It’s no secret that French women have the secret to being the most beautiful people in the world. You come to Paris for a lot things- the museums, the food, the ambiance and of course, to immediately feel bad about yourself. Paris is kind of like Miami in that respect, except with less sparkle and more brooding.
I’ve come to the conclusion that it is not, in fact, the consumption of copious amounts of baguette or decadent chocolate displays in store front windows- trust me, I’ve done the research and nothing happened except I was very full and very happy. Instead it seems what they say is true: there is just something about French people. They possess a certain je ne sais quoi that allows them to role out of bed with hair you still can’t copy even with all the product in the Western Hemisphere, and trot out the door like a runway model- gracefully gliding over cobblestone streets like little Tinker Bells in 5 inch heels. This is simply not in my wheelhouse.
So, while I can’t equal them in stiletto skills, I can at least benefit from equality in the beauty aisle. Welcome to the world of the French pharmacy. Unlike in America where you’ll find everything from DVDs to candy and eventually the prescriptions and makeup counter, the pharmacies in Paris deal primarily with the latter two. You’ll see them every block or so, their neon green crosses shining bright over the sidewalks beckoning you in.
But there is one in particular, the Holy Grail of pharmacies, located steps away from Café de Flore that’s a bit like falling down the rabbit hole of French beautydom. The place I speak of is none other than CityPharma (cue angelic choir). But get your elbows ready because this place is worse than the Louvre on free museum Sunday. Every. Single. Day. Starting at 8am.
Sigh. It’s worth it though. CityPharma has the best prices and friendly, English speaking staff willing to help lost looking tourists pointing to products on their iPhones. Plus there are two floors (two!) full to the brim of exotic sounding lotions and potions. The lines are often long but move quickly, so don’t be deterred.
Couple of things to keep in mind whilst you read:
1. Misters are really popular here, so be prepared to hear a lot about them below.
2. Just about everything on this list is multi-purpose, so while you may be buying a mister (see above) it will list its other uses as a toner, make up remover, pillow fluffer, head massager, tiny kitten dispenser, etc.
3. I’ll use the word refreshing a lot. It’s not my fault, most of these products are made from natural ingredients so their scent/feeling is legit refreshing. Let’s play a game and count how many times it happens.
4. As a general rule I don’t want my face to smell like a fruit or a flower throughout the day, so I use most of these products at night. That way they can do their work and I can wash them off in the morning.
5. As previsouly stated in the title, there will be no chocolate, but these are the next best things: