Say quatre vingts dix neuf

Written by Simon Renfrew

Like most small towns in France, Monpazier has its resident doctor. Three in fact – all friendly, efficient, bright, hard working and housed in a carefully adapted surgery set above a pretty valley at the edge of the bastide. Which means that whilst being examined, you can at least enjoy the view and wonder if the cattle on the hill opposite can see that far too.

Having passed your water / stone / medical certificate exam (which you need to take part in almost any sporting competition other than chess), find your wallet. With what is almost certainly the best idea in the whole French health network, you have to cough up (metaphorically rather than physically) €22 each time you see le médecin. Kids and OAP’s get this back via the fiendishly complex Carte Vital system and, depending on their level of health cover, everyone else gets some or all of it reimbursed too. But it’s the psychological act of handing over hard cash that makes the difference. Ask UK GPs if they’d like a similar charge to discourage feckless timewasters clogging up their surgeries, and you’d get a bigger ‘yes’ vote then Kim Jong il’s Starvation and Nuclear proliferation party.

A less brilliant part of the regime is the ludicrous over prescribing of pills and potions. Stand in the pharmacy for a while (trying not to look like you need to buy condoms but aren’t brave enough) and watch one wrinkly after another filling carrier bags to bursting with free issue, ruinously expensive drugs, most of which will be left to gather dust behind the Ricard on the mantelpiece, ultimately destined for the bin once out of date. 

And remember that French doctors love prescribing suppositories – so as with fireworks, always read the label VERY carefully.

Contact La Porte Property

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56 bis Rue St Jacques
24540 MONPAZIER France

+33 (0) 553 61 80 33

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