Who knew French pharmacies could be so interesting?!? Honest.
Initially this topic was researched for our Fab Findings from France Facebook Group as more or less a simple guide for those living here or planning to travel. It was rather like an Alice down the rabbit hole moment, as the more you delve the more you discover.
If you have never been to France, or plan to travel here when opportunity presents itself, this may not be something you would have thought to learn more about. French pharmacies are of course helpful regarding health and medications. They even help in understanding a little bit more about French way of life.
You see French pharmacies are not like the large, sell almost everything shops you find in the USA or UK, in example. There are no ‘Boots’ or ‘CVS’ type places. The Pharmacy here is just that, a pharmacy – with a few well tested health and beauty products thrown in.
To be a pharmacist in France requires 6 to 9 years of study. So most people will often go to a pharmacist before or instead of going to a doctor. You can explain your symptoms to the pharmacist and they may offer a medication. If they feel you need something beyond their scope, or have concerns, they will suggest you go to the doctors.
Pharmacies are also where most French women buy their beauty products, because they know they can trust and rely on them. These aren’t products you will see marketed to death in magazines, etc.
They are also big on aromatherapy and homeopathic healing. Need essential oils, vitamins, or general well being info or products? This is where you will find them.
Oh and a wonderfully French aspect of pharmacies here, is that Pharmacists are also trained to know mushrooms. Which are poisonous and which are not. So if you go mushroom foraging and wish to be sure you can eat your finds, you can take them along to the local Pharmacy and have your haul checked.
Pharmacies are denoted by their green cross. Lit up (and usually animated), the pharmacy is open. Not lit, it’s closed. Pharmacies tend to stick to the typical French work hours 9am – 12pm and 2pm – 6 or 7pm. But there will always be a ‘duty pharmacy’ available somewhere within the area. So if you go to a pharmacy and it is shut, you will find the duty pharmacy information posted in their window.
For more information, such as emergency numbers and names of common medications, follow this link for a quick and concise guide from Musement.
And for a French woman’s skincare routine, based on French pharmacy products, enjoy Marie-Anne Lecoeur’s insight: