2 Oct 2017

The French Pharmacy: What Not To Miss

The French Pharmacy: What Not To Miss on vickiarcher.com

The French pharmacy is different, it is not like others.

Visiting the French pharmacy is more about browsing and shopping than it is about the medicinal. There is a behind the counter section that is jam-packed with medications that could cure a myriad of ailments.

But there are so many more interesting products on show.
Long queues are habitual at the French pharmacy; much chat goes on about the new, the effectiveness and the how-to. Body products are a big business in France and there are plenty of ‘flavoursome’ tonics, pills and gels that promise the world. These are promotions, which need to be talked about and shared. Who doesn’t want to know about a newer and less ragged version of themselves? They are the buy-one-and-get-the-other-one-free kind of deals that we expect in stores other than the local pharmacy and there are the freebies, échantillons, with every purchase. I can’t remember a visit to the pharmacy when I haven’t left with a bag full of product samples or promotional giveaways.

The pharmacy is a strange and unusual ‘tourist’ destination when visiting such a beautiful country as France, but I can promise, the girlfriends I have taken to the pharmacy have never come away empty-handed. Travel is about the whole picture and the pharmacy may not be the Louvre but is entirely worth a visit. A lengthy one ;)


What sends me dashing to the pharmacy?
It is the lesser known beauty brands that I look for. They are not the big names I was familiar with before but they have certainly become some of my much-loved essentials.

Certain products have become part of my routine and I wouldn’t want to be without them. Now many are available outside of France, so while its not quite as much fun as filling the basket in Paris, it is the next best thing. xv


The French Pharmacy: What Not To Miss

*darphin intral skincare – start with this cleanser, anti rouge serum and recovery cream – it is gentle, very effective and perfect for travelling

*darphin facial oil – add a drop to your night routine and feel the difference – i am a fan of the jasmine oil and the 8 flower nectar oil cream 

*darphin stimulskin plus – for the dry and dehydrated moments – it is a miracle worker

*caudalie – this divine body scrub with brown sugar and plant oils is really and truly divine

*caudalie – special herbal teas to help with fluid retention – i always stock up on these – one of my greatest problems when travelling

*embryolisse – the eclat radiant eye treatment serum is one of my most used products – it’s a cooling gel stick to reduce puffiness under the eyes – a life and handbag staple

*avene –  a great non-greasy and not highly fragranced hand cream –  another permanent resident for the handbag

*avene –  facial mist – when dehydration needs a helping hand

*la roche posay – the cicaplast baume b5 is a repairing and soothing balm for snagged skin, cuticles and even scars – i use it regularly on my cuticles and always include it (alongside the embryollise eye stick) in birthday and christmas gifts

  • *leonor greyl – for shampoos and hair treatments – these are delicious hair care companions and really do help manage all kinds of “hair days”


The French Pharmacy List

darphin intral  ||  darphin facial oil  ||  darphin stimulskin plus  ||  caudalie divine scrub  ||  caudalie draining tea  ||  embryolisse radiant eye

avene hand cream  || la roche posay baume b5  ||  leonor greyl shampoo  ||  leonor greyl hair mask  ||  leonor greyl volumiser

The French Pharmacy Paris : Where To Shop

from my parisian address book; central pharmacies with competitive prices and most brands

City Pharma
26 Rue du Four, 75006

Pharmacie des Archives
2 Rue des Archives, 75004

Pharmacie Monge
74 Rue Monge, 75005

image via eblush

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French pharmacies are truly amazing. We live part of the year in a small village in the Drome/Provence. We have a wonderful pharmacy in town, which carries the Avene, Claudalie, and La Roche Posey products. I stock up every time we are there. I never thought of buying some of these products as gifts, but what a great idea.

Thank you for the suggestions of what other products I should look for either in our small village or the larger town (with a larger pharmacy) nearby. No wonder French women look so good!


Ask your local pharmacy for samples of these… then you can see which products you like best. The smaller items are fab for gifts because women (and men) never treat themselves to these little beauties.. :)


No I haven’t.. but I’m having a little crush on Darphin as my Filorga ran out… so I’m trying out some new formulas.. I like to mix it up a little and then come back to my old favourites :)


Always suffer from mid-winter skin dryness on re-entry to Australia after late spring/summer in France. So this time stocked up on a couple of bottles of La Roche-Posay lipikar baume body moisturiser. It is superb and really works and soothes and moisturises dry skin. But when I got home to Oz I discovered my regular local pharmacy here stocks it so I didn’t need to add to my already heavy suitcase! They just don’t give out echantillons!


