Wednesday, October 08, 2014

City Pharma, Les Deux Magots

Some clever travelers know Paris is a Mecca for makeup and City-Pharma is their bargain land Holy Grail.
26, rue du Four 75004

I met up with two clever ducks Cheryl and Debbie last Tuesday because they'd ordered the Archive of 6 Paris Sketch Letters and they wanted to pick them up while in Paris (so no shipping and instant gratification). 

They raved about the goodies they bought at City-Pharma and even shared a bed shot of their magnificent haul. Yum Yum

I pass this corner (rue Bonaparte and rue du Four) dozens of times a week but never venture in.

I have always been mystified by French cosmetic and hardly put anything on my face but cold water and a dash of makeup. Well that's changed. French girls don't put water on their faces because of the calcite.
It's best to go early as possible. CP opens at 8:00 am everyday but Sunday.

Other customers seems to know what they want and are busy checking off lists like Santa Claus.

The only shopping bag I ever filled to the brim was full of macarons...hmmm

I do love gazing at French packaging.

Aren't these bottles pretty?

At last a product I know thanks to Veronique Marot who said I must get Bioderma Crealine H2O to remove makeup. I still have a few drops from the bottle I bought after my photo shoot with Carla Coulson and Veronique. Time to replace. City-Pharma has bargain bins, so I picked up a Bioderma for 2,98. Clean off your makeup at night with this stuff and you look like a newborn in the morning. It even did  swell job cleaning my macaron bracelet. I'm def going back for the big 2-bottle deal (15€). Their prices are lower than Monoprix FYI.

Everyone swears by Nuxe so I invested in this little trial packet. Their ads in the shops say, 
"Je suis Prodigieuse"

Which always makes me think of religieuse (close spelling).

Here's my mini haul. I was looking for baby powder and grabbed liniment instead(1,98). For some unknown reason toothbrushes cost a fortune in Paris. At City-Pharma only 1,90€. Chewing gum too is pricey. Here just 1,98. You can see I didn't go the full French beauty traitement route. I need to study up. A good place to start is THE CUT's Must-Have list of what to buy at City-Pharma.

These his and her bath mitts are Not on The Cut's list. But I see French girls scrubbing themselves with mitts like crazy post-pool in the showers. They bring tons of lotions. Must take notes next pool visit...

One big problem with shopping at City-Pharma is the lines. This is the downstairs line going round the corner.

They offer 17 caisses (cash registers) one flight up but I didn't see them.

True you can get prescriptions filled here but it's still crowded as heck.

Whilst searching for non-existent baby powder I was directed to the back and down the stairs.

There I discovered a short, fast line and a back entrance. Shhhh

I convinced Cheryl and Debbie to hop over to cafe Les Deux Magots for quick coffee and a short walk from City-Pharma. They'd never been.

Deux Magots is one of my favorite cafes in Paris and they couldn't be nicer. Just a tener for a cafe crรจme, a divine croissant and jam.
More Deux Magot pictures on Flickr.
The perfect place to unwind after foraging for treasures at City-Pharma non?
More City-Pharma pictures on Flickr.


Jeanette, Mistress of Longears said...

I avidly studied your list and looked at the pics - then I realized I won't be able to get these products stateside, so I decided to aim for a more achievable goal: The full Bakery bag!!! Setting goals is so important at my age.

donna baker said...

You should have seen me in the City Phamacie asking for the Preparation H for bags under my eyes. The FDA in USA removed the ingredient that shrinks the bags under your eyes about 20 years ago and the only places to get the original Prep H is in foreign countries. Deux Magots was the first place I ate in Paris. Such history.

Parisbreakfasts said...

Did they have it Donna?
Wow what a good idea. The stuff I got for that Caudalie Vinexpert costs a fortune

La Table De Nana said...

:) Donna..

Pharmacies are huge here in the cosmetic depts..well the nice ones..and there are temptations in every aisle..I was able to pick up that is nice..but I am now stuck on towelettes..and of all I have tried..not many mind you..I like the Kirkland ones..(Costco if you can believe)
Our pharmacies carry extensive and well varied French lines..But I know nothing beats buying in Europe...if only for the feeling.
I just just ran out of my huge facial mister..(yes I brought it home..)
What a great price on those small trials.I would have bought that too..I even love tiny samples..just don't shop for $$ enough cosmetics .to get some..except my Kiehl's Facial Fuel Eye De Puffer .Thank goodness it lasts for months on end.I know TMI.
Love the ind jam pot at Les 2 Magots..I would go there!
Have they seen your wonderful aquarelle?It should be there framed..for all to see.

What a stash the girls got..even herbes..I have that half moon tin..of one of their products..salt or herbs?
FUN post.

Annabel said...

Some people are Very Prodigieuse about their dessert research. And others know their makeup elixers. I'll stick with the dessert gang.

Pascal said...

I would Love to be a fly on the wall when you bring out Mickey Mouse mitten at the pool showers.
That's showing those Frenchies!

Barbara Lilian in France said...

I can't believe the queue, longer than in my local super-marche.
Even in small village Pharmacies, every one comes out with carrier bags brimming over.

amola-tesouras said...

Citypharma is terrible and claustrophobic but full of goodies at great prices. I love going there!

Merisi in Vienna said...

Magnificent, looks like a perfect day!

Anonymous said...

I wish my suitcase was big enough when I went to Paris last June. I got one bottle of the Bioderma H2O. I just recently started using make up regularly and yes it works like magic. I cannot imagine runnng out, there is always Amazon but you have to pay quadruple the price. I wonder why they do not make these products here in the US.

Cheryl Taylor said...

