FRENCH PHARMACY SHOPPING – CITY PHARMA

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Last Friday I was lucky enough to get to go to Paris for the day with work to do some beauty product scouting. I ticked off nearly every Parisian beauty destination and thought I would do a series of posts about the best places to beauty shop in Paris. First up, City Pharma.

City Pharma generally tends to be the number one beauty destination for us hardcore beauty addicts when taking a jaunt to Paris. You’ll find it on Rue Du Four with the nearest metro stop being Saint-Germain-des-Prés. It’s about a minutes walk. It’s very easy to spot despite not having ‘City Pharma’ written anywhere on the outside of the building. But you’ll notice it for the flock of women gathering inside and the bright green pharmacy cross. Unlike most French pharmacies it doesn’t shut at 2:30pm, it’s open until 8pm most nights.

Be warned if you do go in, it’s VERY cramped. I went in first thing in the morning and it was still busy. Compared to how big I thought it would be, it didn’t live up. It’s quite small, with narrow aisles and can feel quite claustrophobic. You’ll be saying ‘pardon’ a lot to other customers to get past them.

If you persevere though you’ll find a mecca of French skincare brands all housed under one roof. La Roche Posay, Avene, Filgora, Lierac, Caudalie, Bioderma etc – they have the lot. They’re also competitively priced compared to other French pharmacies so my advice is to wander round the smaller, quieter pharmacies first, scout out what you like, note it down then go to City Pharma armed with your shopping list. They like to do promotions too so expect products clumped together on deals and offers etc.

The staff are the epitome of Parisian chic all dressed in their immaculately white uniforms with stereotypical glowing French skin. These women know their stuff and most speak English so just explain (in French) you don’t speak the language and they’ll flip to English immediately. Use their knowledge, they work with these products every single day and if their skin is anything to go by, they certainly know their stuff. It’s not like Boot’s where the sales assistants are stacking shelves or behind a till (I’d know, I used to be one), instead their sales assistants are actively helping customers the whole time and advising on what they recommend. Personally I think it’s a lesson other stores can learn from (apart from you Space.NK, you fab bunch).

My top piece of advice is go prepared. Do your research beforehand. Go armed with a list, pick up a big red basket at the doors (you’ll need one) and if you can’t find something ask one of the many of assistants dotted about. I think that’s about everything but if you have any questions or there’s something I’ve missed and you’d like to know the answer to just let me know by leaving a comment below. Bon magasinage!

Rebecca

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