Toolkit: A Doctor’s Appointment

While it is relatively similar to making an appointment with the doctor at home, – you book an appointment, you get examined and then diagnosed by a doctor –, seeing a doctor in France does sometimes seem like a daunting prospect. Here are some essential tips to make your French medical experience stress-free.

Finding a doctor is relatively simple. Simply ask a friend or colleague for a recommendation or look in the Pages Jaunes (Yellow pages), where you can easily find the closest doctor to your house.

How To Book An Appointment?

When you call your doctor you will speak to the secretary to make an appointment. Start by asking ‘Je voudrais prendre un rendez-vous avec le Docteur s’il vous plaît‘ meaning (‘I’d like to book an appointment, please’). Like most, French doctors work on a system of priority therefore you might not be seen for a long time unless you tell the secretary a little bit more about your symptoms (even exaggerate a little if you think it will help!). It is important to note that if you are thinking of booking an appointment for a specialist doctor of any kind (whether it be a dentist or an eye doctor) be prepared to be put on a waiting list that could go up to three months – so make sure you plan ahead!

When you arrive for your appointment, you will most likely have to wait at least fifteen minutes but do try to be on time. You do not have to prepare extra time for filling out forms in the waiting room like you would in the US, as the doctor will take your information when he or she sees you. While being seen you, will be asked to present your carte vitale (insurance card) so make sure you have it with you when you go. If you do not have this card, do not worry, as you will be asked to fill out a feuille de soins (health form and receipt) to submit yourself to the sécurité sociale.

How Much Does It Cost To Go To The Doctor?

You will have to pay the full consultation fee and the bill on the spot. In France a single-payer state sets the rates for all appointments and medical procedures. “Secteur 1″ Doctors charge the standard rates set by the sécurité sociale, which should be around 23€ for a GP, of which 1€ is not reimbursed. It would however be best if you ask for the price when you are booking your appointment.

Medical bills can vary slightly. Watch out for a doctor who is ‘non conventionné‘ or “Secteur 2″, because their rates can be very high, as they are not overseen by any authority.

For more information about this visit This website will give you information about the particular doctors and whether they are Secteur 1 or 2, so you can check the fees of the individual doctor before you go.

Key Vocabulary & Phrases

  • Booking an appointment: ‘Je voudrais prendre un rendez-vous avec le Docteur s’il vous plaît
  • If it is urgent: C’est une urgence, est-ce que vous pourriez me prendre plus tôt ?
  • If it is very urgent: Est-ce que je dois me rendre aux urgences?
  • le généralise (general practitioner)
  • le dentiste (dentist)
  • l’ophtalmologiste (ophthalmologist)
  • le pédiatre (paediatric)
  • le gynécologue (gynaecologist)


Read more very useful Toolkits HERE.