French Pharmacies

cross.jpgI LOVE my local pharmacy. Whatever problem I have, they always seem to have the right cream, lotion or potion for it. I think that part of my love affair for pharmacies is because roughly 80% of my French family are pharmacists. Then again when you look at the amount of pharmacies in France, 80% of the population must be pharmacists… but I think there is more to it than that. In France we are medication mad; maybe due to the socialized health care system, but here in France more people visit doctors than in any other part of the world. For every ailment, no matter how small, there is a cure you can pick up at your local pharmacy.

But it does not stop there – pharmacists are not only at your beck and call when you have a medical problem, but also when you want to indulge yourself. I buy most my creams, shampoos and the kids’ creams and shampoos at the pharmacy. Most pharmacists, even in tiny villages, stock La Roche Posay, Nuxe, Caudalie etc. and if they don’t they can almost always order the product you need within 24 hours.

Most pharmacists will take their time with each customer no matter how long the queue, which nobody minds as everyone gets the same treatment. I’ve seen pharmacists talk for 30 mins to an elderly customer to make sure they were getting the right medicine, and have overheard a poor pharmacist patiently explain to a foreign non-French speaking tourist how a suposity works!

I hope you will not have to visit a pharmacy if you are traveling to France for an ailment, but if you need to I am sure you will be well looked after!

- Emilie

12 COMMENTS - Add your own

1. Courtney | July 29, 2008 | Reply

I LOVE the French pharmacies. I could spend hours inside them. They always have the most extensive range of everything. And the buildings are always so beautiful. Things I always buy when I’m in France: La Roche Posay lotions, Mustela baby products, MAM dummies, and soap.

2. jai | July 29, 2008 | Reply

I love La Roche Posay. It recently became available at CVS Pharmacy in Los Angeles. Before that I had to order it online, or pick it up when I was in Europe. I highly recommend it.

J

3. Helen | July 29, 2008 | Reply

I was shocked when we got a prescription from our Doctor, basic 7 days of antibiotics and 5 days of ear-drops cost me 82,50 euros!
The french pharmacies are good, i bought my sister the MAM Teach me toothbrush set brilliant! The benefit is they sell animal items aswell so I can get my frontline flea treatment for the chat there too.

4. Paula | July 30, 2008 | Reply

I love French pharmacies too. You always get good advice about what to take for any ailment. At the one closest to my home (there are at least 10 within a 10 minute walk!) there are twice daily visits by a nurse for people who need injections, etc. When my mom was visiting and broke her leg, she needed blood-thinner injections and the nurse from the pharmacy came to our apartment twice a day for 7 euros each visit!

5. Gabrielle | July 30, 2008 | Reply

and another little tip on those fabulous french pharamcies.

customer: Can I buy retin-a please?
pharmacist: yes, but you need a prescription.
customer: Oh, I don’t have one. Do you have it though?
pharmacist: Yes, we have it.
customer: Can I buy it?
pharmacist: yes, you can buy it.

6. The Antiques Diva | July 30, 2008 | Reply

I’ve been living in Holland over 3 year now and yet I still save my toiletries and pharmacutical shopping for my quarterly trips to Paris! There is a Para-Pharmacy on the corner of Rue de Renne & Rue de Four in Paris 6eme that I consider to be the best pharmacy in the city! Also, it’s said to have the best prices according to a budget conscious friend of mine who lives in the 17th but travels across the city to go to this one.

Coincidentally, though I love living in Holland, I’ve been very frustrated with the medical care I’ve received here. While the Dutch Dr’s have a very practical pragmatic view on not over medicating their patients (which is a good thing compared to the over medicating that often occurs in the USA) I’ve been completely frustrated with the Dutch system’s LACK of medicating!

I get PMS migraines, but my Dr will only give me a prescription for 1 migraine pill a month. Given that I need 2 or 3 to get over the migraine – this is a major problem. Her solution… call and bicycle to the pharmacy for a 2nd pill if need be! Not exactly a practical solution in the midst of a migraine!

Meanwhile, my husband an asthmatic and severe allergy suffer is given 15 allergy pills to last a month (mind you these are pills that build up over time and thus, if you don’t take them continuously aren’t worth taking according to BOTH our US and French doctor). And because his MD hasn’t seen him HAVING AN ASTHMA ATTACK she won’t prescribe the asthma inhaler he needs to use twice daily to KEEP from having an attack. (Thank God for frequent trips to the pharmacy in France – or the stupid doctor would have seen him having countless attacks by now!).

Needless to say, I’m on my soapbox but this is a major frustration in my life!!!! I miss France when it comes to medical care, medication & the pharmacies!!!!!

7. Emilie | July 30, 2008 | Reply

Even after 2 years here I am still amazed by the quality of care!

8. Emilie | July 30, 2008 | Reply

BTW my favouite pharmacy, is thr Grand Pharmacie Popincourt on rue Popincourt run by the Saada Brothers. They are great! In fact I have just come back from there having spent a small fortune on different creams!

9. MaryAnne Wells | August 10, 2008 | Reply

I love french pharmacies as well. My husband injured his knee whilst we were in Paris. The pharmacist provided me with the most interesting items to help heal his knee, and marvelously it did the trick. So wonderful!

10. claudia | October 9, 2008 | Reply

I would love to know if there is a french pharmacy where I can shop online, I would love to be able to do that since I live in Mexico. Thank you.

11. Babyccino » Nuxe Facial Oil | January 27, 2009 | Reply

[...] as you do here in France, I popped into my local pharmacy to see what they would recommend. I walked out with what is now my all-time favourite facial [...]

12. Pat | May 5, 2009 | Reply

This is a great site. I was recently in Paris with my students and wish I had had them check this out before we went. Right now, we’re working on body parts and how to express illness, go to a pharmacie or doctor and communicate our problem.
I’m somewhat confused about the green versus blue crosses. I’ve read the blue just means animal medicines are available there too. Is that true?

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