BACKGROUND: Only limited data are available concerning the diseases managed before death and hospital palliative care (HPC) use according to place of death in France. We therefore conducted an observational study based on administrative health data in a large population to identify the diseases treated one year before death in 2013, the place of stay with or without hospital palliative care, and the place of death. METHODS: French health insurance general scheme beneficiaries were identified in the National Health data Information System (Snds) with a selection of information. Diseases were identified by algorithms from reimbursement data recorded in the Snds database. RESULTS: 347,253 people were included in this study (61% of all people who died in France). Place of death was short stay hospital for 51%, Rehab (7%), hospital at home (3%), skilled nursing home (13%) and other (26%). Chronic diseases managed in 2013 before death were cardiovascular/neurovascular diseases (56%), cancers (42%), and neurological and degenerative diseases (25%). During the year before death, 84% of people were hospitalized at least once, and 29% had received HPC. HPC was used by 52% of cancer patients (lung cancer: 62%; prostate cancer: 41%). In the absence of cancer, the use of HPC varied according to the disease: acute stroke: 24%, heart failure: 17%, dementia: 17%, multiple sclerosis: 23%. CONCLUSIONS: Health administrative data can refine the knowledge of the care pathway prior to death and the HPC utilisation and can be useful to evaluate heath policies and improve monitoring and assessment of HPC use.