in Rome,London or Barcelona. One of the best ways of avoiding being targeted is to prepare your day before leaving your hotel. Familiarise yourself with your chosen method of transport, locations and always be aware of those around you. Women need to be careful when accepting drinks from strangers in clubs and bars. Drink spiking is becoming increasingly common.

Like a shark,keep moving. Thieves are looking for people moving slowly because that may indicate they are not familiar with their surroundings. Do not allow yourself to be stopped by a stranger for any reason. They may be bogus charity collectors,or they may ask you to sign a petition. They may jostle you on the pavement or even throw something at you. Do not stop,keep moving. It is not in their interest to follow you along the road. They usually back off the moment you show them you are not interested and unafraid. They worst thing you can do is stop and look frazzled. Play it cool and stroll onwards. If you come across any problems while at the beach, let the life guards know immediately or walk into a beach club if there is one nearby.

My Passport ,my passport, a kingdom for my passport.

You do not need to carry your passport with you at all times. Your passport belongs in the hotel safe behind reception. Do not store your passport or any other essential valuables in your room safe.

Always use the Hotel safe which is usually located behind the front desk.

If you are stopped by a Police Officer, you can show them your drivers license or even your student card. Remember all your details have been taken upon check in and can be confirmed quickly if necessary. Good to know, but honestly, you have zero to no chance of being hassled by a police officer during your stay along the Cote d'Azur

Lost and Found

The French Police have Lost and Found Offices within one of the local Police Minicipale depts ,in most towns where you may go to search for any missing items.I f you can't find what you have lost and it suddenly turns up they will even mail it to you. Don't scoff at the idea, you would be surprised how many people find missing things here. The French are honest types and will often return missing items when found. If you are sure you haven't been robbed, your best bet is to start at the Lost and Found. Remember to call before arriving at the station,a procedure they tend to insist upon

Emergency Telephone Numbers

European Union Emergency* :              112

Police :                                                 17

Pompiers /Fire brigrade                        18

Samu /Ambulance:                               15

*Operators can speak English and 39 other languages

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