17 Iconic French Pharmacy Products I Picked Up During a Week in Paris


I just returned from a trip to Paris. It was my first time visiting the French capital. While I was more than excited to drink wine, eat my weight in croissants, and shop along the Champse-Élysées, I was beyond thrilled to be able to walk into my first French pharmacy. As anyone familiar with French pharmacies will tell you, they’re the place to go for highly effective beauty products—usually at a much lower price than you would pay for the same products in the States. Well, if you can get them.

Since France is part of the European Union (EU), it has different cosmetics regulations than the U.S. That means you can buy products that either A) aren’t available in the U.S. or B) have different formulations than those that are available in the U.S. For example, the U.S. hasn’t approved certain UV filters yet, which is why many people (myself included) prefer European and Asian sunscreen formulas over American ones.

But let’s get back to my main point, which is that French pharmacies are the best. I ended up walking into one in the 8th arrondissement. I spent over an hour browsing products, and I left with a small hoard—17 items to be exact. It was no small feat to fit them in my luggage, but I was determined, so I did it. Keep scrolling to see all the products and their U.S. versions and substitutes.

French Pharmacy

17 Products I Bought From the French Pharmacy

Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse


Biafine Emulsion

(Image credit: Biafine)

I can’t write about iconic French pharmacy products and not bring up Biafine. This multipurpose skin salve is used to moisturize the skin and promote healing, which is why it’s often used after chemical peels and laser treatments. Some people swear by it for sunburn.

In the U.S., it’s only FDA-cleared for things like wounds, ulcers, and dermatitis, so you need a prescription from a medical professional. In France, it’s readily available at the pharmacy. (I bought two tubes.) So while you can’t purchase the original Biafine formula stateside, you can shop these nine dupes.


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