Finding a doctor

Choosing a Doctor as your primary care physician

Finding a doctor in Paris isn't difficult, and it is strongly recommended you do so before you become sick. It's best to have options ready and available at home, in the event that you're ill. The easiest thing to do is to go to any pharmacy in your neighborhood near where you live, or near Sciences Po, if you prefer. Ask the pharmacist for a list of 3 or 4 doctors in the neighborhood.

Another useful step to take before you get sick is to download and have readily available a printed copy of the application form to select your Médecin Traitant (PDF, 228 Ko).  Save this form along with the list of doctors in a safe place should you become sick one day.

You should see the same doctor (your médecin traitant) every time you need to see a doctor in order to receive the maximum reimbursement.  If you wish to change your médecin traitant at any time, you may do so by following the same procedure. In case of absence of your médecin traitant, you will be referred to your doctor's médecin référant. You will still be reimbursed at the normal full rate in this case.

If and when you get sick, contact one of these doctors and ask them 3 questions:

  • Are they available for an appointment the same day or the next day?
  • Are they willing to become your médecin traitant?
  • What do they charge per visit?

You can often see a doctor the same day or the next day. If you're extremely ill, doctors are often known to make arrangements to see you the same day, even if their schedule is full. If not, try calling one of the other doctors, and in an emergency, please go directly to a hospital. For urgent cases, please call one of the emergency phone numbers here.

A médecin traitant is your primary care physician, or generalist doctor. For insurance reasons it is very important that you choose a médecin traitant. If you have properly indicated your médecin traitant to your insurance provider, you can receive up to 70% of your medical expenses reimbursed; if not, you'll only be reimbursed for up to 30% of these charges. Those who have purchased the complementary insurance (mutuelle) can receive up to 100% of medical fees reimbursed.

Normal doctors visits in France cost 23€ and specialist doctors, dentists, psychologists, gynecologists, etc. generally charge more than 23€. Doctors do have the right to charge more than this, but insurance companies may also not reimburse the full amount for any fees above the standard 23€. For this reason, you would most likely be interested in paying 23€. Verify the exact price before you go for an appointment. Upon treatment, the doctor should give you a receipt for payment (if not, ask for one), perhaps a prescription form, as well as a brown form called a "feuille de soin".  This is partially filled out by the doctor, partially by you, and is necessary later for reimbursement.

For a complete schedule of fees, detailing the base of reimbursement for each type of medical treatment/visit, please refer to the website of the Sécurité Sociale.

Pharmacies in France

Prescription medication in France is generally inexpensive and pharmacies are located all over the city, marked by a very obvious flashing green sign in the shape of a cross.  One suggested pharmacy near Sciences Po's campus with competitive prices is the CityPharma, located at 26 rue du Four.

When you purchase prescription medication from a pharmacist, they will also give you a brown form, called a "feuille de soin", to be filled out by both you and the pharmacist.  It should also be noted that on the box of any medication is a small sitcker (vignette), that must be peeled off and fixed to the feuille de soin.  As with the one from the doctor, this is sent in to your health insurance provider for reimbursement.

The Sciences Po Infirmary

The Paris campus houses an Infirmary that is open to students. It includes an infirmary and quiet room and offers general medicine and psychological assistance.

The campuses outside of Paris don't have a health centre, but the administrative staff are happy to advise you about accessing health services.

Hospitals in France

In an emergency, or if you can't reach a doctor in the evenings for example, you should of course go to hospital, which normally should be covered by your insurance policy.  Be sure to check their website for details of reimbursement for emergency room visits.

Click here for a list of hospitals with English-speaking staffs (PDF, 404 Ko).