Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Potty Tales

So while we were in Paris I had the joy of experiencing the public toilet. In Paris they have these sort of large tin cans that serve as individual public toilets. They are really kind of cool if you don't think about it too much. They used to cost money, but are now free. You push a button on the outside. If they are unoccupied the little bright silver door slides open. It automatically slides closed behind you. Once inside, you will see this:
Now, if you are like me, the first thing you will notice is that there is no drain. NO DRAIN. So where, pray tell does the waste go? I couldn't figure it out, so chose not to make any deposits. BTW - above the toilet contraption are a mirror, toilet paper, and (supposedly) hand sanitizer. I wasn't sticking my hands anywhere near any surface in here, so I never found out about the sanitizer.

Now comes the interesting part. You turn the handle to open the door to get out of the tin can. When you do, the door automatically closes behind you and locks. You will then see a sign outside that says "occupied". You then hear lots of commotion from inside and what sounds like an industrial shower. Thanks to the miracle of Google, I now know why there is no drain. Apparently the entire unit flips up into the wall and is thoroughly washed out on the other side (the waste disposal side). Then it flips back down and the door unlocks and is again available. It is kind of neat when you think of it. Where the waste goes from there I have no idea (nor do I want to know. Similar to my lack of any interest in the "sewer museum" my friends went to while I read a book outside. For me, the less known, the better).

Anyway, we also visited one of Paris' most beautiful public toilets that does not resemble this contraption in anyway. It was near the church of Mary Magdalene, and was GORGEOUS. Here are some pictures. I couldn't' get any really good ones due to the big sign that said "no pictures" - in ENGLISH. Seriously, why do the French think we would take pictures of bathrooms? Seriously! (hee hee) Anyway, these were Art Nouveau and very cool. Gorgeous tile and VERY clean. I highly recommend them if you are ever in need in Paris.


ShannanB aka Mommy Bits said...

Ok. That contraption looks scary. I would have feard being locked inside.

Jennifer said...

I think I used soemthing like that in San Francisco 9 years back!