Skip to content

No. 109: Advice on Where to Pee

Anyone who has lived in France or visited knows that public bathrooms are not plentiful.  Unlike the States, cities in France often don’t provide nice communal toilettes for their residents and guests. If they do happen to sponsor some sort of toilette, it’s usually pretty dégoûtant, and often Turkish-style to boot. I was talking to a good French friend of mine who now lives in Washington, D.C. and when I asked her what she likes about living in the US, public toilets was on her Top 10 List.

Turkish, or as Brits call them, French toilet

Turkish, or as Brits call them, French toilet

Yep. In the U.S., if you need to pee when you’re out and about it’s never a worry. Public bathrooms are plentiful and most of the time clean, and you never have to squat over a hole to pee. En fait, my hometown of Golden, Colorado, boasts one of the “finest” public toilets in the Denver Metro area. We actually had a parade, lead by our plunger-waving Mayor, when our fancy public facility was opened (and christened the the Taj Mastall).

The Taj Mastall, Golden, Colorado

The Taj Mastall, Golden, Colorado

So, you can imagine my dismay when, coming from this small town that strongly valued public sanitation, I landed in a huge metropolis where public toilets are so few and far between. Perhaps this lack of facilities is why so many men in France pee in public gardens and on the street.

Mais, what about us girls? We can’t pee in the breeze.

Well it turns out Cécile Briand had the exact same question, and answered it by writing the nifty guidebook: Où faire pipi à Paris. (Where to pee in Paris).

Ou faire pipi a Paris

It is a brilliant little book that fits neatly in my purse, and c’est pain bénit, (it’s a godsend), especially for women.

She has listed (and updates yearly) 200 toilettes in Paris that are accessible to the public. Her guide, arranged by arrondissement and including handy maps, also includes a history of public toilets and is limited to only toilets which are:

si possible, sont agréables, en accès libre (sans fouille de sac ou rarement), gratuite et bien répartis dans la ville (when possible, pleasant, with open access (without or rarely having to have your bag searched, i.e. museums), free, and well located in the city.

While some of the toilets she lists aren’t up to American standards, at least I know that if nature calls, somewhere in my general vicinity I can faire pipi.

 Ou faire pipi a Paris

Vocabulaire

C’est pain bénit! It’s a godsend!

dégoûtant: disgusting

en fait: in fact

faire pipi: pee, go to the bathroom

mais: but

Où faire pipi à Paris? Where to pee in Paris

7 Comments Post a comment
  1. Ca va dire une envie pressante ou l’appel de la nature – Merci & bravo to the author!

    January 12, 2014
  2. B.wolf #

    Funny blog today! Perhaps that’s the reason the French stop for coffee now and then, not only to drink but also to make some room …

    January 12, 2014
    • Maybe so, but sometimes I’m not even sure if French women do faire pipi in public. Thanks for reading me, Barbara. Can’t wait to see Ollie online soon. x

      January 12, 2014
  3. Debra #

    Oh dear. If I ever make it to Paris, I will definitely need to keep a
    copy of that book!

    January 14, 2014

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: