A recommendation for a recommendations category?

Happy October! I’ve noticed people here (including myself) have asked for recommendations from how to furnish a house to where to find a good doctor. France is big with many regions and recommendations are of course subjective. Perhaps we could divide France into 4 generalish quadrants say for simplicity’s sake, northwest, northeast, southwest and southeast. So if you found someone you liked whose praises you wanted to sing in your ‘region’, you could post a ‘praise’ for that business or individual. Maybe sounds good on paper and may not work in practice but maybe it could be helpful to all involved? Obviously with a disclaimer ‘your mileage may vary’; SFN and its users take no responsibility blah, blah, blah. Thoughts??


>Maybe sounds good on paper and may not work in practice but maybe it could be helpful to all involved?

As regards HealthCare, France came out first in a ranking made by the World Health Organization (in 2000). Things have changed. A lot. Find the most current ranking here. It is now one of the worst amongst the ranked top-10.

Now, that does not mean it is all bad. It simply means, Be Careful.

Frankly, after a donkey’s age of having lived/worked in France, I can say this:
*Your “local doctor” (if you are sick) will have you undertake a battery of tests. And if you are not sick, s/he will have you take annually a Blood Test, which consists of taking a sample and having it analyzed; with the result returned to your Administering Doctor (AD).
*As regards the AD, and if you have French National Healthcare Insurance, you must select that doctor and report such to the NHS. Not to worry, your selected doctor will be pleased to do that for you.
*Your medical check-up should be at least once annually. In fact, your reimbursements are better if you have declared to the NHS a principal practitioner (AD).
*Your AD will then take it upon themselves to consult with you any treatment that they think might be necessary as a result of the Blood Test. And they will likely suggest local treatment. If serious, however, it is best to go to one of the larger regional hospitals that are reputedly “better qualified for serious illnesses”.
*The Figaro Magazine used to print a study every now and then about the quality of hospitalization by region. (You can imagine how many different types of doctors there are for each specialty illness.) It was FigMag’s opinion that the best surgical care is to be found in Toulouse or Bordeaux, and not in the local hospitals in each region.
*And if you want to look for the best healthcare practitioners nearer to you, start with this page from the Figaro newspaper: Palmarès 2017: les meilleurs hôpitaux sont….
*Now comes the hard part. You must follow the link to the actual listing in LePoint Magazine EXCLUSIF. Les 50 meilleurs hôpitaux de France Unfortunately, one must subscribe to the magazine in order to access the tables.
*So, if really and truly sick, tell your local doctor that you would like the opinion (for any serious illness) from one of the specialists at hospitals in either Toulouse or Bordeaux. And ask your local doctor to find you one in either town if you live in the southeast of France. (If not, ask your doctor for specialists closest to where you live.)

And my best wishes that you may never ever have to go into serious surgery …

Here is my translation of the article in the Figaro Magazine:

"The CHU (Centre Hospitalier Universitaire) at Bordeaux and Toulouse are first and second in the new edition of the “50 best public hospitals” studied for the quality of their medical specialties or surgery physicians.

Then follows the CHU in Lille (3rd, lowered in ranking but ranked highly habitually in the survey), the university hospitals of Strasbourg (4th), the CHU of Tours (5th), the hospital of Pitié-Salpêtrière in Paris (6th), the CHU of Grenoble (7th), the CHU of Nantes (8th), the CHU of Nancy (9th), and the CHU of Rennes (10th).

In order to figure in the final independent classification, an establishment must furnish both medical and surgical services in order to be considered in the 2017 evaluation. The specializing hospitals appear in each specific classifications (cancer, child illnesses, etc.)

For the 8th consecutive year, the private hospital Saint-Grégoire (Rennes) is top of the list of the 50 best clinics in France."

This site is useful… simply fill in the anticipated procedure and a region…

I would not want to be a long way from home, if I can get a good standard by hopping over the border into another department…
and no, I do not have a hernia… this is just an example…:grinning:

and, of course, your Medecin Traitant will be well versed in all of this… and will give you his best advice …

And finally, a bit dated, here is a classification of hospitals by illness: Liste des pathologies - Classement National.

