Today I found myself just near City Pharma at 26 Rue Four, 75006, Paris. Beauty lovers may recall that this is the destination recommended by the lovely Lisa Eldridge in her video describing her favorite French skincare. The last time that I ventured near City Pharma, it had just been filled with two (!) busloads of French shoppers. European shops are not famed for their generous aisles, and the crowd made it impossible to browse. However, today the streets nearby looked relatively quiet, and so I braved through the doorway to see what I could find. Please come with me so you can see it too.
As a starting point, this tiny two-floor store is a tiny building absolutely packed with every French pharmacy line that you’ve ever heard of, and several that I had not. The prices are amazingly low, particularly from my U.S. perspective. Consider this La Roche Posay Efaclar Duo listed on the company’s site for its retail price at $36.95:
In most of my photos, I’ve tried to include the store’s prices (in yellow tags at the front of the shelves) so that you can compare. At Paris’ City Pharma, this runs Effaclar Duo (same 40 ml. size) is just under 9 euros:
Even without the buses, the store was incredibly crowded. Despite this, the atmosphere was polite. The words of the day were “Pardonez-moi, s’il vous plait.” In the crowded areas, its a bit like seeing the Mona Lisa. People at the front take a moment and then depart, the next layer of the crowd moves forward, and finally those at the back get their turn. By that time, more layers have formed. Like so much of French life, it’s the unwritten rules that work the best. Patience, don’t break this unwritten code. Here you can see so many beautiful Caudalie products, so little time:
Within these tiny aisles are white-coated sales associates who can direct you to the various products. I had to ask several for assistance, and each seemed to understand the product names and my requests (in very poor French). I’d go in with product names in mind. Although long discussions aren’t out of the question, I think it’s best to do your comparison shopping at a more leisurely parapharmacie. For example, Parashops are located throughout Paris, and their service is very good. I’ve purchased plenty from them, although their prices aren’t as rock-bottom as these they are very reasonable.
Hold onto your wallets, these 2-packs of Bioderma cleanser are 15.45 euro (these run roughly $20 for a single bottle on Beautylish). Of course, on Beautylish there is no plane ticket involved.
The store has a very large department for selling all types of dental products, and an enormous herb/detox/supplement area. Checkout is on the upper floor, and asks for your patience. Although there are probably 20 cashiers, the lines run long.
It’s nice to be good at math in there, or else your basket will fill up faster than your bank account. Always, always, always research before you buy. Your time should go smoothly if you’ve pre-shopped and you know what you are going for. I’m very happy with my purchases, and I was in and out in under 30 minutes. Be brave, Paris shoppers!!