Many visitors to France don’t experience any health problems at all during their trip – lulled by fine wine, delicious food, and the relaxing pace of la campagne they actually enjoy an almost obscene sense of well-being.
Nevertheless, long car and plane trips are often a breeding ground for things like back trouble and airborne viruses.
Yet I have seen it again and again with visitors here – most people prefer to suffer niggling health conditions that compromise enjoyment of their trip rather than venture to the doctor’s office in a foreign country such as France.
Franck and I volunteered in Nepal for several months after I finished my BA, and the Lonely Planet’s advice for visitors to Nepal who suffered health problems was contained in one line: GET ON THE VERY FIRST PLANE OUT OF THE COUNTRY!!!
Luckily for us, France is not only a fine country for feeling well, but it is also one of the best countries in the world in which to get sick. I have been amazed by the promptness, professionalism, and low cost of the health care over here compared to Canada.
If you get sick in France, rest assured that a visit to a local doctor will only set you back 20 Euros (doctors visits are sometimes, but not always, reimbursed by your travel medical insurance). Specialists cost around 40 Euros. We leave recommendations for local doctors in our information binders at our vacation rentals as I know many other vacation rentals managers do as well, and Franck has even been known to accompany visitors down to the doctor to translate for them.
The French doctor (le medecin) will probably give you a prescription which you take to any of the many local pharmacies in France (recognized by their green signs – they are literally everywhere). French Pharmacies are a clean, modern, and much-beloved institution. Medication here in France is very, very inexpensive compared to Canada and the US.
So if you have any health problems at all during your stay in France, don’t hesitate to make a quick visit chez le medecin. You’ll be glad you did, and it may be remembered as a rather pleasant part of your overall Authentic French experience.
Bonne santé a tous!