My niece Margaret worked for InStyle magazine in New York City, then a major fashion house, and is now currently working for a very well-known make-up artist who has worked on almost every celebrity US magazine can photograph. Margaret and the make-up artist just completed a tour of the European fashion shows, Margaret backstage at all of them. Another niece of mine, Alanna, who turned 14 years old this summer, was on her way to discover Paris for the very first time this June, with her mom. Margaret wrote on Alanna’s Facebook wall to be sure to stop at the large Monoprix stores (I like the Monoprix on the Champs-Élysées and on rue de Rennes) and shop for cosmetics, and fun make-up. Great tip! I love the large Monoprix stores for exactly this reason. The Monoprix have downright awesome French product lines for make-up and cosmetics. One of my favorite purchases is the Christian Lenart “Eau de Bluets” for the eyes. In the summer, I put this in the refrigerator, and when I return home from a trip, I soak 2 cotton pads and put the pads on my closed eyes. Definition of a relaxing moment.
However, when I want to buy loads of cosmetics and body products, and am feeling very, hmmm, je ne sais quoi, very Parisian, there is only one place to go in Paris: City-Pharma. If you can squeeze your way in, then get everything you need and want because you might not return immediately for any forgotten item on your list. Then again, who needs a list? Just start shopping! Hands down, City-Pharma has the lowest prices you will find anywhere in Paris on cosmetic items, even less than the prices at the Monoprix. The store is located on a corner, on rue du Four, in St.-Germain-des-Pres, and you would miss it if not looking for it as it looks like any other pharmacy with a neon green cross lit up outside its glass front door. However, the few steps leading to the glass doorway are steps to girl-cosmetic-all-in-her-element-shopping nirvana. The product selection in each brand is vast and, with the discounted prices, voilà!
All of the grandes dames of Paris come here; they come with Euro’s, and lots of them. I watched, with bug eyes, one elegantly dressed Parisian grande dame lay €600 right on the counter without any hesitation. Women of all ages shop here, though. Everyone has a basket, brimming with multiple items; plan to bump into baskets, and to stand in long lines to pay. Every French line you can think of is here. I usually buy all of my face creams, hand lotions, body lotions, shampoos and more at City-Pharma. Whenever I fly a Paris trip, this is stop #1. On one trip, I asked the sales assistant, all Parisian perfect in her crisp white jacket and pants, and in my 1st-grade level French, what my 13 year old French step-daughter could use for a face lotion at night. The sales assistant stared at me with a blank stare for what seemed like an eternity, turned her head with the perfect whiff! only French natives can do, and said, “French women only use crème for the face, never lotion!” Oh!
No need to go through my list of items I buy at City-Pharma; five minutes in this pharmacy and you will have your own long list of favorites. Just be sure you bring your credit card with the highest limit.