Of course, this is the topic we'll be talking about at Ohlala French Coffee, so if you'd like to join us and practice your French on this topic.

Make a doctor's appointment in French :

I'm talking about an appointment with a general practitioner, that is, a doctor who takes care of your general medical care. This is the type of doctor you usually go to first when you have a medical problem.

First of all, you have to make an appointment with the doctor. There are two ways to make an appointment with the doctor. If our doctor is modern, he may suggest that we make an appointment online via a platform. But traditionally, we call the doctor or his secretary to make an appointment.

How to make an appointment in French with a doctor?

When you call, you will get the doctor's secretary and rarely the doctor himself. 

Here is what you can say to make an appointment with a doctor in French:

  • Bonjour, je souhaiterais prendre rendez-vous avec M. / Mme *nom du médecin*. /  Hello, I would like to make an appointment with Mr. / Mrs. *name of the doctor*.

The secretary may ask you:

  • Quel est votre nom ? / What is your name?

You answer by giving your first and last name. Don't hesitate to spell out your last name to make it easier to understand. For example: My name is Manon Gonnard: G-O-N-N-A-R-D

On the phone, even between French speakers, it is sometimes difficult to understand each other. So, you can also say : My name is Manon Gonnard: G as in golf - O as in Oscar - two N as in November - A as in alpha - R as in Romeo - D as in Delta.

  • Est-ce que vous êtes un nouveau patient ? / Are you a new patient?

You may be asked this question because some doctors do not take new patients. You answer "yes" if you are a new patient or "no" if you are not.

  • Quel est le motif de votre rendez-vous ? / What is the reason for your appointment?

You may be asked why you go to the doctor. You don't have to give all the details, in one sentence you say what you have. For example: “je pense que j’ai la grippe” ; “j’ai des maux de tête et de la fièvre” ; “j’ai une douleur à la jambe” ; “j’ai besoin d’un certificat médical” ; etc. ("I think I have the flu"; "I have a headache and fever"; "I have a pain in my leg"; "I need a medical certificate"; etc.)

  • Quand êtes-vous disponible pour le rendez-vous ? / When are you available for the appointment? 

You are free to answer by giving the day and time that suits you.

Once this is fixed, the secretary will confirm the day and time of the appointment.


A doctor's appointment in French:

It's the day of your doctor's appointment. Try to arrive 5 to 10 minutes early, although it is true that doctors are often late. 

Normally, when you come in, you should ask the secretary to inform you that you have arrived. Greet the secretary and say : “J’ai rendez-vous avec le médecin *nom du médecin* à **h**.” (I have an appointment with the doctor *name of the doctor* at **h**.)  And she will tell you to go to the waiting room.

The doctor will pick you up by saying your name as you enter the waiting room.

Once in the consultation room, the doctor may ask you for your health insurance card (if you have one). If you are a new patient, he or she can create a file for you at home. He will only ask you a few questions like:

  • Quel est votre nom complet ? /  What is your full name?

  • Quelle est votre date de naissance ? / What is your date of birth?

  • Avez-vous des antécédents médicaux ? C’est-à-dire si vous avez déjà eu des problèmes médicaux dans le passé graves ou conséquents. / Do you have a medical history? That is, if you have had any serious or significant medical problems in the past

  • Est-ce que vous vous êtes déjà fait opérer dans le passé ? / Have you had surgery in the past?

  • Avez-vous un traitement actuel ? Prenez-vous des médicaments actuellement ? /  Do you have a current treatment? Are you currently taking any medication?

Next, the doctor will ask you why you are coming to see him or her. There are many reasons why you might want to see a doctor. There can be many reasons such as a health problem, the need to see a specialist or the need for a medical certificate.

You come for a health problem, it can be a physical problem or an illness.

We will see some expressions to express our symptoms or pains.

To express a pain we can say (avoir + mal) :

J’ai mal ... 
à la gorge (the throat)
au bras (the arm)
au dos (the back)
à la  jambe (the leg)
au pied (the foot)
à la main (the hand)
au ventre (the belly)
à l’épaule (the shoulder)
à la tête (the head)
au front (the forehead)
à l’oeil (the eye)
au nez (the nose)
à l'oreille (the ear)
à la joue (the cheek)
à la bouche (the mouth)


To express the fact that one has a disease or a symptom, one can use the verb to have :

J’ai (I have)
une grippe (the flue)
un rhume (the cold)
une gastro (the stomach flue)
de l’asthme (the asthma)
le nez qui coule (a runny nose)
une migraine (a headache)
de la fièvre (to have fever)

We can also say:
Je tousse (I cough)
J’éternue (I sneeze)
Je vomis (I vomit)

Then the doctor will examine you. He will ask you to remove some of your clothes, if necessary. 

He will take your blood pressure. He will examine your breathing with his stethoscope, he will check your throat and your ears. 

Once the diagnosis is made, the doctor will explain to you what you have and he will write you a prescription with medicines to pick up at the pharmacy to treat you.

Now you have to pay 25 euros, which is the price set for a consultation with a general practitioner in France, and you can leave.

Body and head vocabulary : 

Body Vocabulary in French

Vocabulary of the head in French


Your turn: Tell us about your last visit to the doctor? Write it in the comments!
I'll see you soon for new adventures, in French of course! 🇫🇷