It’s famous for fine wines, breathtaking architecture and classic delicacies, but for a rapidly growing number of TikTokers, the main reason to visit France is to shop at one of its pharmacies to bag ‘magical’ beauty and wellness products that aren’t so readily available elsewhere.
Underscoring just how popular this activity is for beauty gurus and viewers alike, TikTok videos with the hashtag #frenchpharmacy have been viewed 137million times.
Dedicated TikToker Ava Lee lives in New York and told MailOnline Travel she hopped straight off the plane to stock up on products from CityPharma – a Parisian pharmacy that has seen a boom in popularity, with eager tourists queuing out of the door to get their hands on items.
Ava, a Korean digital creator who posts to TikTok as ‘glowwithava’, has become something of a one-woman sales industry for French beauty items, sharing buying tips online with 1.7million followers.
Speaking to MailOnline, Ava said she buys at least 10 products when she visits a pharmacy, and on one occasion, even brought a whole suitcase to fill with cosmetics.
Dedicated TikToker Ava Lee (above) lives in New York and told MailOnline Travel she hopped straight off the plane to stock up on products from a Parisian pharmacy. TikTok videos with the hashtag #frenchpharmacy have been viewed 137million times
Explaining her interest, she said: ‘I just love French beauty products. Some of the biggest beauty brands originate from France, so that’s where I got some interest and it’s fascinating every time I go. I love it.’
The 32-year-old said she flies to CityPharma at least twice a year and is planning another trip in November.
Taking her followers along on the journey, her TikTok videos have become so popular that people have started recognising her in store.
‘Last time when I was at CityPharma there were people walking around with screenshots of my face,’ she said.
The content creator explained she had seen her followers holding up her videos in a desperate search to find the recommended products in store.
In one TikTok video, Ava revealed a haul of must-have products from the pharmacy. She said: ‘I’m back in Paris and you guys know the drill, the first stop was the pharmacy and here’s everything that I got.’
Ava Lee said she visits CityPharma, Paris, at least twice a year and is planning another trip to France in November. She described sun cream as an essential skincare product (left) and picked up a tube of Embryolisse moisturizer (right)
Ava said she always stocks up on Biafine
Ava said she ran to the Caudalie section to get her hands on sunscreen, claiming they aren’t available in the US.
The TikToker then showed her followers Biafine’s skin emulsion product, a moisturiser intended to treat and prevent dry skin.
Ava said: ‘Biafine is one that I always stock up on. I like to get it and I always like to give it to my friends as well. It’s super cheap and I like to use it for my mosquito bites as well, not just for skincare purposes.’
In the TikTok video, Ava then picked up a tub of Embryolisse cream, which she described as ‘every make-up artist’s favourite moisturiser before make-up’.
Moving onto the perfume aisle, Ava picked up a bottle of Nuxe pink. She said: ‘I got the pink version last year which I liked so much more than the original one so I got another one.’
On a previous visit to her favourite pharmacy, Ava said she regrets not picking up the hyaluron filler from Eucerin.
According to the product’s website, it is intended to counteract the ageing process, by stimulating your skin’s production of hyaluronic acid by up to 256 per cent.
Ava’s video received a total of 1.8million views and hundreds of followers flooded the comment section, many of whom were eager to try her recommendations.
One user commented: ‘I started to use Embryolisse under my make-up and my foundation has never looked better.’
Others added: ‘I need to move to a different country’, and ‘making notes for Paris’.
While some users pointed out the products are available to purchase in the US, in a follow-up video Ava compared the prices, saying it is ‘criminal’ not to buy the products in France, where they are significantly cheaper.
Speaking to MailOnline, she said some of her favourite French products are often double, even triple the price in the US.
Examining the receipt in the video, Ava gave the example of her beloved Biafine product, which costs just $3.89 (£3.20) per tube in France compared to an eye-watering $42 (£34) in the US.
Adding her thoughts in the comments, Ava said: ‘Might as well just buy another suitcase and buy more while I’m here right.’