It’s been a few years since I’ve had the pleasure of spending time in Paris, so naturally a trip to the French Pharmacy was on the agenda. City Pharma is the pharmacy to stock up on skincare and other goodies. They carry almost everything you could ever want, it’s prices rival other pharmacies in Paris, and they usually have majorly tempting specials. Unfortunately, word has gotten out about this little gem and it is always packed with people.
I was in the St. Germain area around 1pm and decided to pop in. I was inside for about 3 minutes before I walked out .. it was impossible move, let alone shop. I decided to make a separate trip the next day. I got there 10 minutes before they opened and there was already a group of about 50 people with the same idea! It was a little easier to pick up what I needed, but nevertheless still a zoo. If you find yourself in Paris, check out these DOs and DONTs to make your City Pharma trip a little less chaotic.
Tips for Visiting City Pharma in Paris
DO GET THERE EARLY
Like I mentioned, City Pharma is busy. The later in the day it gets, the more people filter through the doors. Opening time (8:30am on Weekdays & 9am on Saturdays) is the best. Getting there early also ensures that they won’t be sold out of popular items.
DO MAKE A LIST
Do your research and plan what you want ahead of time. The number of people + small aisles makes it almost impossible to stand in one place for any amount of time and browse. The Caudalie aisle was the worst both times I went. Luckily, I knew exactly what I wanted from the brand, threw it in my basket and kept moving. Having a list is also helpful because the pharmacy is huge and it’s easy to get distracted and forget something important. I take screenshots of product photos because sometimes the packaging is in French which makes it a little difficult if you don’t know the language.
DO STICK POPULAR ITEMS IN YOUR BASKET FIRST
The first time I went into City Pharma, they were out of Bioderma Sebum Hydra, as well as the mini bottles of Bioderma Sensibio and it was only 1pm. Cult items move fast, so make sure you grab them before they run out. If you arrive at opening time and something seems to be sold out, check back before you leave! The employees are always racing around, replenishing inventory for the day. I saw multiple shelves get re-stocked during the hour I was there.
DO BRING YOUR PASSPORT
As if the deals aren’t good enough.. when you spend 175euro or more in the same day, you’re eligible for a VAT refund! The salesclerk will ask for your passport and give you all the necessary papers to claim your refund. Before you leave the country, go to the customs desk at the airport and then sign up for the money to go back on your card, or pay a little extra to get cash handed to you right there. I opted for cash because I’ve heard it takes several weeks for credit card reimbursements. I highly recommend giving yourself extra time at the airport to do this!! The lines can be long.
DON’T FORGET TO GO UPSTAIRS
Upstairs is mostly first aid and medicinal items but you’ll find blue eyedrops up here, along with Homeoplasmine. The Homeoplasmine is behind the counter, and you have to ask a cashier to get it for you. I also picked up some Vitamin C tablets for only $1.99.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK QUESTIONS
At any given time, there are about 1-2 salesclerks within arm’s length. They speak English and are very friendly, utilize their knowledge!
MY CITY PHARMA FINDS
Avene Thermal Spring Water
City Pharma Price: (10.5oz) $5.71 vs. $15 | (5.2oz) $4.39 vs. $12.50
I use Evian spray in my kit for skin prep purposes, but I’ve heard Avene’s Thermal Spring Water runs circles around it. I grabbed two large bottles and one medium because the prices can’t be beat.
Klorane Dry Shampoo
City Pharma Price: $8.67 vs. $20
Karl Lagerfeld uses Klorane and if that’s not reason enough to pick one up, it’s supposedly the best dry shampoo out there. Had to try it.
Embryolisse Lait Creme Concentrate
City Pharma Price: one for $12.30 vs. $28 | two for $23
Embryolisse Lait Creme Concentrate is my favorite moisturizer in my kit! I just bought a new one before my trip, so I didn’t take up the 2 for $23 deal this time.
4. La Roche-Posay Serozinc
City Pharma Price: $5.28 vs. Unavailable in the U.S.
You can’t buy this in the U.S. It’s supposed to be good for oily, acne-prone skin and it was cheap so I decided to test it out.
5. Nuxe Body Oil
City Pharma Price: $18.67 vs. $45
This multi-purpose, dry oil has been a best seller in France for ages. Nuxe Body Oil is made using six precious plant oils (Macadamia, Hazelnut, Borrage, Almond, Camellia and St. John’s Wort) and it smells incredible.
City Pharma Price: (Large) $3.84 vs. $24 | (Small) $3.29 vs. $20
Homeoplasmine is great for a multitude of uses (dry lips, chapped skin etc). A holy grail product in my kit.
7. La Roche-Posay Redermic R
City Pharma Price: $27.50 vs. $57
I bought this for myself. Redermic R contains 0.1% pure retinol, the highest concentration without irritation.
8. Bioderma Sebum Hydra
City Pharma Price: $8.13 vs. $23
I usually reach for Embryolisse Hydra Mat when I work with oily skin, but I decided to try something new and picked Bioderma Sebum Hydra instead.
City Pharma Price: $3.83 vs. $28
Biafine is a staple in France. It’s a plant-based treatment used to stimulate cell regrowth and is widely used to repair skin after sunburns. It’s also great for healing wounds and chapped skin. It’s hard to find in the US an prices go for upward of $75! I picked two up for less than $8.
10. Bioderma Crealine
City Pharma Price: (500ml) $17 for two vs. $20 for one! | (100ml) $2.73 vs. $7
I’m obsessed and this deal is ridiculous. I almost bought a new suitcase so I could fill it solely with Bioderma Crealine.. and then I realized I need more reasons to come back to Paris.
11. Nuxe Lip Balm
City Pharma Price: $7.11 vs. $19
This is almost like a masque for your lips. It’s extremely hydrating and smells like honey. I bought one Nuxe Lip Balm for me and one for my kit.
12. Avene Antirougeurs Jour
City Pharma Price: $13.12 vs. $23
This one is also for me, it’s supposed to calm redness. I’ll update if it works!
13. Caudalie Beauty Elixir
City Pharma Price: $29.87 vs $50
I’ve wanted to try this forever because I’ve seen it in ton’s of other makeup artist’s kits. Finding the Caudalie Beauty Elixir for $20 cheaper at City Pharma was the highlight of my trip.
14. Marvis Travel Toothpaste
City Pharma Price: $3.73 vs. $6
Needed to save suitcase room for more important items, so I bought the travel sized Marvis because it was cute. My boyfriend asked to use it a few days later because he ran out.. haha, no.
15. La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume 5
City Pharma Price: $9.88 vs. $13
This is an ultra gentle soothing, repairing balm. It’s heavy but not greasy and doesn’t clog pores. Great for very dry skin and also people on Acutane that have flaky, sensitive skin.
My Total Savings: $260.56
Shop this Post (Unfortunately without the savings. You have to go to Paris for that)
I took my savings and splurged on some macaroons at my favorite patisserie, Gerard Mulot!
Read more about my travel tips and adventures on my travel blog: HelloJetlag