Staying safe in Villefranche
When I first picked up an edition of the local monthly magazine, I was pleasantly surprised by the front-page article. It wasn't your usual "Turmoil in Paradise", "3 people dead after massive fire", or "Yellow-Vest protesters blah blah blah".
It read (in French): "Villefranche paints a new pedestrian crossing and improves safety for children coming from school". If that's the main news event of the city in the past month, I think it paints you a clear picture of just how safe and quiet Villefranche is.
Villefranche sur Mer is patrolled by municipal police day in and day out, and you’ll see them during the night and day looking out for suspicious activity. Unfortunately (or fortunately) for them, the most serious crimes they usually encounter are illegal fishing or drunk tourists.
The classic tourist-based crimes such as scamming and pickpocketing are unheard of in Villefranche. If you lose something or you believe something to be stolen, it’s most likely been picked up by accident by someone else; check back to where you last remember having it or look for it at the local police station.
Nonetheless, it’s always worth keeping an eye out and following some common-sense tips.
Tips to stay safe
- Keep your belongings within sight at all times
- When possible, opt to pay by card rather than carrying large amounts of cash
- Some places may require a minimum expenditure for card payments
- When at the beach and going for a swim, put your valuables out of sight – like under a towel
- Be sure to lock your car when leaving it at the parking
- Lock your house/apartment when you leave
These are tips that you should use anywhere you go, be it to Villefranche or back at home. Villefranche doesn't require you to do anything differently for safety, and you can comfortably loosen up here without worry.
Watch out for...
There's a few things to definitely look out for that also regard your safety:
- See our guide on swimming in the bay
- Falling into things
- Parts of Villefranche don't have guardrails or other safety equipment
- If you're not the best of swimmers, do note that you should stay as close to the beach as possible. There are areas where the seabed suddenly drops and can catch you by surprise
As with most destinations, common sense will go a long way in keeping you safe and healthy!
If you are in immediate danger
If in doubt, call 112.
Otherwise, use one of the specific numbers to reach the right emergency services faster:
- 18: Fire brigade (Sapeurs Pompiers) but they also deal with medical emergencies and should be the first call in life-threatening situations
- 15: Samu (for other urgent medical call-outs)
- 17: Police / Gendarmes
- 112: Universal European Emergency Services number
- 114: Emergency calls with hearing assist
- 115: Emergency Shelter
- 119: Reporting child abuse
- 196: Sea and lake rescue
- 197: Terror/kidnapping hotline
- 01 40 05 48 48: Anti-poison centre
- 09 726 750 06: Gas & electricity emergencies