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Health and Beauty in the South of France

Health and Beauty in the South of France

QUICK LINKS: France Guide - France Discussion Forum - France Property Listings

For many decades the South of France has been known as the habitat of ‘beautiful people’.

This factor broadly speaking breaks down into two components:

· Staying in good health;
· Getting to look your best and staying that way.

Health care

Given good air communications from the area, routine health care can be obtained from anywhere in the world.

Practically though, or if an emergency, it’s always best if you have local services available.

Unlike perhaps the vast majority of countries in the world, the French public health system is generally regarded as offering superb care and services. Many argue that the public services are as good or even better than the private services in many other countries.

General practitioner/physician type doctors in France can be found in local directories, through pharmacists or via personal recommendation locally.

Many still make house calls in emergencies or even for relatively routine matters - providing in the latter case that you can a little flexible on time.

Most French doctors will, by virtue of their training, have some familiarity with English though this may not always be quite as extensive as you may imagine if they’re selected at random.

Many other healthcare professionals, other than specialists and consultants, may speak only French though some may also speak some Italian due to the proximity of the border.

It is usually relatively easy to find a fluent English-speaking doctor in this part of France through advertisements and pharmacist’s references. Given the cosmopolitan nature of the area, other languages may also be supported.

The French health system, unlike many, also uses complementary medicines. Doctors, specialist practitioners or pharmacists may use them in conjunction with your views (in some cases).


There are both private clinics and public hospitals in France although comparatively few establishments are entirely private. France is perhaps unique in the world in that virtually everyone agrees that there is little difference between the two – at least where medical illness treatment is required.

The standard of care is often similar (excellent) and as there are typically no significant waiting lists in the French public system, treatment in private clinics may not necessarily be obtained any faster. Bizarrely, the costs of treatment in private clinics may actually at times be lower cost than that available at a public hospital – excluding perhaps for some elective procedures in highly specialised centres.

In public hospitals private rooms are available on request at a typically modest extra charge (though in an emergency they may not always be available).

Treatment is available for all in an emergency though if it is not an emergency and you are not legally resident in France, some hospitals may ask for a substantial payment in advance to cover the cost of your treatment.

The French league table of top-performing public hospitals in 2008 is given at http://www.lepoint.fr/html/hopitaux-2008/tableau-honneur.jsp.

Hospitals in this area are located in: Antibes Juan les Pins, Cannes, Frejus, Grasse, Menton, Nice and Saint Tropez.

In the case of specialist treatment such as cosmetic surgery, there are private clinics at several locations in the area, all serving various needs.

Access to them is typically via the referral of a physician or specialist though in some cases they can be approached directly. Details can easily be found locally through directories, Internet advertising or through the advice of local pharmacists combined with local personal recommendation.

Private establishments may have some advantages for you personally in terms of more convenient locations, typically smaller sizes and at times, their occasional additional recreational or relaxation facilities (though this may not be universally the case).

It is extremely difficult to generalise further as your requirements will be unique to you, your location and your general health situation.

Looking and feeling your best

Looking good is something of a French obsession and something for which France is world famous. This is particularly true in the South of France.

Many people pay particular attention to their physical and psychological appearance and wellbeing (bien être in French) and there is a range of establishments that can help you achieve or maintain that.

In general, many of these centres are based in 4-5 star hotels or other resort-themed institutions rather than medically themed properties.

· The Hotel Royal Riviera at St Jean Cap Ferrat has a luxuriously equipped health space and its own private beach.

· The Hotel La Reserve de Beaulieu (http://www.reservebeaulieu.com) also has excellent fitness and health facilities combined with a luxury and stylish hotel in a fantastic coastal location.

· The Hotel Cezanne in Cannes (http://www.hotel-cezanne.com) offers similar slightly more central facilities.

· The Hotel Splendid in Nice (http://www.hotel-cezanne.com) offers superb ultra-modern health and wellbeing facilities and are extremely famous for their expertise in aromatherapy and holistic treatment.

· The Chateau-St-Martin in Vence (http://www.chateau-st-martin.com) is a magnificent building sitting in the hills. Once again, it boats first-class health and pampering facilities and the benefits of having a Michelin two-star chef.

As is to be expected in such a prestigious area, there is a wide range of facilities to cater for individual tastes and preferences in the body maintenance arena. They tend to be widely advertised in the local tourist offices, press and the Internet.

Expat Health Insurance Partners

Bupa Global

At Bupa we have been helping individuals and families live longer, healthier, happier lives for over 60 years. We are trusted by expats in 190 different countries and have links with healthcare organisations throughout the world. So whether you're moving abroad for a change of career or a change of scene, with our international private health insurance you will always be in safe hands.


Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.