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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Advice: For the Ladies

*Updated February 21st, thanks to my French friend Caro*

This is going to be a very female-oriented post as I have been having my own personal dilemmas in France regarding many personal things in this category.  I recently had a little worry.. and had to try to hash through my French to figure out where to go, how to ask.. and I realized there was not a lot of helpful information regarding this.. so here goes.

Some 'Female Product' Vocabulary/Explanation:
Tampax/tampons:  Tampons
Serviettes Hygènique:  Pads
Pads and tampons in France are more expensive depending on the brand; for example, Tampax brand is between 3-5e a box.  They offer the same sizings as in the us (from light to super), pads are a bit cheaper and they offers some that are scented- just like at home.  They can be purchased in grocery stores, pharmacies or little open corner stores.

les règles ou j'ai mes règles:  Period (monthly cycle), I have my period

Une crampe/j'ai des crampes:  cramps/I have cramps

Grossesse:  pregnancy
Un test de grosesse:  Pregnancy test
Pregnancy tests are only available upon request from a pharmacy.  It's a bit embarassing, but you basically have to go to the technician and ask for a test (je voudrais un test de grossesse) they cost around 5-6e and work the same way in the States.

Contraception: contraception
Un préservatif:  condoms
Can be found in machines outside of pharmacies, or available at the pharmacy.. not available in small grocery stores, can be available in some larger super stores or groceries.
La pillule contraceptive: birth control pills
Need to have an ordonance(prescription) and can be bought at the pharmacy.  Usually costs 5e for three months of pills.. but apparently, according to my sources, it's more like 30e for three months... reimbursed by the state.  You need to have an ordinance and have it prescrite from any type of doctor.
L'implant:  the implant
placed under the skin in the arm, lasts about 3 years, reimbursed by public health insurance.
Les dispositifs intra-utérins: intra-uterine device
reimbursed by public health insurance

CPEF: les centres de planification familiale:  Center funded by the state to offer contraception free of charge and advice/testing.  Website:  www.sante.gouv.fr

Gynecologue ou Gyneco: Gynecologist
Making an appointment with a gynecologue in France can be unnerving.. and the actual visit (from what I've read) is equally unpleasant.  Upon the visit, you will be completely naked (no nice little dress to cover up) and you yourself will send the results to the laboratory and receive the results at home.  Two names I heard were good in Lyon:  Mme Lavanga, 168 cours lafayette ( and Mme Levallois, 12 rue emile zola ( and Mme Dubost Hocquart close to Foch metro station.
Good gynos are booked quickly, so if it's an emergency try a Women's Hospital.

If you have made a mistake, condom broke, missed a pill.. France is very liberal with options:
Contraception d'urgence:  Emergency contraception

la pillule sur lendemain:  the day after pill
Available from the pharmacy, simply explain that you need emergency contraception in the form of this pill.  The brand is often EllaOne, it will work up to 3 days after the mistake. It's not considered a bad thing in France, but it can be dangerous... so it's not sold freely (meaning without a lot of explanation).

l'avortement: abortion
There are clinics around the city that can help you, I don't know if it is required to make an appointment or not- but I do know the abortion must be done within 12 weeks of initial implantation.  Website:  http://www.ra-sante.com/ivg-lyon.html

That's a lot of information to digest, but it's information I had to figure out myself.  I hope this helps ladies coming to France.  Bonne chance et courage!



  1. Hello Sasha,
    Next time you have a problem, just call me, i'll try to help on those subjects ;)
    I just wanna correct some information you gave :
    - To talk about our period, we say "les règles" as "j'ai mes règles", not only one ;)
    - Concerning the condoms, we can actually find them in some big grocery stores or even medium ones so in Lyon city center as well, and there is usually a wide type of condoms brands.
    - The contraception pill, we do need "une ordonance" and buy it at the pharmacy, but regarding my experience, it costs more between 15 to 30 euros for 3 months.
    - To get "la pillule contraceptive" you need an "ordonnance" that can be given by your actual docto, even if it is better if it is given by the Gynecologist because he knows this speciality a bit better ;) To go to the gyneco, it takes time, you are actually naked, but as it is something normal in France, we don't really find it weird, we are just inconfortable because it is intimacy. I know a good gyneco as well : Mme Dubost Hocquart close to Foch metro station.
    - the emergency pill for the day after the risk is called "la pillule DU lendeman" ;) but it is not something that is given easily because it is like a double pill so quite strong and u can get sick for one or 2 days because of its strengh.

    I hope my corrections can help u or some other ppl, and if u need any help, don't hesitate !! ;D
    Caroline M. (the french psychologist girl lol)

  2. Thank you so much Caro!

    I'll update my post with your informations this afternoon.. it's very helpful. As you can imagine, Bri isn't the most intelligent regarding this subject.


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