PRATIE PLACE

Monday, July 20, 2009

The good and the bad of Paris

The good (among many other things): wonderful bread on every corner and excellent subways and - if you like to walk as much as I do - you can get some big jelly-like ampoules to stick on the blisters on the bottoms of your feet and off you go for some more happy miles of sightseeing.

The bad: woe be to you if you need a bathroom while you're out. One guidebook I saw said, solemnly, that the Parisians simply do not pee away from their homes. They go around parched instead. Yikes!

We had just stopped at a coffee place at the fleamarket - where Derek's espresso cost $4.50 and Hannah's espresso with cream cost about $6.00 - so we weren't in the mood to do it again, but an hour later I needed a bathroom. We saw a "toilette" sign pointing up some unguarded steps at a cafe so I slithered on in and up the stairs and was in the stall pulling down my pants when a barkeep BURST THROUGH THE DOOR and tried to PULL ME out of the stall! He was yelling in French and when I mildly said I don't speak French he just switched over to English, the gist of which was, that I was very rude and that I could not use his bathroom without buying something. I tried to close the door but he wouldn't remove his foot. We were at an impasse, and things were getting rather serious, when he suddenly yielded and left - turning off all the upstairs lights as he left so I was in utter darkness.

10 Comments:

At 2:18 PM, Anonymous susanlynn said...

Yikes ...That was harsh.

 
At 4:40 PM, Blogger Alma said...

Oh Dear! I'm sure he was fustrated but even so, that is just so odd!

Melinama, not sure how you feel about it now but I bet some day it will be at the top of your list of Parisian adventure stories!

 
At 5:01 PM, Blogger doris. said...

Yikes! and welcome to Paris.
FWIW, the museums have nice bathrooms but you have to buy admission to get in first, if I remember correctly. I can't remember how and where I found restrooms there..... too many years ago

 
At 6:00 PM, Anonymous novelera said...

I remember this problem when I was in Paris. You had to buy something to use the facilities and then -- have iron will not to drink the something you'd just bought, thus adding to the problem.

I actually went in one place where there was a curving flight of stairs leading down to one of those squat over a hold in the ground thingys. This in the City of Light!

 
At 2:53 PM, Anonymous susanlynn said...

We encountered the same problem in Florence...the lack of bathrooms and the occassional hole in the floor. We ate lunch at an expensive restaurant mainly because we knew that it would have a decent bathroom. When we left, we discovered a nearby McDonalds with 4 stalls !!!!

 
At 5:07 PM, Blogger doris. said...

Same problem in Venice, Italy, with finding only a Turkish toilets upstairs from a cafe on St. Mark's Square. Ugh . . .

 
At 3:17 PM, Blogger Alma said...

Turkish toilets? I'm almost afraid to ask -- but I'm too curious not to...

 
At 9:36 AM, Blogger Jean said...

Turkish toilet is another name for the hole in floor kind. They usually have two raised places to put your feet and flushing is obtained by pulling a cord that makes water run down the walls and into the hole in the floor. They are still quite common in Turkey.
I don't remember having a problems finding bathrooms in Paris. I guess we were in museums and restaurants most of the time. Department stores are another good place to find bathrooms.

 
At 4:53 PM, Blogger doris. said...

My biggest question when I used the Turkish toilet was: in which direction does one face when they squat?
(LOL)

Here's a photo, Alma, of the type I ran across....twice! No flush mechanism, either. Wearing a skirt makes them much more navigable than pants . . . for women:
http://www.orchiddesigns.net/Assets/images/China2004/Jinghong%20public%20toilet%201630.jpg

 
At 12:21 PM, Blogger Alma said...

Wow! Thanks for the pic, Doris! I'll consider it one more reason to love my country.

At least the foot shaped platforms answered the "which way to face" question.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home

Find me on Google+