Do a Google search on “French skin care”, and chances are, almost any article will make mention of the infamous French pharmacie. But what exactly is it? And why is this institution known world-wide? Today, I’ll be breaking down what the pharmacie is, and why you’ll want to visit at least one on your next trip to Paris!
Scattered throughout Paris (and cities in France for that matter), are neon green crosses that litter the sidewalks. These signs call attention to the pharmacie- but this is not an equivalent to a pharmacy in the United States, which is more often than not akin to a convenience store. Instead, these stores only carry body products, skin care, medicine, perfumes and even weight-loss supplements.
With the globalization of the world, you may find many familiar products here from lines like Bioderma, La Roche Posay, Caudalie, and Mustela- but don’t be fooled. The prices here are significantly lower than in the United States, and it is for that reason that I always recommend to friends that they stock up on products while in Paris!
Another interesting thing I have found is that while some of these products are available in the States (either at brick and mortar stores or online), so many in the pharmacie are not! The last time I was in Paris, I was astonished at the availability of Bioderma products, as compared to the U.S.
In addition to the rows of products here, are the incredibly knowledgeable staff. Those employed here are highly trained on the products and which ailments they would be used to treat. For example, the last time I was in Paris, it was during one of their massive heat waves, and I found myself falling incredibly ill as a result. I went straight to my nearest pharmacie in the 4th arrondissement, and explained my symptoms to the staff. Immediately, she scuttled off to the back, returning moments later, hands full of different boxes of medicine. She explained how each would equally ameliorate my symptoms, and I was out the door within 10 minutes- medicine in hand.
An added bonus, is that on their name tags, you will find country flags which represent which languages they speak. Being in Europe, the flag for Great Britain will indicate that they speak English.
In France, they sell pain reliever that is a powder that dissolves on your tongue and it comes in different flavors like lime and cappuccino! It’s one of the products I always stock up on while I’m here!
In short, it’s no stretch to say that the French pharmacie is the holy grail of French skin and body care. The affordable prices and many locations make it an easy stop to fit into your next trip to Paris. And if you do go, be sure to give yourself at least an hour to peruse to aisles and enjoy the experience!