Yes, you must know in French the name of the exact illness/pathology of interest - but the list of alternative hospitals is large …

Tony… the l’Express website is indeed a font of information, isn’t it :heart_eyes:. (even if it is a little dated)… … and, as always, one’s Medecin Traitant will have up-to-date info and give best advice.

HealthCare in France is one of the best on earth. I don’t agree with the results of the study I showed, but felt nonetheless obliged to show it.

Thankfully, I’ve not needed much healthcare, but I have family stateside that have. Given what I hear from them, I’m glad to live in France …

Just one more data-point: Life expectancy and total HealthCare spending (OECD countries).

My point: For twice the per-capita cost of HealthCare in the US, we Yanks are living 3 years less than Europeans.

(Ouppps! … ;^)

From personal experience… recommending can be a bit dodgy. One person’s idea is never the name as another’s…
My recommendation of Doc, Dentist and Ohpto…to my friends…simply led to those favourite Experts closing their books due to over-demand. :relaxed:

I did visit a Hairdresser on the recommendation of a neighbour…although it turned out I went to completely the wrong establishment… never mind…OH was pleased with the result… and I made a new friend. :heart_eyes:

Thank you Tony for taking the time for your very comprehensive response (and also Stella @smw for some of your comments). There is a lot of info you have provided Tony to consider that I’m sure would’ve taken me (or others who are following this) ages to hunt down so I really appreciate you sharing your knowledge. And yes France still has a pretty good reputation for health care all things considered in the grand scheme. À votre santé!

Furthermore, this article describing the process of finding (and/or subscribing-to*) French Doctors: How to find a doctor in France

And finally, this “pdf” from our friends at the US Embassy may help: English Speaking Hospitals and Doctors in the Paris Consular District (Paris, Bordeaux, Lille, Lyon, Rennes, Strasbourg)

It has been “good fun” putting all this info together. Just remember whilst enjoying France - it is far, far better to avoid having to see a doctor …

*Presuming you have access to the French healthcare system.

I was disappointed to find that “l’Express” required a fee to enter the site. The information is public and has been reported in Figaro Magazine (Weekend Edition) in the past where I have seen it.

I was able to find other elements that will help if need be. Your are right to underscore, however, that your Medicin Traintant is key, and the fact that s/he must declare you to the French National Health-Care Service if you want to benefit from the lower costs.

Otherwise, you pay full-cost. If one is rich enough, do as the rich do. They go to the American Hospital up in Paris.

(There is a vigorous polemic going on in France as regards its National HealthCare System - just as there is a polemic going on at any time of day or night regarding any subject that may come to mind … ;^)

Hi Tony… I do not pay to use the L’Express site…or any other…:smile: what on earth were you trying to find, that needed you to pay-up ??? :wink:

Tony… I’m confused by your words… surely in order to have a Medecin Traitant… you must be in the Health Service already… CPAM gave us the form for the Doc of our choice to complete/stamp in agreement to become our Medecin Traitant.

Or have things changed in recent years… ??

I am pleased to read that you did not need to pay. I did not know, because
I did not even try.

So, I suppose it is free and anybody can access it … ?


In that case I don’t understand why you wrote that you were disappointed to discover that a fee was required to enter the site.

In fact, doctors (Medecin Traitant) can refuse to belong to the France’s National Health System (NHS). This gives them the freedom to ask any price they want for their services. Most facial surgery is conducted in this manner.

And, even if they are indeed authorized to accept NHS-customers who will be reimbursed by the government, they remain independent even if their fees are stipulated by the NHS. Their offices, for instance, are their own.

If you are a foreigner and are not covered by the NHS, you’d best have private HC-insurance.

Some private-clinics accept NHS-patients at the fees stipulated by the NHS. But there are also “other services” they perform that may not reimbursed by the NHS. And to complicate matters even further, some fees you may pay in an NHS hospital are either not or only partially reimbursable. If you have the courage to (and the Frenc) to approach that matter, see here: Ces frais de santé non-remboursables qui restent à votre charge

But there is additional private “top-up” HC-insurance (from “Mutuels”) that are tariffed at a reasonable monthly fee to which you can subscribe. This Mutalised Insurance covers a good number of fees that the NHS does not cover. For instance, a single room instead of a double, triple or quadruple room in some hospitals.

