Why is TikTok obsessed with French pharmacy signs?

Rave fans can’t get enough of French pharmacy signs on TikTok.

In Europe, a green cross is a commonly used symbol for medical care. During the Cannes Film Festival, American tourists couldn’t help but notice that French pharmacy signs had a little something extra. Most French pharmacies have giant green LED crosses with flashing animations that convey information like time and temperature. People on TikTok are comparing the signage to techno lights.


Visited Cannes, saw the pharmacy signs, wanted to rave. #cannes2022 #fyp #europetravel

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“Pharmacy signs in France hit different,” @thewollium said in a video. 

The clip showed the green LED sign while techno music played in the background. 

“This looks like a early 90s music video,” a user wrote

“Canceling the rave tonight, staying with my group staring at the pharmacy sign,” a person joked

“Omg I never thought about it before now, because I grew up seeing them, but you’re totally right,” another said

The popular video racked up over 1 million views and prompted the French pharmacy sign trend. 

Some people like @cattarinassoares are tracking down the signs to throw their own mini raves at night, dancing in the glow of the green cross. 

Others, like @jedras_420, seek out the different pharmacy signs’ styles. This one was a cross inside a disc-shaped LED with the same quick animations. 

TikToker @slaylantica captured a similar sign in Greece, writing in the caption, “The graphic designer of Euro’s pharmacies need a pay rise.” 

Why are French pharmacy signs green?

The use of a cross as a pharmacy symbol originally came about upon the founding of the Red Cross in 1864. The original cross was red on a white background — a symbol the Red Cross nonprofit still uses today.

In 1913, a law ordered pharmacies from using the red cross because it was causing confusion with the charity. Not every pharmacy in France changed the cross, but those that did switched to green.

As to why green, no one knows for sure, but there are two theories: because many medicines are plant-based and because military pharmacists wore green armbands in the 18th and 19th centuries.

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