Posted by: Kristie | October 3, 2009

What You Find in a French Pharmacy

On Monday, we decided to head to the market in nearby Forcalquier, a small town roughly 30 minutes from where we’re staying. Once there, we noticed an open pharmacy and I needed some allergy medicine so I thought I’d stop in. I also remembered I needed deodorant (somehow my actual deodorant fell out of its container without me noticing) and new toothbrushes (thought we’d be on the safe side with Brett’s illness).

I have this bad habit of not checking prices when I’m in these little pharmacies. I don’t know what it is, the fact that they’re small and the people are urging to help or the fact that I panic because I can’t say in French “I’m just looking” so I feel like I can’t just look. I get in there, grab what I need and checkout as soon as possible. The cashier rings up my purchase and the total was 27 euros! That equates to roughly $40! But here’s the real kicker. The deodorant, at the bargain price of €9,50, reminds me of Ban’s old-school roll-on and is just an anti-perspirant, with no lovely smell like I like in my normal deodorant (at least it seems to work, so far). The toothbrushes, at €5,50 each!!, were so friggin soft it barely felt like anything had touched my teeth. I think they might have been kids toothbrushes, therefore they went into the garbage. And finally the allergy medicine, which priced at €6 seemed to be the most reasonable, is a 4-pill-a-day remedy, which I have decided not to undertake yet.

You would think I would learn my lesson. Well, to be fair, I actually did learn my lesson. I also needed contact solution because I mistakenly bought solution for gas permeable contacts (which supposedly will ruin my soft contacts), so instead of buying it in a pharmacy, we made a trip to a large grocery store. Unfortunately, they didn’t sell contact solution. Some things only pharmacies can sell, but I assumed contact solution was not one of those items. Since I really needed it, I went to the pharmacy in the nearby town of Banon. The selection was slim, only 2-3 options, and the woman couldn’t speak English so there was a lot of gesturing. I decided to go with the brand that I was familiar with, but this time I checked the price first. TWENTY-FIVE EUROS!! For contact solution! But what could I do? I needed it and I didn’t necessarily trust the other brands. At least it looked like a pretty large bottle, so I ponied up the cash. I get home, go to take out my contacts, and here’s what I find:

30 individual bottles of contact solution for the bargain price of 25 euros.

30 individual bottles of contact solution for the bargain price of 25 euros.

Is that not the most hilarious thing you’ve ever seen? Thirty miniature bottles of contact solution. How travel friendly.



  1. Can I leave my solution at home and just help use up yours?!?! Holy moley.

    You’ve got Excedrin Migraine and some slippers on their way to you, via my luggage. Relief comes Friday night :).

    Also, what did you think of the French healthcare system? How did you deal w/ travel health insurance (forget if you have it?)?

    • Of course you can use my contact solution. No worries. Thanks so much for the goods – really appreciate it!

      Regarding the French healthcare system, Brett thought the hospital we went to seemed think it was “third world,” but he can fill you in on that later. He just didn’t like that they didn’t have toilet paper in one of the bathrooms. We have our regular health insurance and then we have travel insurance that will cover major accidents, but for this, it was just 50 euros for the visit so we just paid it out of pocket. Cheaper, even with the exchange rate, than most U.S. emergency room co-pays.

  2. Awesome, thanks on the solution. I figure you’ll want to get rid of some of those so I can help by using them up :). They look like they’d be larger than one-use bottles… right?

    That certainly is a good deal on the healthcare – $50!

    I finally got AT&T to agree to let me use my phone overseas, so I’ll be reachable on that. Yay!

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