The smallest things can make life seem harder when you move to a foreign city. How do you get your shoes re-heeled? Where do you buy a simple drug like an antihistamine? Or get a pair of pants mended? We’ve made a list of speciality shops to help you out…it’s certainly not exhaustive, so please help us out if you see something missing:
- Dry Cleaners – Nettoyage à sec
- Florist – Fleuriste
- Mender – Retoucherie
- Pharmacy – Pharmacie
- Shoe Repair – Cordonnier
- Tobacco – Tabac
There’s a chain around Paris, 5 a Sec, otherwise you’ll have to google map them. I was a bit surprised by the prices…most are rather expensive. Make sure you ask how much it’s going to cost. Most often they request you pay up front and give you a ticket for pick up. Don’t lose it! Makes things difficult.
Ahhhhh…if there’s one thing I love about Paris as a city is the easy access to flowers. There are usually one or two flower shops on any pedestrian street, and always stalls of them during street markets.
Pharmacies are still a beacon of the strong health care system France offers its countrymen (and inhabitants). They’re not a large merchandise store that combines everyday accessories and over the counter medication…they’re exclusively medicine and some personal hygiene products. Your local pharmacist can give you solid advice about medications to take for your various symptoms (though they can’t prescribe all of them) and recommend you a doctor in your hood or for your specific need. This is where you will get your normal “over the counter” drugs – for headaches, back pains, allergies, etc., NOT your local grocery store. Look for a green cross such as this one which indicated a Pharmacy.
While the Parisian streets and their cobblestones are quaint and romantic, they are not friends of high heels. In fact, we recommend you wear flats to your destination and change to heels, take taxis exclusively (good luck finding one every time, and congrats for being wealthy), or know a good shoe repairman. I have only found bad ones since I came to this city…careless jobs that didn’t nail a new heel on properly, or refused to fix certain elements that needed repair. So if you find a good one, PLEASE recommend it to us all…I hear there’s one in the matrix that is Chatelet- Les Halles…underground…
The French still love to smoke, and most outdoor seating areas have heaters so people can dine, drink and smoke. Cigarettes are allocated to “Tabacs”, as are all forms of tobacco. You’ll often find them coupled at a counter with lotto tickets and attached to a brasserie or press shop. You can sometimes buy cigarettes at the “arabes”…but ask discretely as they’re not supposed to have them. Some bars sell them from behind the counter, as well. A place that sells cigarettes will usually have a sign like the one pictured here outside.