Parisian Restrooms Not for Customers Only

Okay, admit it.  How many $3 lattes have you bought just because you needed a bathroom and didn’t want to be accused of using Starbucks’ bathroom without buying anything?

I was in France last week, and one of the things I found most refreshing about Paris was the admission that, well, people need to go to the bathroom from time to time.  The French have made provision for this most basic of human needs.

In America, we 1) go buy something to qualify as a “customer” because the sign says, “Restrooms for Customers Only,” 2) Wend our way through a department store to find the customer restroom (when we weren’t actually a customer until we needed the customer restroom) and then realize we must find a manager with a key, or 3) Find a nasty gas station that was last cleaned in 1932 by a blind person, or 4) HOLD IT (and drive fast).

In Paris, there are ubiquitous kiosks that are not only free but are self-cleaning between customers.  In fact, the door won’t close and reopen until the required “lavage” cycle has completed.  So 1) free, 2) clean.  Hmmm… something’s right about this.

Or there are attended stations where tips are optional (and far less is expected than the cost of a latte) and at which sponges and mops are regularly employed.

Or, worst case scenario, one pays for the bathroom — in advance, which seems quite reasonable, considering that the motivation to pay goes from “total” to “nonexistent” when moving from “in advance” to “relieved.”

This is an expenditure that is well worth it for those of us with bladders that won’t hold a TSA-sized bottle’s worth of urine.

One of my themes in life (cause it’s straight from the good old B-I-B-L-E from which I like to take all my themes in life) is that “the truth shall set you free.” And on the streets of Paris the particular truth that humans do need bathrooms from time to time did indeed set me free — to pursue more culture, more croissants, more adventure.

And in five days’ time it only cost me a couple of Euros.  Money well spent.

Paying in advance seems perfectly reasonable.

~ by Cary on May 24, 2011.

One Response to “Parisian Restrooms Not for Customers Only”

  1. […] via Parisian Restrooms Not for Customers Only « Holy Vernacular. […]

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