As the founder of Paris, Perfected and a self-proclaimed Francophile, I don’t think any trip to Paris is complete without a stop to a French pharmacy to stock up on beauty products.
Going to CityPharma in Paris in particular is truly a favorite past time as it is a mecca for discounted French beauty products. Don’t miss it on your next trip to Paris and be sure to look out for the majority of the brands mentioned in this post! They also offer a variety of products that are exclusive to France and you won’t find in the U.S. so definitely worth exploring each and every aisle at this Saint Germain spot.
What to Buy at CityPharma in Paris
CityPharama is located at 26 Rue du Four in the 6ème arrondissement of Paris, often referred to as Saint-Germain-Des-Prés. It is beloved not only for its selection of beauty products spanning the entire first floor of this three story pharmacy, but also because it offers the most attractive prices on French beauty brands.
That being said, I will admit that the selection can be a bit overwhelming. So to help you navigate the experience, I’ve put together a little handy check list of some of my favorite products for you to grab while you’re shopping.
If you plan to spend quite a bit, be sure to bring your passport so you can get the proper paperwork for your VAT refund.
And don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations! The staff that work at Citypharma, several of whom speak English, are so knowledgable. And if you tell them what you’re looking for and about your skin type, they should be able to offer up some great suggestions for you to add to your cart and try when you get home.
Lastly, if you don’t feel comfortable speaking French and are looking for particular products, I think it is helpful to have photos on your phone to help guide the staff to source what you’re hoping to purchase.
Without further delay, here are some of the best French beauty products I think are worth picking up when shopping at Citypharma.
Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré
This nourishing face cream protects against free radicals and will leave your skin feeling calm, soft, smooth & comfortable. French makeup artists swear by this cream and always have it on their kits. Its also loved by many a celebrity and I love that it works so seamlessly under makeup.
I buy this product in the mini size as it is great for travel since it is part moisturizer, part makeup primer.
La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Balm B5
La Roche Posay reigns supreme over French pharmacies for good reason. This line is beloved in particular by those with sensitive skin.
I personally love their Cicaplast line – especially the Balm B5. It’s like a fancy aquaphor for your face but more wearable. It’ll repair your skin barrier and help it recover from any irritation. They also have a spray form which is nice.
NUXE Huile Prodigieuse Multi-Purpose Dry Oil
The OG French oil I ever bought and loved. You can use this elixir full of essential oils all over your body, on your hair, on your cuticles – really anywhere you’d like some healthy looking shine. I love that there’s no shimmer to this oil and how quickly it absorbs. French women love to add a few drops to their body lotion as well.
Christophe Robin Purifying Sea Salt Scalp Scrub
My scalp cleanser of choice – I use this as my shampoo and I always, always restock it when I am at Citypharma.
Christophe Robin is a famous celebrity colorist and this product put him on the map.
The scrub feels like a spa treatment to use and detoxifies your scalp from any product build up or irritation. I’ve gone through more tubs of this stuff than I can count over the last ten years! It’s an Allure Best of Beauty award winner and I am always stockpiling the minis for travel as I can’t be without this stuff!
Cauadlie Beauty Elixir
Beloved by makeup artists for being so multi-purpose, you’ll find women using the Caudalie Beauty Elixir all over France and it is always stocked on the shelves of Citypharma – readily available in both travel sized and full sized.
As a setting spray, as a way to refresh makeup, as a therapeutic ritual – you name it, this spray is one of my holy grail skincare products and I prefer to buy it in the travel size so I can have one on me when I am on the go. It is great for travel days in particular as it’ll help refresh dry skin.
In general, I love the Caudalie selection at CityPharma and you’ll find several SKUs that aren’t available in the U.S. which is fun!
Related: Caudalie Skincare Review
Bioderma – Sensibio – H2O Micellar Water
Sensibio H2O is the best selling cleansing and makeup removing micellar water that first made micellar waters popular as makeup removers. It removes impurities and makeup super gently. It’s in so many bathrooms around France and I prefer it to the U.S. brands that sell something similar.
At CityPharma you’ll find a plethora of products from the Bioderma brand that feature their micellar water – makeup wipes, cleansing milks, eye makeup remover and more.
This Vitamin A cream is beloved by French women for its ability to serve as a retinol for plumping fine lines and makes skin look fresh.
This product is going to be found behind the cashier’s counter though so be sure to ask for it as you check out.
Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk
My favorite dry shampoo for nearly five years. This does such a good job of soaking up oil, giving hair texture and volume at the root. It’s not overly fragrant or powder-y, either.
Avene Thermal Spring Water
This spray soothes and softens skin and is amazing for those with sensitive skin. It’ll provide antioxidant protection and overall I just find it so comforting to apply. Pro tip: buy the minis to have in your purse and carry on. The mist is particularly lovely to spray on hot days!
I always have the minis on hand in my purse in the summer as it is a life saver when waiting for the subway on a hot day!
Erborian BB Cream
The very best BB Cream that I am obsessed with and always stock up on at Citypharma because the price can’t be beat.
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Don’t miss more of the best French skin care products I love as well if you’re looking for more inspiration.
There are of course plenty of places to shop for beauty products that I also include in my Paris shopping guide but if you’re looking for even more up to date recommendations, reach out to me via Paris, Perfected and I can help you! I also have connections with personal shopping appointments in Paris if that’s of interest.
Want to step inside Citypharma with me further? Check out this TikTok video.
Heading to Paris? Book Paris, Perfected with me and get customized recommendations based on your travel preferences to make your next trip to Paris the best one yet.
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I wish I had this when I was in Paris last April! I had to pick up some cortisone cream for my daughter’s skin irritation, and when I walked into the pharmacy near our hotel, it was mobbed with women buying skincare products! I didn’t have time to do too much browsing, but will save this list for next time!
Glad you can bookmark it for your return!!
Thank you for this list!
So glad you found it helpful!