Ami Cadugan, our NY Mama, tell’s it like it is!
Bonjour Mamas! C’est moi, Ami. I am back to share more about the daily pleasures and quirks of Parisian living. Today’s topic…Peeing in Paris!
Much like in New York (and other major capital cities), it is hard to find a decent place to pee whilst tooling around town here in Paris. Since I consume an inordinate amount of caffeine, have reproduced twice and have the world’s smallest bladder, this presents a bit of an “issue” for me. So Mamas, I have some suggestions for you, if you share my dilemma!
As you go about your daily routines, you will frequent many of the same establishments. Figure out where they “hide” their toilets. Many are in the back, down a twisty windy staircase. Hard to navigate sober, let alone after you’ve consumed some vin rouge! But seriously, scope out these places, because you never know when you may need to pop in for a quick pish!
Here’s another tip: Most fast food restaurants have a “code” for their toilets. It’s printed on the bottom of the receipt. Another tip? They don’t change that code very frequently. Take Notes! Seriously, in the “Notes” feature of my iPhone, I keep a running list of these codes. Comes in handy, especially with the little ones in tow!
Many tourist attractions make you “pay to pee”. When I was in London for the first time, I’ll never forget that Harrod’s wanted “A Pound to Pee”. Were they f**ing kidding me?!! Evidently, not! Unless you had a receipt for spending a certain amount of money at the store, it was going to cost you to pee. The same goes in Paris, at the major tourist sites! Of special note is the Louvre. Their food court has a bathroom. If you’ve purchased food, save your receipt, show it to the attendant and you can “pee for free”. If not, it will cost you around €1 each. Or, you could always scope out the dining area for “fallen receipts”! In moments of desperation, it could be an option!
It’s just like the show “Urine Town” around here!
You will also find private bathrooms located in the malls in Paris. Some have brightly coloured toilet paper (TP) for sale (around €9 each). Yes, you read that right. So, imagine you have to go so badly, that you pay for not only yourself, but your offspring to pee. Then your kids see the hot pink TP and beg for it. Once again, you remind them, that this, like most things in Paris is “out of their budget”. When they ask “what is my budget?”, you remind them that you fund their entire lives and their budget is at your discretion!
The gym is one place that many people don’t consider when looking for a toilet. While living in NYC, I had a membership to the New York Sports Club. Aside from being a great place to work out, they had numerous, strategically placed locations throughout the city. It was my $90-a-month “pee pass”. There are “chain-gyms” like that in Paris as well.
As a last resort, there are public Toilettes. They are officially known as “Sanisettes” and are located on random corners around town. YOU can find your very own guide to the one nearest you, right here!
I used one once, out of both curiosity and sheer desperation near the Eiffel Tower (they have 2…one between the RER C and La Tour and the other on the opposite end of the Champ de Mars). You’ll recognize these by the long lines of tourists!
There is actually a “time factor” involved here, as these toilets clean themselves after each use. Say the person before you is “done” and they leave. You think it’s safe to walk in and “do your business”. Well, it’s not! The door won’t close again until after the bathroom cleans itself, which takes about 2 minutes. Happy that there is a “good hygiene” factor involved, but if you are desperate, just pray that no one is watching!
These toilets also have sinks with soap and water inside (although nothing for drying). Did you want to wipe? The presence of toilet paper is “hit or miss” so BYOTP!
The good news is that these public toilets lock. However, as a woman raised to be conscious of my surroundings at all times, especially in a big city, I just cannot get comfortable using these. In the winter months, they also seem to serve as “shelters”. According to official sources, no one can stay inside for more than 15 minutes. But hey, a lot can go down in that time frame! Just another reason to be freaked out!
Bottom line if you live in Paris, make sure that you’re on “potty patrol”. And tell your kids to be on the lookout too. If they are well spoken/behaved and cute enough, they can “get you in” to pee anywhere!
See you next time!