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Five things they don’t tell you about… French attitudes to healthcare

We take a sideways look at how healthcare is viewed in France - which may be a little different to your native country

‘You never go to ‘the doctor’, you consult 'mon médecin' or 'généraliste' or 'mon toubib' for colds and coughs’ Pic: Phovoir / Shutterstock

1. Le problème

Bragging about ongoing minor health issues, such as a fragile nose, heavy legs, or a tendency to feel dizzy when hungry, gets you more kudos than stoically suffering in silence. 

Get extra Brownie points if your doctors have warned you not to sneeze too hard in case you break your coccyx (someone really did tell me this!). Je te jure!

2. Le docteur

Medical bragging extends to implying you have an entire team of medics at your disposal. 

You never go to ‘the doctor’, you consult mon médecin or généraliste or mon toubib for colds and coughs. 

For everything else, it is mon spécialiste or, in extremis, mon chirurgien. Ma chère!

Read more: Can you consult a medical specialist without seeing your GP in France?

Read more: France needs up to 15,000 pharmacists to fill gaps, unions say

3. Le pharmacie

Talk to mon pharmacien about which tisane will help you lose weight from your stomach but not your face, and which pills will aid your fragile digestion without keeping you awake at night, even if you only buy aspirin in the end. 

Vous avez bien fait!

Read more: French pharmacists offer medical consultations in new trial

4. Le kiné

If nothing else is working, you could end up at mon kiné, who may tape you up with multicoloured sticking plaster, cup or magnetise you, or hook you up for a mild electrical buzz. 

But you score gold points for being taken by ambulance to an all-day kiné with exercise machines and lunch. T’imagines?  

5. Le rétablissement

Eventually, you will start feeling better and les choses will rentre dans l’ordre, but only if you stay off work for long enough. 

During this period you may well need clear soup, but no flowers because of the aforementioned danger of sneezing too hard. Il faut être prudent!

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