For more information on the French medical care system please refer to our chapter on Health insurance.

What's up Doc?

For any health problem, it is advisable to consult a general practitioner, who will subsequently refer you to a specialist, if necessary. It is not possible to go directly to a specialist doctor without a referral from the general practitioner, with the exception of an ophthalmologist, dentist, or gynecologist.

For the best reimbursement, you must declare a primary physician with CPAM, the state health insurer, because not all general practitioners will charge the same tariff, depending on their agreement sector. For example, CPAM reimburses 16,50 € (70% of the conventional rate of 25 €) per consultation with a general practitioner, regardless of their sector 1 or sector 2 agreement. A doctor contracted to sector 1 will apply the conventional tariff (25 €) set by social security. However, a sector 2 doctor will charge a variable fee. Any overrun of fees is therefore not paid by the CPAM, which calculates the reimbursement amount according to the conventional tariff.

It is therefore important to declare a primary physician to the CPAM and refer to the health directory to find a sector 1 physician close to home if you do not wish to pay the fee excess.

In terms of medication...

Medicines are sold in pharmacies and may be either over-the-counter (en vente libre), or by prescription.

Attention: Non-prescription drugs are not reimbursed by social security and prices may vary from one pharmacy to another.

Also, in France, pharmacies are generally not open at night, on Sundays, or public holidays. However, an emergency pharmacy ensures availability at night in each city. On-call pharmacies are open on Sundays and public holidays. For information on on-call pharmacies near your home, you can visit this website or call 3237 at any time.

In case of emergency

SOS Médecins is a network of doctors who make house-calls 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. The reason for the appointment must be described when you telephone 3624 (15 cents per minute), so that the physician can predict the potential supplies for the call-out.

Please note that the consultation fees are higher than for general practitioners, and the social security system does not reimburse the entire call-out fee. It is therefore necessary to make sure you have subscribed to a health mutual so that it can cover a certain amount.

However, in the majority of cases, part of the medical expenses will remain the responsibility of the patient. Check the rates of SOS Médecins.

For any emergency requiring transportation to the hospital, or life-saving intervention, dial “15” so that the SAMU (ambulance service) can intervene, or dial “112”.


Here are the public hospitals in Nice:

Pasteur Hospital - Emergency Service
Adress: 30, Voie Roman - CS 51069
06001 Nice Cedex 1
Bus: Line T28 / 04/20/25
Tramway: T1 Hôpital Pasteur stop

Archet Hospital
Adress: 151, route St Antoine de Ginestière
CS 23079 - 06202 Nice Cedex 3
Bus: Line 22/33

CHU - Lenval Pediatric Hospitals
Address: 57, Avenue de la Californie 
06200 Nice
Tramway: T2 Lanval Hôpital stop ; Bus: Line 9/10/11/12/23 / N4 / 52/59/70/94

More details on Nice hospitals

Antibes Juan-les-Pins Hospital Center

There are also private hospitals, also called clinics (cliniques), but they do not adhere to the agreed Health Insurance rates. As a result, fees can be more onerous and reimbursements will be much less than in public hospitals.