Sunday, November 13, 2011

Toilets in Paris

Today, I make confession that, I broke few rules of general public hygiene in Paris!! I guess, doing pee at public place is considered so! That too, near GREATEST ICON of the city!

From last 2-3 years, I have been visiting Paris for work purpose. Unarguably its one the most fascinating, beautiful city of the world. The City of Lights, city of Fashion, bla bla ..

In my obvious observation, i could see long long queues to get in toilets.
I understand that, French people don't go to toilet and they have developed huge capacity to just control it until they reach home. So, its like don't drink a drop of water and keep your hand crossed till you reach your home! Its indeed said too too bad if someone goes for toilet to friends home. Its under Very bad manners!!
Discovering a public toilet is really difficult job when you are really on edge of pouring out some water. I'm sure beer drinkers knows it very well. I guess, that the reason why I don't see many French people drinking beer on public places or roads.

Here you can find the toilet. I 'm sure google map should show the signs with public toilets on it. Its the most important thing in Paris. I'm afraid google didn't did it. shows no such place.

Pay Toilet on a street in Paris.

So, the story goes like this. One upon the time ... February'2010 or 2009! My apartment was located very close the Icon of Paris- Eiffel Tower. I was staying with my friends. We planned to visit Pantheon and on way back I lost him and cut my way towards the apartment via Gardens of the Luxemburg. My rectum was full of liquid and I wanted to pour it out urgently. I walked the way from small lanes from Musee de Army - Invalids.

It was around 7 pm. It use to be dark by 5pm in Paris in Winter days. I was searching for public toilets on the way. I knew, there are couple of them near Eiffel tower. I walked by Gardens near Eiffel tower and searched for the lonely standing toilet on the corner of road towards Bir Hakim metro station. I was very happy to found the destiny of the moment!! I reached the place and started pressing button to open the door. But my bad luck, it wasn't opening. I could barely read on side wall of toilets. Its open in limited hours only. If I'm not wrong, from 8am to 1pm and 2 pm to 6.30pm. (I was wondering if some French guy is working inside to make this as working hours! Hope it works on Weekends ;) ) This was terrific discovery for me. Shocking one !! Oops!
I got another shot when I couldn't find my apartment key in my over coat. I thought it was with me but it wasn't. It was with my friend and we didn't had mobile connection to call and confirm if he had reached the apartment. That was another bug shock for me !!!
Being Indian, I 'm very optimistic to find the way around to meet the need. It was bit deserted evening. I could hardly see people roaming around the garden area of Eiffel. That was the moment, I found the other way, bushy area around the garden was good option. There was small store which was close and could give me good place to do pee. I moved in the bush to find the covering space and got poured out all the liquid ammonia from my rectum to soil of France. I was looking up toward the great Eiffel tower. I wish Mr Eiffel had created few public toilets near Eiffel tower. I would have been much more thankful to him!!!

I suppose, this could be also reason why metro station staircase and deserted places smell bad. Someone must be in urgent sometime to release the pressure on time! Its all about the time.

For visitors, here are some must know things if you visit Paris:

Paris Public Toilets


ABOVE: This sanisette is near the Opéra Bastille (the glass building behind the tree).
Not so many decades ago, the phrase "Paris public toilets" evoked images of smelly streetcorner pissoirs, hole-in-the-floor squat toilets at neighborhood cafés, and lavatories ruled by female attendants with the demeanor of prison guards. Today, nearly all of the vespasiennes or pissoirsare gone, and tourists of both sexes are well-served by modern, self-cleaning toilets known assanisettes on boulevards and in parks throughout the city.
The sanisettes come in several styles, but all have the same basic design:
  • You press a button (or, in some cases, insert a coin) to open the door, and when you step inside, a sensor in the floor causes the door to close and lock.
  • You do your business, then open the door and exit.
  • The door closes again, the toilet is automatically cleaned and disinfected by a motorized mechanism, and a green light signals that the lavatory is ready for the next user.
In the past, sanisettes were pay toilets, but the city of Paris began converting them to free operation in February, 2006. Free toilets are identified by a sign that reads "Toilettes - Accès Gratuit." (Toilets in the suburbs usually aren't free, so if you venture outside of Paris,  keep a few 20-cent coins on hand for emergencies.)
Here are a few more things you should know:
  • Sanisettes are normally open from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m. After 2200 hours, you'll need to find a café or the nearest wall.
  • For safety reasons, children under 10 shouldn't use sanisettes without an adult companion. (There have been reports of sanisettes beginning the cleaning cycle with small, lightweight children trapped inside.)
  • In addition to sanisettes, the city of Paris has two dozen public lavatories that are open from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and from 1 p.m. until 6:15 p.m. The lavatories have attendants and are mostly located near major public buildings and tourist attractions.
  • Older sanisettes aren't wheelchair-accessible, but the newest models are.
  • Sanisettes are complex, high-tech devices, and you may encounter one that's out of order. If that happens, look for another one, or head for the nearest café.

Last note: Toilets in Europe are uni-sex. They usually don't have ladies and gents toilets as separate. You may find a women and men doing pee on same row and waiting release their enormous pressure !! :)
Keep posting such memorable incidences of life!
By the way in India, you may find someone peeing out of corner of road with small place to hide himself. Its still not see as crime. Its kind of freedom to do pee when its really uncontrollable.

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