The objective of this study was to describe the epidemiology, clinical presentation and consequences of chronic daily headache (CDH) in France. A representative nation-wide sample of the general population was identified using a stratified sampling method. Ten thousand five hundred and eight-five subjects were screened in face-to-face interviews, and data collected using a standard questionnaire. An overall point prevalence of CDH in the general population of 2.98% was observed. Two-thirds of these subjects presented migraine-like features. Severity, functional impact and healthcare consumption were higher than in subjects reporting episodic migraine in the same sample. Of the subjects, 28.2% reported the most severe migraine disability assessment scores (Grades 3 and 4), compared to 12% of episodic migraineurs. A qualité de vie et migraine score of 68.4 was observed, indicating severely attenuated quality of life. Only 6.6% of subjects were taking prophylactic treatment, whilst 88% were using non-specific acute headache treatments. The frequency of physician consultations and laboratory examinations was significantly higher than in individuals with episodic headache. CDH is thus a relatively prevalent condition in the general French population, associated with an important burden of suffering and with considerable expenditure in the health service. Management of this condition is generally inappropriate.