Résumé : OBJECTIVE:To describe detailed physical activity and sedentary behaviour in French adults across physical activity categories.DESIGN:The French Nutrition and Health Survey (Etude Nationale Nutrition Santé, ENNS), conducted in 2006-2007, was a national cross-sectional survey based on three-stage random sampling. The International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) was used to classify participants into three physical activity categories. Time spent in a sitting position and time spent in front of a screen were used as markers of sedentary behaviour.SETTING:France.SUBJECTS:Adults (n 2971) aged 18 to 74 years were included.RESULTS:Overall, 29·5 % of men and 23·6 % of women were classified into the high-IPAQ category, while 36·1 % of men and 37·5 % of women were in the low-IPAQ category. For each intensity level of physical activity (vigorous intensity, moderate intensity or walking), the number of active days per week decreased from the high- to the low-IPAQ category and daily duration of physical activity was longer in the high-IPAQ category than in the other two categories; 6 % of adults declared neither vigorous nor moderate nor walking activities.CONCLUSIONS:For most adults in the low-IPAQ category, an increasing number of active days per week would be sufficient to attain the moderate-IPAQ category. This should be taken into account in public health initiatives aimed at promoting physical activity.