We carried out a national survey on postoperative pain (POP) management in a representative sample (public/private, teaching/non-teaching, size) of 76 surgical centers in France. Based on medical records and questionnaires, we evaluated adult patients 24h after surgery, concerning information: pre and postoperative pain, evaluation, treatment and side effects. A local consultant provided information about POP management. Data were recorded for 1900 adult patients, 69.3% of whom remembered information on POP. Information was mainly delivered orally (90.3%) and rarely noted on the patient's chart (18.2%). Written evaluations of POP were frequent on the ward (93.7%) with appropriate intervals (4.1 (4.0)h), but not frequently prescribed (32.7%). Pain evaluations were based on visual analog scale (21.1%), numerical scale (41.2%), verbal scale (13.8%) or non-numerical tool (24%). Pain was rarely a criterion for recovery room discharge (19.8%). Reported POP was mild at rest (2.7 (1.3)), moderate during movement (4.9 (1.9)) and intense at its maximal level (6.4 (2.0)). Incidence of side effects was similar according to patient (26.4%) or medical chart (25.1%) including mostly nausea and vomiting (83.3%). Analgesia was frequently initiated during anesthesia (63.6%). Patient-controlled analgesia (21.4%) was used less frequently than subcutaneous morphine (35.1%) whose prescription frequently did not follow guidelines. Non-opioid analgesics used included paracetamol (90.3%), ketoprofen (48.5%) and nefopam (21.4%). Epidural (1.5%) and peripheral (4.7%) nerve blocks were under used. Evaluation (63.4%) or treatment (74.1%) protocols were not available for all patients. This national, prospective, patient-based, survey reveals both progress and persistent challenges in POP management.