I love this blog entry, of course, being a part of it with my best friend, Debbie. SO cool! What a great time we had. Merci! Love the watercolors you did here. Will be one of my favorite memories from this trip. The herb tins were from Pomi Veme Glace, a little vegetable and fruit place on rue Mouffetard. I bought quite a few of them.

Parisbreakfasts said...

I wish you would come to Paris Monique. With your sharp eyes! I didn't even see the herb tins on the bed..Plus all the other stuff you noted. You could lead shopping tours. Sign me up!

Deborah williams said...

I was so excited to here about the blog. Cheryl and I were very fortunate to have the opportunity to meet Carol while in paris. We love the 6 archive newsletters. It was exciting to share our shopping adventure to City Pharma and to be turned on to a couple of places. We went to Cafe Les Deux Maggots and had coffee, croissants and jam and to Le BonBon au Palais where we met the shopkeeper, George. Looking forward to the next paris breakfast letters.

Parisbreakfasts said...

Space in Paris is at a premium in general. Not many CVS here.

Frances said...

Oooh Carol, your brie adventure looked from my point of view to be bliss! Yes, brie from its home could not be surpassed.

The special pharmacie also looked like an insider's sort of place. Not too much delicious ambiance, but a source of products you'd like to find at prices that are attractive. Perhaps not too different from some of our NYC treasure spots.

And of course, the croissants and cafe aux Deux Maggots speaks for itself.

We've now got sweater weather here, with the radiators doing their eveing whistling to keep our overnight toes, etc., cosy.

Best wishes dear Carol. xo

365 Dresses said...

I've walked by that pharmacie hundreds of times in the last 25 years! I think this year I'll have venture in and check it out. Some of the products I know, but other are new to me. Thanks for a great post!

Jill@MadAboutMacarons said...

Hehe, I love how you sneaked in the pastries on a pharmacie hunt. I'm all for the pastries while my daughter is big into creams and potions and lotions. These City Pharmas are springing up more - especially here in the suburbs. I also hate the queues, though. You're right: much better sitting devouring a Religieuse or a croissant somewhere cool.

When I had a facial recently (I asked for Sharon Stone but somehow it didn't work) they suggested I stop using soap and water and use a mineral water spray with a pump dispenser of cleanser. Nope. It was an expensive way to have the same face, I think. I'll stick to the pastries. Love your watercolour croissant, Carol.

Unknown said...

This definitely my kind of day. Shopping for bargains and then a cafรฉ afterward. How lovely and memorable. Un jour......

JudyMac said...

The Cafe Creme and croissants at Deux Magots may be great, but the roast beef sandwich I had there a couple of weeks ago was like biting into a brick, not to mention short on roast beef. Definitely a thumbs down at US$26, including a Coke Zero. Much better lunch two years ago at Cafe de Flore and a much friendlier waiter. Too bad I didn't discover the Pharmacy place, but alas it's a problem getting these goodies back Stateside.

Geri said...

I enjoy browsing the local Home Goods or TJ Maxx for French and British products - off price of course. I believe your blog is becoming quite "prodigieuse' travel wise! Never managed to get to that cafe but it is on my list. Always enjoy your croissant paintings!

Anonymous said...

is it qua-sant or cro-sant?

Nikon said...

I love the watercolors!
The cosmetics shopping frenzy is a little hard to believe!
I do miss the pharmacies, though (in Italy).

Sarah said...

Carol, thanks for another address to add to my Paris notes. Can't imagine how many times I've passed by this, but never knew. I do now! I've only been home two weeks and already want to return.
I always enjoy a cafe creme and croissant at Cafe Les Deux Magots and sometimes more. Your watercolors are delightful as always.

dot said...

Love that you covered this. I once ventured into that store and it was a mob scene! By accident I also found the ParaShop chain, which is almost as good at City and is much less crowded. I visited the one on Ave Opera and it was pretty large and the staff was nice. Also the time I was there they also offered detaxe if you spent 200€ or more (not sure if that is still true though). I discovered that by accident as I stood in line behind a woman who was loading up on Phyto hair products.

Charming Paris Apartment said...

Oooh, I've never been to CityPharma, who knew what I was missing!!!!!

c'est Jeff ici said...

I have a much different association with Paris drug stores. Whenever I have felt ill in Paris I have found that the Paris drug store is the best place to go. The pharmacist in a Paris drug store seems to be almost (or maybe even better) as well trained as an American GP. A runny nose, sore throat, infection, bruises, tooth aches, leg cramps, all found the right, effective, medicine in a Paris drug store.

Louise said...

Oh this post is pure inspiration! I've wandered into a few Parisian pharmacies in my time, but usually wandered out empty handed, unless looking for toothpaste, and having searched the supermarket for what seemed like hours to no avail. The skin products are overwhelming to those of us who are sadly non French. I will definitely check out the Luxe oil. I use a rose hip oil here, and will be keen to check out the difference.

Anonymous said...

LOVE this post! One of my favorite things to do when in Paris is buy toiletries and cosmetics, along with pastries of course. It was so much fun to read and made me feel like I was back in Paris. Shopping and dining on deliciously crisp croissants is a must. Next time, I'm back for the long haul and can't wait to check out City-Pharma. Merci! - Julia

Merisi said...

Your comment made me smile: I love browsing TJ Maxx and Marshall for the same reason and miss both stores here in Europe!

Jeanie said...

Now that's something I did not do in Paris and is going into the Next Time book. Sigh! And to wrap it all up with a snack like that. Perfect!

Parisbreakfasts said...

Yes, one must wrap up one's activities with a delightful snack..especially if jam is involved.

Parisbreakfasts said...

Leg cramps? Oooo I could use something for that. It is terific how they are a substitute doctor visit on the spur of the moment.

Leslie in Oregon said...

Try tonic water. It works for my husband!