La Roche Posay is a wonderful brand… especially for sensitive skins… You will have to come back to PAris for more samples, Pamela .. A very good excuse ;)


Absolutely, but don’t really need an excuse. It’s become almost our second home. We’ve been spending a bit over a month in Paris in a friend’s vacant apartment every year for years while he goes to Barcelona for his hols. At this stage in life we love re-visiting our favourite places both in Paris and the South. In our lives for both work and fun we’ve already travelled around most of the parts of the world we’ve wanted to visit (and one or two we didn’t want to – work!) so don’t need any kind of bucket list elsewhere! I love all the samples they give you in Paris (the department stores and boutiques too) – always come home with heaps. In fact I do most of my fun shopping there now – everywhere from Le Bon Marche (love my fidelity card) and the boutiques to brocantes and depots-vents. Best wishes, Pamela


No it’s great..
Although I have fallen in love with Darphin more and more over the years.. and the range within their brand is so broad.. especially the serums.. but Dr’s always know what’s right for you :)

Mimi Gregor

Doctors do not always know what is best for you. When I was younger and had pretty bad acne, my dermatologist kept putting me on antibiotics, which gave me perpetual yeast infections. Did wonders for my love life. Plus, we know now that this is exactly the sort of thing that leads to resistant strains of viruses. This “doctor” also prescribed stuff to dry up my skin. Sure it dried up the acne… but my skin was so raw looking that the acne was probably the better end of the deal. If I had only been savvy about herbal medicine back then, I would have used what I use now to great effect on pimples: tea tree oil. Works overnight. Yeah… don’t get me started on doctors….


Yes, tea tree oil or pawpaw ointment. Great natural remedies! Pamela


Enchantillons!! My new favorite French word. And people wonder why I love France and French so much.

Enchantillons so much lovelier rolling off one’s tongue than freebies :)

LOL I love French pharmacies and make it a point to spend some time in them when I go. I’m going to Paris next fall can you list some pharmacy addresses you love in Paris or do you have them listed already?


I did list 3 at the bottom of this article, Linda… they are the ones I always find something in :)


Very sorry. I did not see them. I was so enchanted by enchantillons :) Thank you Vicky for sharing


Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre 24-Hour Miracle Cream has become my nighttime go-to moisturizer. Strangely, the Embryolisse Filaderme Émulsion Peaux Sèches seems to have the opposite effect on my skin. I am mystified as to why.

I sincerely wish the Caudelie Cru products were in my budget, my skin adores them. So, I will look into your other recommendations. Thank you for giving us a virtual tour of the French pharmacy. It would indeed be delightful to do so in person. Cheers, Ardith

P.S. What a perfect image for this post. That gown is stunning.


Vicki, I also collected some lovely gifts from the pharmacy near the Intermarche in St Remy in the summer! Like you said there are always good bargains to be had and they had so many offers and promoted products with offers. I bought a girlfriend a selection of products such as Caudalie, Nuxe and Embroylisse plus some small little shampoo and conditioner samples. Both my daughter and I love the Nuxe lipsalve which the pharmacy had on offer with two packed together for the same price as one! They even had Filorga!! The assistant wrapped them in a lovely gift bag too!! A great gift.


Ooooooh………………………. that dress! That is THE most splendid dress I have ever seen Vicki! I have never looked at a piece of clothing and and fallen so heavily for it, not that I could wear it now, but it is truly fabulous.
Now, off to read the blog!

Hannah S.

I love the French pharmacies. The customer service and care is amazing. I wish we had anything close to this in Orange County, CA.
When I went there to get something for a bad cold, the pharmacist asked several questions to make sure I would get the right products.
Also love the Filorga skin care products, which you mentioned quite a while back. Now I always stock up on them when in Paris. Lucky to be here right now.

Anita Rivera

First of all, that photo is LUSH! Secondly, I think I want to try the first product you mention, the last of all, a French pharmacy is like a sweet shoppe – so many wondrous products! And when I was in France, I couldn’t believe the treasures I found in a HARDWARE SHOPPE! So unlike ours here in the US where all you see are hammers, nails, hard edges but not in a French quincaillerie!


Hi Vicki, it’s always so fun to read about all the beauty products ! I really like Nuxe, but amazon is out of so many, wish I could just pop into a French pharmacy. I am curious as I am about to leave to get my annual flu shot. Here in the US every pharmacy has signs out front telling customers it’s time for flu shots, they even give you 20% off shopping after the shot. Do they do that in Europe ? Do you get flu shots ? Maybe a blog about what you do to get ready for the winter health wise ?! Thank you for all your great suggestions.


This year for the first time I am considering the flu shot.. I haven’t seen the discount yet though! So I might wait a bit :)
Great idea for a post.. thank you

Anne christopher

On your recommendation I visited the pharmacy earlier this year when catching up with my brother in St Remy. I was delighted to find a product I buy in Sydney for $42 was on the shelf for $24!! The brand is Biotherma. Needless to say I stocked up for myself and a friend who had originally recommended it!!


I was enthralled with the French “Pharmacie” present in every village, no matter how small and often right beside the “ Optique”- no surprise that the very stylish French like a very stylish spectacle!
I discovered the range Bioderma- their Micellar cleanser perfect for removing all makeup before the cream cleanse. Love those Autumn fashion suggestions but as we are coming into Spring/Summer here in New Zealand after a long Winter I have to say I struggle with those short and capped sleeves on some dresses-how do they work in the colder weather?


My first stop when we stay in “our” apartment in Paris is the pharmacy .. I buy up all the bath products and lotions .. for me, for home, for friends .. It is a lovely tradition that I started so long ago lol


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