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.
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).
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).
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.
C’est pain bénit! It’s a godsend!
en fait: in fact
faire pipi: pee, go to the bathroom
Où faire pipi à Paris? Where to pee in Paris