top of page

Hospitals in France

Updated: Sep 17, 2022

Everything you need to know about going to a hospital in France for a checkup, emergency care, or specialist care is included here.

Aside from having one of Europe's most easily accessible healthcare systems, France also has some of the best hospitals and clinics in the world, which is great news for any foreigners thinking of making a permanent move there. About 1,400 hospitals of various types (public, private, non-profit, and for-profit) may be found there. Healthcare in France is free for both residents and foreign workers. However, as a non-native speaker, you should be aware of the requirements for visiting a French hospital, whether you are a permanent resident or a tourist.

This page covers the steps to take if you need to go to a hospital in France, including the different kinds of hospitals, how much they cost, and what to do in an emergency.

Cigna Global

If you want quick and simple access to the top French physicians and experts, go no further. Get in touch with the healthcare professionals at Cigna Global to choose the best plan for you and your loved ones. The Cigna medical network includes primary care physicians, specialists, and surgeons. Cigna will help you relax in your new home by covering any medical expenses that may arise.

COVID-19 in France

Everyone has had a tough time during the COVID-19 epidemic. Some of the hardest things about being an expat is being far away from loved ones back home. Finding accurate data on the prevalence of coronavirus infections, local precautions and limits, and, happily, immunizations, might be challenging for a foreign visitor.

Visit the official website for Coronavirus (COVID-19) for up-to-date information about coronaviruses in France, including vaccination recommendations and related limitations.

Read our COVID-19 in France guide for more specifics on how this epidemic is affecting the country.

Hospitals in France

In French, a hospital may be referred to as either a hôpital or a centre hospitalier. They are an interconnected system of government-run facilities, for-profit clinics, and independent practitioners. There is the option of a private clinic being run for a charitable purpose or profit. The for-profit clinics may specialise in certain fields of medicine, but their prices can be much higher than the state-owned clinics, which are subject to fewer restrictions.

Hospital Hotel-Dieu in Paris

Even while private clinics do not have to adhere to the same standards as public hospitals, some of them are state-approved and provide services via the national health service. Because of this, your doctor (médecin traitant) may recommend either a public hospital or a private provider, depending on the nature of your medical care. The French healthcare system includes residential homes for "vulnerable" aged or handicapped persons.

Discover how to register with a doctor in France

In contrast to most other nations, patients in France are free to see specialists without first consulting with their primary care physician.

Although not all hospitals in Paris and the surrounding area have emergency services, the AP-HP (Assistance Publique des Hôpitaux Parisiens) provides the vast majority of Paris's and the region's emergency treatment. Instead of looking for the top hospitals in Paris or France, you should probably make sure the hospital or clinic you are considering gives the care you need. French hospitals not only treat patients, but are also responsible for medical education, scientific study, and urgent care.

Hospitals with English-speaking staff

The French healthcare system is not as well equipped to deal with international patients as the healthcare system in Paris. Although some medical professionals may be able to have a rudimentary discussion in French, it is probably advisable to bring along someone proficient in the language.

If you want to feel more comfortable at French medical facilities, this might be a wonderful incentive to learn French. Notably, if you are unable to obtain a translator and need to see a doctor in Paris, you may inquire at the embassy of your nation or area. Zava is an alternative online health platform that facilitates communication between patients and doctors.

You may find English-speaking medical staff at the following facilities in or around Paris:

Insitut Hospitalier Franco-Britannique (IHFB)

Hôpital Foch

Adolphe de Rothschild Foundation Hospital

American Hospital of Paris

How to access hospital treatment in France

The French social security system ensures that all residents, regardless of age, wealth, or social standing, have access to quality medical care in a hospital setting. France has a universal healthcare system, but it is not free. In reality, citizens and legal permanent residents of France are obligated by law to pay into the health care system via payroll deductions to social security. Co-payment is the term for this arrangement.

