Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Public toilets


OK this may not be one of the most glamorous "monuments" you want to visit when you are in Paris, but it's undoubtedly the most useful! There are 420 of these public toilets in Paris and they are now totally free (until recently you had to pay about 20 cents). The big advantage is that they are automatically - and totally - cleaned every time someone uses them. Really a big progress compared to the previous model (les vespasiennes, named after Roman Emperor Vespasien) of which only one sample is still in use (in the Luxembourg gardens).

41 comments:

  1. Oh, you mean we don' t have to go into a brasserie anynmore and pretend we want to drink something? ;) Very good to know!

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  2. lol! The old one made me giggle. Didn't look very girl friendly! Unless you're a very tall girl, of course.

    BTW, before I read your blurb about the toilets, uponfirst seeing this picture I was reminded of Doctor Who. I'm such a dork.

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  3. now they are free?
    that's awesome!

    the vespasienne still smells very old and authentic! even to someone jogging several meters away!

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  4. Is there a map (plan) of the Sanisettes anywhere?

    I'm glad they are free - not because the price was in the least unreasonable, but they demanded exact change and it was an odd combination of coins when nature was calling.

    Hope they are building more of them. They are far cleaner than the old Vespasiennes, but as I recall they were often out of order.

    Are any suitable for disabled people?

    http://www.thebathroomdiaries.com/ is a site on free public loos the world over. Now the Sanisettes make the rating!

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  5. DAre I ask what the old ones smelled like? :)

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  6. And somehow this is connected to the Blue Door to the Paris Underground...:)

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  7. Franje: They really, really, really, really,really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really,really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really,really, really, really, really smelled TERRIBLE!

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  8. Your photo of les vespasiennes really made me laugh. I've never seen them before. Not too female-friendly.
    Anyhow, I usually just head to a cafe when I'm in need of les toilettes. Merci pour les photos. Bonne journee!

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  9. eric, when i lived in paris, i recall days spent going to cafes and ordering a coffee for the privelege of using the toilets, only to need another toilet an hour later. as i walked the streets of paris on my weekend journeys around your fair city, it was always on my mind....where was the next toilet? i had a map in my head of all the places where i could sneak, unaccounced, into the side door of a cafe or restaurant to the downstairs bathroom without meeting the glare of the staff. i even went to mcdonalds for the free toilets. i don't miss those days. finding toilets in paris seemed like a great struggle. so i am happy to see these port-o-potties available to all. and for free! no more piles of coins required! but what about the pink toilet paper? do they still have that???

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  10. As Eric says, it is a progress...since roman times...lol
    Tourists have to know: finding confortable or just clean toilets can be a problem in Paris.

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  11. Not the most glamorous but very convenient! Great shot as usual Eric. They do smell.

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  12. Eric,

    I sent you an email a regarding the Districts in Paris but I dont know if it was sent. I sent it to Iwantto+join@parisdailyphoto.com. Anyway, my wife and I are planning a long Vacation and wanted to rent an Apartment in Paris. Any recommendations on a which district we should look at.

    Thanks

    Rodney

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  13. > Tomate Farcie & Jeff (& Eric) : thank you for the invitation. I'll be there on Friday 9 with great pleasure and try not to be to nasty !

    About the sanisette… I must say I do not have the sightest idea of what the inside looks like. I never could decide to go in. So may be Eric you could show us a picture next time ?

    ;o)

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  14. i think this is a good idea to have this photo in black & while ;)

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  15. Rodney, check to see if this helps: Allo Logement Temporaire - email: alt@claranet.fr ; tel: 01 42 72 00 06 from 12h to 20h (i got this address from a friend's friend, and has helped a friend found a small studio few years ago... don't know if it is still working...)

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  16. Wasn't George Michael caught in one of the old ones?

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  17. > Dutchie : yes, but infortunatly not in Paris !!!!

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  18. I'm glad you finally took this shot. I told you it was unique, even if it was a dirty subject.