In France, as well, some hospitals are totally run by the NHS and the doctors are indeed paid by the NHS. But, that need not necessarily be the case for, say, your personal doctor - though you are reimbursed for their service-costs (which are a fee-fixed by the NHS).

In some European countries, medical costs are assumed by the NHS and the “help” (doctors, nurses, etc. ;^) are paid salaries in hospitals owned and run by the NHS. In France, your local MD can be private and patients are reimbursed their fees by the NHS. (The NHS is therefore the de facto “Insurance Company”.)

PS: This subject is just as complex as most others in France. Any “system” run by the French government is extremely complex to understand in terms of how to approach it and whatever fees they charge, or even where you might find them. Even the French are sick-'n-tired of what is tantamount to a “silly game” …

Because this study had been conducted any number of times and published in the Sunday Supplement of Figaro Magazine.

I did not understand why L’Express was charging entry.

In fact, I’ll bet that the magazine was threatened by a court-case for “selling” information that had been already available in the public domain. (Which is fraudulent.)

They therefore then made the site entry-free; but to spite whoever threatened them, they did not say in print that it’s access was without charge.

Hi Tony… I think we are at cross-purposes.

When we joined CPAM we were handed a form to give to whichever local General Practitioner we declared as our Medecin Traitant “Family Doctor”. Nothing to do with specialist stuff like facial surgery.

Thus our Medecin Traitant Déclaré is the one we go to for all day-to-day needs… and anything else that raises its head… and he treats us if appropriate… or arranges Specialist Treatment/Investigation etc elsewhere… as may be necessary.


Yes, well, mine had the “form” on his computer; he filled it in with the pertinent information, printed it, and I signed it. He sent it in.

For those just arriving, know that Medical Insurance starts with what is called the “Carte Vitale”, which must be obtained from French national health-insurance organization called CPAM, the explanation of which can be found here in French. (Sorry!)

The Carte Vitale is explained here. (Sorry again, but I cannot translate everything. It takes too much time.)

Presuming you have a Carte Vitale, you then select your treating doctor; for which you might ask around suggestions of which one is “best”. Then, ask that your doctor subscribe you to the local Assurance Maladie. Each region in France has its own web-site. Once you go on the site, and if you have Assurance Maladie, you will be asked for your postal code and your site will be set accordingly - that is, according to the region in which you live. (No, don’t ask me why.)

As is evident from the above, the doctor will ask you for your “Carte Vitale”, as will any laboratory that provides various analyses (like x-rays, or a eurologist, etc.) that s/he requires for preliminary examinations.

Presuming that one has not even got to that point, I suggest they start here: Guide to health insurance in France. To obtain French healthcare insurance, you must prove that you are officially a resident in France.

Don’t forget, for all preliminary examinations, the Assurance Maladie in France does NOT reimburse you 100%. And only for a broad range of surgery (or other medical care) will they reimburse you. Which is why there is private “top-up” medical insurance that costs around 100/200€ a month (depending upon the length and breadth of coverage you want) - whether you use it or not.

If interested in top-up insurance one need only google “Assurance santé maladie privée”. and a large selection of private-insurance will be available.

If you want to subscribe to the Assurance Maladie, you go to the site, where will be asked for your “code postal”. (For example, Toulouse is 31000) . Of course, you need the Carte Vitale with which you give when paying your selected doctor for services-rendered. Your doctor takes your payment and you are reimbursed directly into your bank account. (My doctor told me recently that the CPAM was “thinking” about allowing members to make payments by Credit Card. Will wonders never cease?!? ;^)

There are also private insurance companies that offer “international insurance” of the same kind, that is, “top-up”. If you do a lot of business-travel, that one is perhaps essential.

I suggest that if one is from a family where the parents had significant medical problems, that they subscribe to "Ameli ". Illnesses are not necessarily hereditary, but when they are it is best to have the top-up insurance.

The above is the way I see the present situation of HealthCare Insurance in France. Any corrections or other suggestions are more than welcome …

Tony… I’m not sue this link is for everyone, as it takes us to the page for those on modest means…and tells what financial aide is available… etc…

Personally, I find this link is more informative…