The combination of high taxes and a comparatively large share of GDP allocated to mandated healthcare has led to this unique system. As a result of government subsidies, 70% of medical expenses and 80% of hospital expenditures (or 100% in the event of a catastrophic illness) are covered by the French healthcare system, while the remaining 30% are covered by the patient or the patient's supplemental private health insurance.

The new PUMA healthcare system for expats

And what about those who are not American? However, beginning in 2016, any foreign citizens living in France for at least three months are eligible to enrol in the country's universal health care programme, known as Protection Universelle Maladie (PUMA). On the other hand, PUMA does have certain prerequisites. An individual seeking French citizenship, for instance, must not only have been in the nation for at least three months but also demonstrate an intention to maintain a "stable and regular" residence there for at least six months of the year. It is recommended to get individual insurance policies until the insurance plan is in place.

Several foreign health insurance providers catering to expats are present in France, and that is a good thing.


April International

Cigna Global

Globality Health

A carte Vitale is required to use France's public healthcare system (health insurance card). The card has a microchip that verifies insurance coverage and stores all the administrative data required by medical staff in the event of an emergency. You must provide information about your medical care, including your doctor's name and any information about workplace injuries or illnesses. The card Vitale is issued by the local Caisse Primaire d'Assurance Maladie, where you may also apply for a social security number (CPAM).

La carte Vitale (health insurance card)

Make sure your residence, employment, and doctor information on your card Vitale are all up to date and accurate. Automatic information nodes called bornes allow cardholders to make any necessary changes to their identification documents. These may be found in any of France's many pharmacies or hospitals.

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

Foreign nationals who establish permanent residence in France are entitled to both the card Vitale and the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). It allows individuals to get low- or no-cost medical care in any EU nation during their travels there.

Whether they are French residents or tourists, EU persons with a valid EHIC card from their home country are always welcome to utilise it to get access to the French healthcare system. However, non-EU travellers seeking a French visa may be asked to provide evidence of medical insurance.

As was previously noted, a recommendation from your doctor is not required to get therapy. However, the reimbursement rate tends to be reduced if you do not see a doctor, thus doing so might result in greater out-of-pocket costs. However, this does not apply to visits to specialists like paediatricians, gynaecologists, eye doctors, or to emergency cases.

Preparing for Doctor's Visits

Making and keeping a healthcare appointment in France requires some planning beforehand. Make an appointment at a Cabinet Médical when you need medical care by calling the clinic beforehand. You should realise that obtaining a same-day appointment is very difficult unless you know the right people. But hang in there because chances are you will get an appointment within a few days of making the call.

If you do not need to see a doctor immediately, but would still want to schedule an appointment, you may do so quickly and easily using the online service Doctolib. Specialization and language(s) spoken are both searchable options here.

You will need to provide your carte Vitale, EHIC, or other insurance documentation upon admission to the hospital. You will also need to provide a copy of the notification verifying your eligibility for state health care to public hospitals.

A "feuilille de soins" form must be filled out in the absence of a "carte Vitale." The medical bills and associated information are detailed here. After that, submit it to your health insurance company to be paid back.

Emergency treatment in France

In France, you will need to bring your card Vitale (or another form of medical insurance and identification) with you if you end yourself in the emergency room. However, under French law, no hospital may turn away an emergency patient because of the inability to pay. In the event of an emergency, a reference from your doctor is not required either. The ER is the place to go if anything serious happens (les urgences).

Most emergency care in French hospitals, including those in Paris, is paid for by the French government. However, it is customary to settle any outstanding sums in full from the outset. When you are released from a French hospital, the personnel will provide you with a feuille de soins detailing the care you received and, if necessary, an ordonnance (prescription). You will need both receipts when filing your refund claim, so keep them safe. Importantly, the government will compensate you for any costs you incur.