    By the way, it reminds me of a joke I heard once when I first moved to Paris:

    Do you konw why in Paris they say "LES TOILETTES" and not "LA TOILETTE" like in Brussels? Because you have to go to multiple ones to find ONE that's clean.

    Of course, these new ones have helped change that image. I also believe the city of New York bought these for the city. Maybe other U.S. cities as well.

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  19. New York is awaiting the installation of such conveniences -- but it almost seems unreal, that such accomodation would be made to human nature. In the meantime, the spread of the giant bookstore chain Barnes and Noble has provided clean and free bathrooms in most neighborhoods of the city...
    L

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  20. Maybe not New York, but hey, Pittsburgh's got 'em! Check out this link:

    http://www.post-gazette.com/lifestyle/20030212publicpot0212p2.asp

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  21. Bien vu le noir et blanc. l'objet est rendu à sa valeur : moche et antipathique...

    Ah, que l'époque des "mouilleurs de pain" est bien loin (beuuuurk)

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  22. hey nasty Gg, do you still want to see how's inside the 'sanisette' ? i have today by pure accident sort of 'dropped' into this site: http://www.cromwell-intl.com/toilet/#science, go down to "Futuristic High-Tech Toilets"...

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  23. Paris public toilet...been there, done that...

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  24. Eric, Tomate Farcie, GG, and the rest: June 9 sounds fine. I'll leave it to you Parsians to decide where and what time. We'll plan on it. (That's my traveling buddy's birthday, so it'll be even more fun.) I'll be in the Marais, but of course everywhere is easy. Let's just make sure, yes, there are toilettes for all! (Had to relate the comment to the photo!)jdsmyser@hotmail.com

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  25. Here's another look inside a sanisette:
    http://parisatacertainage.typepad.com/madametut/2006/04/ouioui_not_your.html#comments

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  26. > Michelle : thank you ! Now I know… and I'll continue to use Cafés', though Phrygian/Hittite ones are quite appealing to !

    ;o)

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  27. "Do you konw why in Paris they say "LES TOILETTES" and not "LA TOILETTE" like in Brussels? Because you have to go to multiple ones to find ONE that's clean."

    ROFL! That's my hometown OK, well at least that's the way I remember it. Only people seemed to have problems finding toilets in Paris, because it certainly was (is?) not a problem for the dogs!

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  28. San Francisco has these public toilets (one must still pay to use them.) They are made by the French company JCDecaux, by the way.

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  29. By the way, here is the single remaining authentic old vespasienne in Paris, near the prison de la santé:

    http://www.atkielski.com/inlink.php?/PhotoGallery/Paris/General2/VespasienneSmall.html

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  30. "Haxo: by the way ... "

    Yes, that's the one I remember!!!

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  31. I wonder where it was that I saw something similar to this. It was in a foreign country somewhere. Oh well. Through my travels I always knew I could count on McDonalds to have free toilets. I used to refer to them as the golden arches of relief.

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  32. Eric, there is an other vespasienne left in Paris. It's on Boulevard Arago, along the wall of the jail (prison de la Sante). All the cab drivers stop there, night and day.

    I hope to see you soon when Tomate will be in Paris.

    Michel
    www.spirit-of-paris.com

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  33. You don't often see public toilets here in the Canary Islands and those you do are usually gross, so I am happy to follow the cafe crawl; coffee in, bathroom visit out, onto the next scenario. Maybe it's the heat, but I need that much fluid anyway and constant stops are pleasant. I heard that, in fact, bars have to make their toilets available to even non-customers in Spain, but I've never had the cheek to find out if it is so.

    Personally, I prefer our system than the tardis as photographed. I would be claustrophobic and scared stiff I'd be stuck inside, or that it would self-clean before I was done! :)

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  34. I'm always afraid of getting stuck in one, or conversely, the door opening before I am done! :)

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  35. Concerning toilets cleanness, I can say that Paris is a much better place than New York. In NY, every toilets I went were dirty and sometimes clogged. Event at JFK, and in the Tavern on the Green, the famous Central Park restaurant... And I haven't seen any public toilets either.

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