Toolkit: La Pharmacie

Although you may not think it, la pharmacie in France is completely different to our anglophone pharmacy.

Firstly, you will only really find medicine in la pharmacie, maybe some toothpaste at a push, but this will be medicinal toothpaste! It is not like in the UK or in the US where pharmacies like Boots or CVS are full of sweet snacks treats and delights. In France la pharmacie is serious business, meaning strictly medical. The French are constantly boasting of how fantastic their pharmacies are and they may in fact be right! You can find a whole host of great medicines to help you when you are feeling a bit under the weather, avoiding the hassle of having to go to see a doctor. This works vice-versa too, unbeknown to most anglophones living in France, there are no pharmaceutical products in supermarkets. So, do not head to Monoprix in search from some ibuprofen or paracetamol as you will most certainly not be able to find it!  

Just as the products in la pharmacie are serious, so too are the pharmacists. Having spent a long time training pharmacists in France are well equipped to deal and advise you with whatever medical issue you may have. Unlike in anglophone countries where the role of the pharmacist is often to deliver your prescription from a doctor, a pharmacist in France can help you with many problems. In fact, sometimes it is easier if you are feeling unwell, to go to la pharmacie, avoiding the fuss of finding and booking and paying for the doctor in France.

Top tip: it is good to know the fax number of the pharmacy as you will need to know it to get your pharmacy.

Photo of an old pharmacy