Within France, phone 15 to reach the Service d'Aide Médical d'Urgence, the emergency medical service (SAMU). There are over a hundred SAMU call centres in the nation, all of which are affiliated with different medical facilities. There are physicians and medics on call at each SAMU centre who may dispatch help, arrange transportation to the hospital, or provide over-the-phone medical advice. Because there is no government-run ambulance service, patients must rely on either private ambulance companies or the fire and rescue department. Fortunately, social security will cover such expenses so you will not have to worry about them.

The emergency department staff may also want to see your EHIC if you are an EU citizen who has ended up there.

Ultimately, these are the most important emergency numbers to dial:

For all emergencies: call 112 (or 114 for hearing assistance)

To call an ambulance: dial 15 (SAMU)

For the police: dial 17

To contact the fire brigade: dial 18

Hospital stays in France: what to expect

Hospital stays may be stressful, but if you have private health insurance in France, you will have access to a variety of amenities designed to make your stay more bearable.

Those who have French health insurance (Couverture Maladie Universelle, or CMU-C) may have up to 70% of their hospital bills covered, but room and board are not included. But in this case, your private health insurance in France or your supplemental insurance will pay for everything. If you have private health insurance, you may also ask for a private room and enjoy more space and solitude throughout your stay.

Healthcare in the United States is not the best in the world, but those on the social security system may at least depend on basic cleanliness and the use of public restrooms throughout their hospital stay.

Hospital costs in France

Hospitalization expenses in France are covered by a national health insurance programme.

You will need to provide your health insurance card once you have been admitted to a French hospital (carte Vitale). There is a chance the hospital may additionally want proof of eligibility for public healthcare (attestation). If you have private health insurance, a European Health Insurance Card, or a CMU-Complémentaire (CMU-C) for individuals with low income, bring evidence of coverage (EHIC).

Some hospitals impose additional costs that are not covered by the French social security system, therefore it is important to compare the hospital's rates with the amounts you will be paid. In addition, certain medical facilities are not "conventionné," which means that they do not follow the national agreement between doctors and the national healthcare system. To identify a facility and its costs, you may look it up on L'Annuaire Santé's website.

Depending on the circumstances, Caisse may pay for all or most of your medical care. When admitted, no initial payment is required from patients who hold either an EHIC or a temporary replacement certificate.

Fixed hospital costs

While certain exceptions may occur, hospitalisation will result in just two flat fees. The first is the daily payment of €20 called the forfait journalier hospitalier, which covers several services and helps cover the overall cost of your stay. If you need to be hospitalised for at least 24 hours, the cost covers everything from your room and board to your meals and the cost of keeping you warm. If you decide to pay out of pocket, you may file a claim for reimbursement to the local health insurance fund (caisse d'assurance maladie) in the region where you were hospitalised by presenting your bulletin de sortie (evidence of hospitalisation which you will obtain upon release).

Secondly, if you obtain medical care that costs more than €120 (as of 2020), you will be responsible for paying the participation forfaitaire, fee of €24. The fee is assessed when the entire cost of a single medical service, or a series of medical acts performed during the same session, exceeds €120. Each admittance is subject to the fee only once.

Depending on the details of your policy, a private or voluntary health insurance plan may be able to cover these expenses. The two forfait charges are fully reimbursable for specific patients and treatments.

Examples of treatment-based exonerations include the following:

● X-rays or scans

● Certain laboratory tests

● Emergency transport to the hospital

● Long-term hospital care (over 31 days)

And the following groups receive exoneration:

● Long-term/major illness (ALD)

● Treatment for sterility

● Pregnant women (last three months)

● Mothers of newly born children (first 30 days)

● Recipients of invalidity benefits/pensions

● Suffering from work-related illness/accident

● Recipients of complémentaire santé solidaire sans participation financière

● Residents of Alsace-Moselle

Emergency costs

The healthcare system will foot the bill for transportation expenses in the event of an emergency. If your primary care physician or specialist agrees, you may be able to get the money back for your trip to the hospital even if it was not an emergency. In the United Kingdom, the baseline rate of reimbursement for transportation (personal car, taxi, public transport) is 65% under the national insurance programme, with the remainder reimbursable from your optional insurance policy.

