While traveling in Paris, coming down with something, getting an infection, and just not feeling right could be confusing, uncomfortable and downright painful.
You can visit a local pharmacy, notable by the flashing green cross, or green and blue cross, or cross with decoration, etc. The signs come in all shapes and sizes. If you are taking any medications and lose or forget them, bring a copy of the label on your tubes, bottles, and boxes. The pharmacy may be able to help you by re-filling the prescription.
You can visit a pharmacy that offers a 30% discount on most of their products.
Or, you can visit “one of Europe’s oldest pharmacies” for herbal medicines.
Some helpful hints in shopping for over-the-counter remedies follow as your guide to maneuver the Paris pharmacy.
Toothpaste – Made in France
Homéodent – organic flouride and plants and contains no paraben; Citypharma usually sells it in a two pack
Elgydium – Another made in France
Donormyl 15 mg (active ingredient) doxylamine. Depending on the pharmacy, Donormyl costs between 5,30 and 6 euros and is sold over the counter.**
Urinary tract infection
In speaking with my pharmacist, he recommends a brand called “Olioseptil” for minor irritations. Ask for “voies urinaires”. This is for very light infections.
The company, Olioseptil also makes products for intestinal ailments, sore throat, headaches, etc. This product is an antiseptic and is not considered a medicine. It is available without a prescription. It will clear up the problem, but the pharmacist advises seeing your doctor when you return if the discomfort continues.
Olioseptil (voies urinaires) costs about 8 euros’; take one pill, three times a day for five days.
Continue to drink mass quantities of water. It is completely natural with a plant base and no chemicals (it is considered aromathérapie and not homeopathic).
If you wish an antibiotic (Noroxine or Monuril), a prescription is necessary. My infection was more serious and after two days, it was obvious that the “Olioseptil” product had to be replaced by the antibiotic.
If you are extremely persuasive, my doctor said the pharmacist, might relent and give you an antibiotic. If not, ask for the closest doctor for a prescription.
Homeopathic remedies that were recommended to a flight attendant are:
Uromil – comprimé enrobe– (take one table 4 times a day) (this is a green tea product)
Elnsanes – urisanol cranberge (twice a day). These should be considered temporary fixes. These products are available without prescription.
Busserole – A pharmacist at City-Pharma recommended Busserole (the precursor to antibiotics) and cannberge (as a protection) for infections. Busserole is a “petite montagnarde” in Europe (a mountain flower).
Here is a sample note to hand to pharmacist for a urinary tract infection:
“Cette demoiselle semble souffrir d’une infection urinaire. Pouvez-vous lui recommander un médicament
Headache, fever, toothache, cramps (régles douloureuses), etc.
Doliprane is used like aspirin. It contains paracétamol and is available at the pharmacy without a prescription.
Some pharmacies carry Alka-Seltzer; if not, a good substitute is EFFERALGAN. Not expensive, and sold over the counter, Efferalgan contains Paracétamol, fizzes in water, and helps with fever, cramps, cold symptoms, pain from tooth ache or cramps. Do not take more than one at a time.
Colds and flu
L52 is a “miraculous” homeopathic drug against colds and the flu, especially when you want to avoid catching your partner’s bug. — Sylvie’s tip.
More on Pharmacies
Bloom Where You’re Planted provides a book for living in France and their section on Pharmacists and Pharmacies has some important tips:
1. Look for the green cross outside the building; if the cross includes the color blue they sell veterinary products as well;
2. Every neighborhood is required by law to have one pharmacy open on Sundays and holidays (pharmacie de garde); name and location is posted on the door of every pharmacy in France;
3. Parapharmacies are stores; they are not selling medication
4. Pharmacists sell traditional Western medicines (médicaments allopathiques) and/or homeopathic medicines (médicaments homéopathiques) and/or herbal remedies (phytothérapie).
