This article examines the level and conditions of development of the concept of "health promoting hospital (HPH)", in France and in Europe. Part of the literature on HPH was reviewed, looking at the kind of partnerships implemented within the HPH projects, and at the organisational strategies adopted by hospitals to be health promoting. The literature review is followed by an overview of the priorities defined by health policies in Europe. This research shows that there is still a lack of guidelines on how to put the health promotion concept into practice in health care settings. Moreover, it stresses that further research is needed in order to better define which personal skills ought to be developed through health education in health care settings, and how the development of such skills may be articulated to other priorities in health care settings.