French Drugstore Finds & More - une femme d'un certain âge

Thursday Miscellany: French Pharmacie Finds & More…

Avene eau thermale hydrating sunscreen spf 50+. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

From The French Drugstore…

Some of the best shopping in France can be found at the corner pharmacie. The pharmacists are knowledgeable and helpful, even when it comes to non-medical needs such as skincare.

I’d packed sunscreen for my face, but when I realized I’d need for my arms and feet as well, a pharmacist in Beaune recommended this one. (The packaging is slightly different in France, but it’s the same formula). It’s water-resistant, paraben-free, and doesn’t leave a whitish cast or streaks. It does use chemical ingredients, but does not contain oxybenzone. I found it very soothing on the skin, and give two thumbs up.

I’d forgotten to replace my travel-sized deodorant before we left, and discovered it had pretty well dried out. I grabbed this one based on “0% Aluminum Chlorohydrate” on the label (gives me a rash) and am quite pleased with it. No marks on clothing, no irritation, and no odor, even after a full day of trudging around Paris in the heat and humidity.

Un peu de Provence

Winding street in Provence. My Stylish French Box for August will have a Provence theme! Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Sharon is now taking orders for My Stylish French Box for August. (You can read about the May box HERE.) The theme of this box will be Summer Living in Provence, and as always will be a fabulous assortment of uniquely French items, hand-selected by Sharon. These beautiful subscription boxes are offered four times per year, and always sell out. They make lovely gifts too. I can’t wait to see the Provence-themed goodies Sharon has chosen!

Town square in Provence. My Stylish French Box for August will have a Summer in Provence theme. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Getting Back On Track…

Bowl of summer fruit salad: nectarines, strawberries, melon, raspberries.

After pretty much eating our way through France, 😉 le Monsieur and I were both feeling a bit bloated upon our return home. We’re back to our fresh-fruit-for-breakfast routine, and trying to stick to lighter meals overall. Usually on vacation we do enough walking to compensate for more and richer food, but this time with the heat we didn’t walk as much or as vigorously. I was relieved to find that I’d only gained a pound, was expecting more.

Tuscan melons, nectarines, and berries are all very good this time of year!

It’s Almost That Time…

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Early Access. For tips on how to shop the sale, visit une femme d'un certain age.

Those of you with a Nordstrom credit card will be able to shop the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale beginning tomorrow. I’ll be posting some of my top picks as soon as the sale goes “live.”

Look, I’ll be the first to admit this sale gets over-hyped. But because the merchandise is new-for-fall, it can still yield some good buys if you approach it with the right attitude and some simple strategies.

  • First, keep your expectations grounded. You probably won’t be able to refresh your entire fall wardrobe in this one sale. Be targeted, be discriminating.
  • Start by perusing the catalog to identify any pieces or brands that catch your eye. Make a note of the item number, and search by that first. But be aware that not everything in the sale is included in the catalog, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t see a favorite brand included. (I had a chance to peruse some of the Anniversary Sale items at our local store yesterday, and there’s a LOT that isn’t reflected in the catalog.)
  • Make a list of the brands you usually do well with, and search by brand next. Some of mine are:
    Eileen Fisher
    Paul Green
    Cole Haan
  • Then, search by an item type you may be looking for, example “women’s coats and jackets

Again, I’ll be sharing my “first round draft picks” tomorrow, so do check back.

Stay in touch.

Affiliate links in posts may generate commissions for See my complete disclosure policy here.


  1. Michelle McGowan
    July 11, 2019 / 9:01 am

    I love Parisian pharmacies, and Avene sunscreen. Always stock when I’m there (and they often have a gift with purchase)!

  2. July 11, 2019 / 10:12 am

    I have fond memories of Le Drugstore in Paris. They had a café too. Good sandwiches! I remember sitting at a table by a Standard French Poodle who was also sitting in a chair.

    • July 11, 2019 / 4:07 pm

      Linda, that is a “false friend” in French. A drugstore implies all the non-pharmaceuticals found in large American pharmacies. Including a café. French pharmacies sell only medications (prescription or not) and related items such as skincare products, quality toothbrushes, some cosmetics (especially for people with allergies or sensitive skin etc. Great memory!

  3. Daniella
    July 11, 2019 / 1:14 pm

    Instead of using an anti-perspirant I use baby powder generously under my arms and breasts, including feet as well. I stay dry all day regardless of temperatures!