5. Pain and fever: Doliprane (paracétamol) equivalent of Tylenol; fever and inflammation: Neurofen (ibuprofen) equivalent of Advil; adults with sore throats purchase soluble aspirin; for children with fever the non-aspirin Doliprane is recommended.
24-hour and late-night pharmacies, including Sundays and holidays:
Parmacie Dhery, Galerie des Champs-Elysées 01 45 62 02 41
Pharmacie Matignon (8:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. Sundays and holidays: 10 a.m. to 2 a.m.) 01 43 59 86 55
Parmacie Internationale de Paris, 5 place Pigalle (open until 1 a.m.) 01 48 78 38 12
Pharmacie européenne (9th arrondissement) 6, place de Clichy, Metro: Place de Clichy 01 48 74 65 18. Open 24 hours, seven days a week
Open until midnight:
Pharmacie des Arts, 106, boulevard Montparnasse 01 43 35 44 88
Pharmacie des Halles (9 a.m. to midnight – closed Sunday) 01 42 72 03 23
Pharmacie de Saint-Germain des Prés, 45, rue Bonaparte (9 a.m. to midnight every day) 01 43 26 52 92
Open until 11 p.m.:
9, avenue Charles-de-Gaulle, Le Plessis-Robinson 01 46 30 13 06.
Pharmacy with a discount City-Pharma offers a 30% discount on most of their products. They buy in bulk and cut out the middle-man. The store has two floors of traditional medication by prescription, over-the-counter medications, phytothérapie/aromatherapy, Dr. Scholl, ginseng, dietary foods, support hose (compression dégressive); Back Original Flower Essences, products by “le Docteur Jean Valnet”, the father of modern phyto-armoathérapie; seaweed baths, wide variety of toothpastes, etc.
City-Pharma Parapharmacie Discount
Homéopathie, phythothérapie, orthopédie
26, rue du Four, 75006 Paris
01 46 33 20 81
Open Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The old pharmacy
I found the following article in Air France Madam about the Herboristerie de la Place de Clichy:
Behind the pale yellow façade at 87 Rue d’Amsterdam is one of Europe’s oldest pharmacies.
Nothing has changed here since 1880 from the sumptuous woodwork to the shelves rising up to the ceiling and the porcelain jars that contain the ingredients for the house’s herbal remedies. At the Herboristerie (87 Rue d’Amsterdam 75008 Paris (Telephone: 01 48 74 83 32), the power of herbs is not an old wives’ tale–it’s a true science, the ancestor of aromatherapy.
If you suffer from a sore throat (angines), stuffed sinuses (sinusites), insomnia (insomnies) or canker sores*, those tiny vials of thyme, tea tree, melaleuca, etc. can be just what you need. Depending on the customer’s symptoms and general state of health, a pharmacistsphyto therapist prepares the appropriate concoction in carefully measured does. One entire wall is taken up by hundreds of little packets for making herbal teas: basil (basilic) acts as an antiseptic, hibiscus as a toner, hawthorn blossom (l’aubépine en fleurs) helps regulate the heartbeat, and so on. All the plants are gathered wild or grown using organic farming methods. *canker sores was incorrectly translated in the article….
The suggestions for shopping and asking questions in a Paris pharmacy are based on recommendations from flight crews, readers, and my personal experience.
**Donormyl is available over the counter. Erwin suggests a half tablet; you will wake up with a clear head as compared to ambien (stilnox in France). Raisa had the opposite experience with these products. Heather recommends not “drinking too much wine before taking Donormyl or Ambien (or any sleep aid), …side effects may be sleeplessness … and/or sluggishness the next morning.”
As you know, all of these products are taken at your own risk.
If you have anything to add, please write a comment, and I will share with other Colleen’s Paris readers.
Continue to my Over-the-counter page for a lo-o-ng list of over-the-counter ailments and remedies.
Pharmacy Over the Counter Translations (.pdf documents from the old Web site)- over-the-counter pharmaceuticals.