This a sign that you’ll find often in France, the green flickering cross of the pharmacy. Here are a couple of things you should know about pharmacies in France.  

What is it ?

Don’t worry there won’t be big reveals, pharmacies are places to buy medicine, but a couple elements differ from what you may know in your country.

What is sold in a pharmacy ?

In France, a pharmacy ONLY sells medicine. Compared to some countries where pharmacies also sell everyday products, you won’t find any TP or last minute grocery in a pharmacy in France.

What is a parapharmacie ?

Parapharmacie is a category of product found in pharmacies and supermarkets linked to health and beauty. It’s not medicine. It’ll be more skincare, dietary supplements etc.

Can I find medicinal products outside

of a pharmacy ?

Answer is simple no. From Ibuprofen to the very specific medicine you might need for a condition like asthma, it’s always in a pharmacy, never in a supermarket. 

What about emergency situations ?

In France, pharmacies like any other shops have classic opening hours from like 10 am to 7 or 8 pm.

However, for emergency situations, the pharmacies of a city or a neighbourhood organise opening shifts. These are the “pharmacie de garde”. You’ll find there the closest pharmacie de garde to your location.

How does it work to get my

medicine ?

Do I always need a prescription to get

medicine ?

No, some of the meds are available without any prescription. For minor conditions like a cold, a little fever etc, you don’t have to go to the doctor to get a prescription. Just go to the pharmacy and explain your situation, they’ll give you the product you need.

However, some meds require a prescription. Giving you an exact list of the meds available with or without a prescription would be too long and boring. You may just go to the closest pharmacy and ask if you can get the product.

How can I get a prescription ? 

Pharmacists are not allowed to prescribe medicine. Doctors only can.

Thus, if you need a specific medicine, get to the GP first. Here is the article about going to the doctor.

Tips : 

  • Pharmacists only sell medicine and don’t prescribe, only the doctors can.
  • Don’t forget your Carte Vitale, it’ll help you have your meds reimbursed.
  • For minor conditions, pharmacists can just sell you some products if they are available without a prescription.

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