  4. Julie
    July 12, 2019 / 6:02 am

    Ive spent a considerable amount of time in France. I have a deep love of Provence. Have you explored that area? How do you feel about spending time in the countryside and smaller villages vs the Paris. Just wondering.

  5. Elizabeth
    July 12, 2019 / 8:27 am

    Have really enjoyed reading your posts on this trip to France. I have family who summer in the Haute Alpes Provence ( SE France ) & we have spent time with them there. Yes, the pharmacies are great places to stop in & always offer a quick answer and product during a visit. They also have the most wonderful soaps, so I stock up before returning to Canada. Although not available at pharmacies, I am trying out a new tinted mineral facial sunscreen by Yves Rocher, an environmentally conscious French company with stores throughout France ( is also international ). I love this new product, ” 100% Mineral Fluid Flawless Skin”, SPF 30 & it gives a nice glow to my face ( have fair skin ). Also follow another blog, Canadian, and today’s post was on a recent trip to Paris, Carcassonne and Toulouse. You might enjoy it, Susan. See

  6. Deb from north of Toronto
    July 12, 2019 / 10:11 am

    Having just returned from Brittany, Normandy and, as of yesterday, 4 days in Paris, I concur with Susan’s and others comments. I live in Ontario, Canada and we are lucky to have Caudalie, Avene, Nuxe, Yves Rocher and several other quality lines from France at our Shoppers Drug Mart stores in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), thus avoiding me needing to add weight to my already full suitcase.
    I really enjoy your blog, thank you

  7. Kelly
    July 13, 2019 / 7:03 am

    On the deodorant, I see that you said no marks on clothing so I assume you meant no white marks on dark clothes. Do you know if it leaves yellow stains on white tees? I’ve only found Degree’s Ultraclear to not cause the yellow stains. I’d love to try a natural deodorant but don’t want to buy new white shirts every year.

    • Susan B
      July 13, 2019 / 7:15 am

      Hi Kelly, I haven’t worn it with white tees, but did wear with white linen shirts and no yellowing that I can discern.

    • citizen spot
      July 13, 2019 / 9:37 am

      I have read that the aluminum in antiperspirants is what is responsible for yellow staining of white fabrics. The aluminum compound is used to make the skin cells around the sweat glands swell and thus constrict the gland outlets to reduce sweating. It reacts with the minerals in your sweat to cause the yellow staining. If you find an aluminum free deodorant (not antiperspirant) it should not generate the yellow stains on white or light colored shirts. The aluminum free deodorants run from just no aluminum but all of the other chemical soup to truly all natural ingredients. I guess you just have to filter them out by how natural a product you are looking for.

      • Kelly
        July 13, 2019 / 1:07 pm

        Thanks for the info!

      • Susan B
        July 13, 2019 / 1:25 pm

        That’s very helpful, thank you!

  8. July 13, 2019 / 4:30 pm

    Best deodorant I’ve ever used is Nuud. It ocmes in a biodegradable package, is non-toxic, and lasts for days. You do have to order on line. i thought because it was from Europe I’d be able to find it in France but no. It’s a bit pricey, but more than a month in, I think it’s worth it because of the amazingly small amount necessary.

  9. RebeccaNYC
    July 23, 2019 / 6:30 am

    Sanex is one of the things I ALWAYS come home with! Funnily, a couple of years ago I read an article about what French products visitors bring home. Sanex was in the top 10 list! I brought home only 2 this year, and I am regretting it already.

    Funny French pharmacy story: I am highly allergic to some biting insect in France, and without screens in windows, I would end up covered in enormous, weeping bites. My first summer, I visited the pharmacy, looking for some rubbing alcohol to dry out the sores. When I asked the Pharmacist where the rubbing alcohol was located, he questioned me carefully about what I intended to do with it. When I told him, he refused to sell it to me, saying it would not help at all. Then he looked me straight in the eye and very seriously said “COURAGE, Madame”. I must have looked so pitiful. (I later discovered that rubbing alcohol is sold in the grocery store, and it helped….a LOT.) I now travel with mesh curtains from IKEA, put plug-in bug cartridges in every available outlet and always have bug spray with me. Even with all that, I always get at least 1 – 2 huge bites every summer. COURAGE, indeed.

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