If you need to see a doctor, your hotel or nearby pharmacy should be able to direct you to a generalist in the neighborhood. The fee to see a doctor is generally €20-€40. Any medications are paid separately at the pharmacy.
If you are too ill to go to a doctor’s office or it’s the middle of the night, you can have a doctor come to you by calling SOS Médecins (Tel 01 47 07 77 77), but this costs more (€75, last time I had food poisoning, including medicine). For dental emergencies call SOS Dentistes (Tel 01 43 37 51 00).
Not Insured? It’s not necessary to have insurance to see French doctors, but you will have to pay the full bill on the spot. They usually only take cash, sometimes credit card. Keep the receipts if your health care provider at home covers treatment abroad.
A Typical Visit to the Doctor Office
Most French doctors have a private practice rather than a clinic. Their offices are inside residential apartments; usually a sign outside says which floor the doctor is on (you may have to buzz to get in). Often there is a waiting room, but there may be no office assistant, so just let yourself in and wait until the doctor comes out of his examining room.
The doctor’s desk and examining table are in the same room. There are no paper robes or curtains to change behind, even at the gynecologist’s (Europeans don’t have issues with nudity in front of health professionals). Any x-rays, blood tests, or scans are done at neighborhood clinics (always separate from doctor’s offices) with your prescription. Medications are only filled at pharmacies.
If you need urgent care, you can go to any hospital emergency room in Paris such as the Hôpital Hôtel Dieu (next to Notre Dame Cathedral, Rue de la Cité, M° Cité, 4th, Tel 01 42 34 82 32).
There are two private hospitals in the suburbs with fully bilingual staff (although the prices are much higher than public hospitals):
63 Boulevard Victor Hugo, Neuillly-sur-Seine
Tel 01 46 41 25 25
3 Rue Barbès, Levallois-Perret
Tel 01 46 39 22 09
Links for Other Hospitals
- SOS Médecins (doctors) 01 47 07 77 77
- SOS Dentaire (dentists) 01 43 37 51 00
- SOS burns (Hôpital Cochin ) 01 58 41 41 41
- Drug Info Service 0 800 23 13 13
- AIDS/HIV Info Service 0 800 840 800
- Poison treatment center 01 40 05 48 48
- Sexually-transmitted diseases 01 40 78 26 00
Some Important Vocabulary
Night Pharmacy/Doctor pharmacie/médecin de garde
Emergency Room Urgences
It hurts here. Ca fait mal ici.
Allergic to allergique à
Sting (or insect bite) piqûre
Sunburn coup de soleil
Diarrhea/Constipation diarrhée /constipation
Headache mal à la tête
Sore throat mal à la gorge
Cough (dry) toux (sec)
Runny nose nez qui coule
Motion sickness mal de la route
Head cold rhume de cerveau
Upset stomach maux de ventre
Heart attack crise cardiaque
Tooth ache mal aux dents
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