Recently we've had cause to need vaseline. Célestine needed some for her battery posts, Simon needed some for cracked heels.
To obtain vaseline in France you go to the pharmacy and ask the pharmacist for some. Vaseline is vaseline in French, by the way (pronounced 'vah-ZLEEN'). The pharmacist goes out the back and returns with a tube in a blue and white box. Printed along the side it says 'Vaseline Officinale'.
This word 'officinale' (or 'officinalis', depending on declension) I'm used to seeing as the specific name for many plants -- Soapwort, Common Fumitory, Garden Asparagus, to name but a few. I knew it meant a species that had medicinal use.
The word 'officinale' comes from the Latin 'officina', which means a place where herbal remedies are prepared. The museum at Issoudun has a very nice example, called in French an officine, with much of its original furniture, ceramics, and equipment. The French word officine is a synonym for pharmacie. So Vaseline Officinale is pharmacy grade vaseline.
I thought the French word office, which means an annex to a kitchen or dining room where food service preparation can be done must also be connected to 'officinale' in its sense of being a place where plant material was prepared for human consumption, but it turns out to come from a different Latin root. According to Larousse, office comes from 'officium', meaning 'duty'.