There have been many epidemiological studies of chickenpox but only a few of herpes zoster. We report data from an observational study, conducted in France during a 1-year period, of 9038 patients who presented with acute herpes zoster (n = 8103) or postherpetic neuralgia (PHN; n = 935) at the office practices of 4635 general practitioners or dermatologists. The incidence of herpes zoster in France was found to be similar to that in the literature: from 1.4 to 4.8 cases per 1000 population per year. The patient profiles and clinical patterns were delineated, as well as the management decisions made according to the type of treating physician. The impact of herpes zoster on quality of life was evaluated on the basis of the Medical Outcome Study Short Form 36 (MOS SF 36) scale, which is widely used for assessing quality of life in the field of health. This study provides reference data on the substantial deterioration in quality of life associated with herpes zoster and PHN.