Hospitalization at home (hospitalisation à domicile) is another option, either after a stay in the hospital or arranged independently with the help of a doctor or consultant. All of your medical expenses will be covered just as they would be for an inpatient stay.

Private health insurance is an alternative to public health insurance if you either do not qualify for public health insurance or want more extensive medical coverage. Numerous international medical insurance providers serve the French market, and we have already listed some of them:



April International

BUPA International

Cigna Global

Globality Health

Being discharged from hospitals in France

The hospital's administrative office will issue you a "bon de sortie" upon your release (discharge authorization). A fresh sick leave certificate may be provided by a hospital doctor or a primary care physician.

When you are released from a French hospital, you will be handed a feuille de soins that details the care you received and, if necessary, an ordonnance (prescription). Both receipts and receipt slips are required for reimbursement, so keep them safe. Any costs incurred will be reimbursed by the government at a later time.

Paying a French hospital a visit

It is only under limited circumstances and with an appointment that you may visit hospitalised patients in France until the COVID-19 epidemic is under control. Furthermore, only persons with a valid health pass may visit hospitals, except those with a medical emergency, in line with the new regulation regulating the handling of the COVID-19 situation in France. When entering the hospital, you will be asked to show your pass, either on the TousAntiCovid mobile app or a written paper copy.

The top French medical facilities

The top hospitals in Paris and the rest of France may be found via the following means:

Listed below are the top 50 hospitals in the nation, including public and private, according to Le Point's 2021 rankings.

The top 100 hospitals in France, according to the Ranking Web of World Hospitals.

According to Le Point, the top three hospitals in France are the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire (CHU) in Toulouse, the University Hospital of Bordeaux, and the University Hospital of Lille. In 2020, the same three private hospitals will be at the top of the list. First place goes to the Polyclinic Reims-Bezannes, which is also the largest private hospital in France. The second place goes to the Santé Atlantique practice in Saint-Herblain, which is located near Nantes, and the third place goes to the Saint-Grégoire private hospital, which is located in the vicinity of Rennes.

List of hospitals in France

Hospitals in Paris

Bichat Claude-Bernard: 46 Rue Henri-Huchard, 75018 Paris

Americain de Paris: 63 Boulevard Victor Hugo, 92200 Neuilly-sur-Seine

Hôpital Hôtel-Dieu: 1 Place du Parvis de Notre-Dame, 75004 Paris

Hôpital de la Pitié-Salpetrière: 47-83 Boulevard de l’Hôpital, 75013 Paris

Necker-Enfants Malades: 149 Rue de Sèvres, 75015 Paris

Européen Georges-Pompidou: 20 Rue Leblanc, 75015 Paris

Cochin: 27 Rue du Faubourg Saint Jacques, 75014 Paris

Saint-Louis: 1 Avenue Claude Vellefaux, 75010 Paris

Saint-Antoine: 184 Rue du Fauborg Saint-Antoine, 75012 Paris

Lariboisière: 2 Rue Ambroise Paré, 75475 Paris

Tenon: 4 Rue de la Chine, Paris, 75020 Paris

Armand Trousseau: 26 Avenue du Dr Arnold Netter, 75012 Paris

Hospitals in Lyon

Edouard Herriot: 5 Place d’Arsonval, 69003 Lyon

Center Léon Bérard: 28 Prom. Léa et Napoléon Bullukian, 69008 Lyon

Hospital Center Saint Joseph-Saint Luc: 20 Quai Claude Bernard, 69007 Lyon

Louis Pradel: 28 Avenue du Doyen Jean Lépine, 69500 Bron

Hôpital de la Croix-Rousse: 103 Grande Rue de la Croix-Rousse, 69004 Lyon

Renée Sabran: Boulevard Edouard Herriot, 83406 Giens-Hyères

Henry Gabrielle: 20 Route de Vourles 69230, Saint Genis Laval

Pierre Wertheimer: 59 Boulevard Pinel 69500 Bron

Hospitals in Nice

Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Nice (A&E):

Pasteur: 30 Voie Romaine, 06000 Nice

St Roch: 5 Rue Pierre Devoluy, 06000 Nice

Hopital de Cimiez: 4 Avenue Reine Victoria, 06000 Nice

Lenval (children’s hospital): 57 Avenue de la Californie, 06200 Nice

Clinique Parc Imperial (private A&E): 28 Boulevard du Tzarewitch, 06000 Nice

Clinique Saint George (private): 2 Avenue de Rimiez, 06100 Nice

Hospitals in Marseille

Sainte Marguerite: 270 Boulevard de Sainte-Marguerite, 13009 Marseille

Hôpital de la Timone: 264 Rue St Pierre, 13005 Marseille

Saint Joseph: 26 Boulevard de Louvain, 13000 Marseille

Private Hospital Clairval: 317 Boulevard du Redon, 13009 Maseille

Hospital Nord: Chemin des Bourrely, 13015 Marseille

Hôpital Europeen: 6 Rue Desiree Clary, 13003 Marseille

Hôpital de la Conception: 147 Boulevard Baille, 13005 Marseille

Hospitals in Toulouse

Group Hospitalier Rangueil: 1 Avenue de Professeur Jean Poulhès, 31403 Toulouse

Hôpital la Grave: 7 Place Lange, 31059 Toulouse

Hôpital des Enfants: Place Lange, 31059 Toulouse

Joseph Ducuing: 15 Rue Varsovie, 31300 Toulouse

Hôpital Purpan: Place du Docteur Baylac, 31059 Toulouse

Paule de Viguier: 330 Avenue de Grande-Bretagne, 31300 Toulouse

Hospitals in Bordeaux

Hospitalier Pellegrin: Place Amélie Raba Léon, 33076 Bordeaux

Charles Perrens: 121 Rue de la Bechade, 33076 Bordeaux

Saint-André: 1 Rue Jean Burguet, 33000 Bordeaux

Hospitals in Cannes

Hopital de Cannes/Centre Hospitalier de Cannes: 15 Avenue des Broussailles, 06414 Cannes

Polyclinique Oxford (Private Hospital Cannes Oxford): 33 Boulevard d’Oxford, 06400 Cannes (private A&E)

Hospitals in Lille

Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Lille (CHU): 2 Avenue Oscar Lambret, 59000 Lille

Hôpital Roger Salengro: Rue Emile Laine, 59037 Lille, France

Hôpital Saint-Vincent de Paul: Boulevard de Belfort, 59000 Lille, France

Hospitals in Strasbourg

Nouvel Hôpital Civil: 1 Place l’Hôpital, 67000 Strasbourg

Hôpital de Hautepierre: 1 Avenue Molière, 67100 Strasbourg

Hospitals in Rennes

Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Rennes: 2 Rue Henri le Guilloux, 35000 Rennes

Hôpital Sud: 16 Boulevard de Bulgarie, 35200 Rennes

Hospitals in Montpellier

Saint Eloi: 80 Avenue Augustin Fliche, 34090 Montpellier

Arnaud-de-Villeneuve: 191 Avenue Doyen Gaston Giraud, 34295 Montpellier

Hospitals in St Tropez

Hopital St Tropez/Centre Hospitalier de Saint-Tropez: Rd559, 83580 Gassin

Useful resources

● The Connexion – the 10 best hospitals in France, as ranked by a respected research

● Newsweek - The 2019 edition of the annual ranking of the greatest medical facilities throughout the globe (French category)

● Expatica – includes the most recent COVID-19 data, materials, and help



bottom of page