|a typical french pharmacie around the corner from us on rue st. andre des arts|
if you're a product junkie like me, the parisian equivalent of a drugstore is a treasure trove of mysterious and seemingly exotic finds. the most ordinary items--cotton swabs, bandages--somehow seem more glamorous here. thinner. more refined. even earwax syringes--or poire, french for pear-- sound downright sexy.
before we moved here, my friend peggy sent me a list of french pharmacy finds from gwyneth paltrow's blog, goop. i couldn't wait to get to a pharmacy and check them out in person. so i searched, holy-grail style, enduring only occasional french-taunting (and, thankfully, no vaulted cows).
i've found that french drugstore clerks are not huge fans of the "just looking" types. especially the ones who can't think of the french phrase for "just looking" under the stern gaze of a french pharmacist. from the moment you enter and utter the requisite bonjour madame/monsieur, the clock is ticking. you then have approximately 30 seconds to make your selection and move toward the till. i don't perceive this as soup-nazi arrogance. rather, it's french efficiency.
in the spirit of that efficiency, i offer a small but mighty list of french pharmacy finds. some of them are my own faves from gwynnie's list and some are a few new items i stumbled upon myself. briskly, of course.
i hope you like the list and will share some of your own favorites, too!
marvis whitening mint toothpaste.
the best OTC whitening toothpaste i have ever used. i think they actually sell this brand in my grocery store back home. but being a crest girl (look ma, no cavities!) from way back, i never tried it til we moved here. the shiny silver tube looks glam in the bathroom. and i am convinced my teeth have never been whiter.
weleda amande fluide confort absolu moisturizer.
this was recommended to me by the pharmacist around the corner. my combo dry-oily skin is sensitive and prone to redness. this moisturizer feels rich without being too greasy for day. it absorbs nicely and leaves my skin feeling smooth and fresh.
a. zagorski rose shower gel.
our paris apartment is so full of pink toile and chintz, before we moved in, i liked to say that it looked like sister parrish threw up in here. but being bathed in a rosy glow has really grown on me. and i mean that literally. this rose shower gel is actually made by a pharmacist in my neighborhood. it's gentle to the skin and smells absolutely divine.
klorane gentle dry shampoo with oat milk.
this is one of gwynnie's recommendations and i can see why she loves it. i wash and blow dry my hair twice a week. this stuff really helps to extend a blowout. but unlike other dry shampoos i've tried, this one leaves absolutely no white powder residue. for a messy-chic, half-up, half-down hair trick that is more bardot than snooki-bump, spritz a little at the roots, back-comb gently and secure with a couple bobby pins. pull out a few pieces in front to add softness around your face.
embryolisse lait-creme concentre.
another gwynnie fave that is my new BFF. i use it after the shower as body cream and also as a hand cream. it instantly smooths rough patches on my elbows. it feels creamy, dreamy, and milky but not too greasy. and it has a light, fresh scent that doesn't compete with my perfume.
reminiscence eau de patchouli.
ok, this is number 6 and you can't find it in a french pharmacy. but since i was on the subject of perfume, it would be tough to compete with this one. back in 2001, while in cannes on business (my only other great french adventure), i picked up a sample of perfume at a reminiscence boutique on the croissette. it was called 2000 ans d'amour. for some reason, i didn't buy it, even though i fell instantly in love with it. over the last 10 years, i've sporadically searched for it but it remained an elusive elixir.
so you can imagine the pitter-patter of my heart when i spotted a reminiscence counter at my favorite fancy french department store, printemps. as fate would have it, 2000 ans d'amour has been discontinued. but the clerk produced this bottle instead and said it was very close to the original notes of 2000 ans d'amour. i never thought i was a big patchoui girl, but this one is a sophisticated yet subtle mix of what i love in a perfume: woodsy, sensual and exotic.
kind of like a french pharmacy.