Taking the Piss – French toilets

Toilet seats do not seem to exist in France. It’s rare to find one and in most cases, the toilet bowl seems to have been designed not to need one. Luckily squat toilets have gone out of fashion but it is still quite often that the toilets are unisex and you have to walk past the pissoir (urinal) to gain access to the actual toilet. But why do the French bother to install urinals when French men don’t bother to use them?

While driving around France, it’s all too common to see a car parked by the side of the road with a man pissing beside it. Sometimes they find a tree, sometimes a wall or even a 5000 year old megalith in Carnac. Do they have no shame or even just good old fashioned manners?

Another problem with French toilets is that you are expected to complete your business in a timely fashion. Frequently the toilets in cafes and restaurants are fitted with timers. Of course, I understand in this environmentally-friendly world that we need to save the planet, but there are times when I need more than 1 minute in the toilet. Still, on the plus side, modern French toilets are fitted with a double flush button and some are even labelled with a number “1” and number “2”, just in case you need help with which one to choose.

Finally, where do I put my coat and bag during this time of relief? Inevitably on the floor, as it seems to be too much trouble to attach a small hook to the back of the door.


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