Pricey Essentials To Avoid Buying At France's Iconic Pharmacies, Per A Local's TikTok

These days, you probably won't find toothpaste in your hotel room, and even the essentials that are provided — such as shampoo and body wash — may not suit your personal needs (raise your hand if your hair has ever been turned to straw by hotel shampoo and conditioner). If you're in France, you have to might run to the nearest pharmacy to stock up on these and other toiletries, but according to TikToker @americanfille, doing so might cost you a pretty penny.

The content creator and resident of France explained in a video that French pharmacies, easily identified by their big "pharmacie" signs and green cross icons, aren't like the pharmacies and drugstores in some other countries. Rather, they're a place to buy expensive, name-brand hygiene goods.


4 ways to save money in Paris 🤑#GuideToParis #paris #esim

♬ original sound – Amanda Rollins

She explains: "While it's true that French pharmacies are incredible and the skincare in there is literally top of the line, it's not the best place to go for things like shampoo or soap or deodorant or just, like, those little items."

Where to buy basic toiletries when visiting France

If you'd rather spend your travel funds on cute cafés, macarons, and croissants in France, skip the pricey items sold in the local pharmacies and head to a more budget-friendly shop instead. In her video, @americanfille suggests buying soap, toothpaste, and other everyday toiletries at supermarkets and department store chains, including Monoprix, Carrefour, Supermarché G20, Franprix, Auchan, and Hema. Some users commented on the TikTok clip to suggest a few other affordable retailers, such as Normal, Action, and Lidl.

Note that chain stores can sometimes be small in busy city districts and near train stations, so the selection of toiletries might be limited. If you need to grab multiple bathroom products, consider stopping by a larger store, often found away from the city centers and in more residential areas. For example, shop at Carrefour instead of one of its smaller Carrefour City or Carrefour Express shops.

What should you buy at French pharmacies?

France's iconic pharmacies might not be ideal for budget travelers, but if you want to experience Paris like a Parisian (or any other French city, for that matter), do as the locals do and pick up an item or two from a pharmacy during your trip. As @americanfille mentioned, French pharmacies are renowned for their high-quality skincare products. If you're looking to upgrade your current moisturizer — or just need a good sunblock while on vacation — head to a pharmacy for top-notch goods.

La Roche-Posay is one French skincare label that both tourists and locals flock to the pharmacies for, and the brand offers a variety of items from facial mists to soothing balms. Avène, Vichy, and Bioderma are a few other popular skincare brands sold in French pharmacies.

Despite the pharmacies being more expensive than the local supermarkets and general stores, the skincare items inside often retail for a lower price compared to what you might find online or in your home country. For instance, TikToker @elizabethvictoriaclark said she found Caudalie products "for about 20-30 dollars ... cheaper than what we pay at home" (she is based in Toronto, Canada). If you consider yourself a skincare junkie, stopping by a pharmacy in France could ultimately save you a little money.