One of the main disadvantages about discovering a city by walking its streets all day long is your continuous need to consume water, specially when it’s winter & you continuously drink to get rid of the feeling of dehydration, which definitely urges you to pee like babies.
It was April 4th, 2012, 3 days after my arrival to Bern, Switzerland -where I have spent 3 months on an internship as Research Assistant in Law- when I have decided to spend Easter vacations in Paris with my friends who are living there, instead of spending it on my own since I haven’t made any friends in Switzerland yet, I have made an online train booking via www.sbb.com my true friend all along my 3 months stay, after consulting 3 of my work colleagues, it cost me 197 CHF which is around 1200L.E. -WOOOOOOW, that’s too much-but it’s fine since I’m not paying for accommodation and I have few euros that should be enough to enjoy a 4 days, 3 nights stay.
On April 7th, 2012, the weather was still chilly at the City of Lights .It was my second time
in Paris that I tend to call the City of Love, as it has the “Love is in the air” feeling, but this time I wanted to live the parisian experience from the perspective of a resident not a tourist.
We went almost everywhere, our day started at 9-10am and ended around midnight, we would spend the whole day out without taking any breaks, we would eat, drink, rest and pee while discovering every bit of Paris.
On that day, we were at St. Michel where I couldn’t handle my urge to pee no more, we searched the area until we have found a veryyyyyy long queue, we thought it was a museum queue, but it turned out to be a bunch of people standing in front of a public toilet waiting for the moment of salvatiooooon. At first I thought that I would drop it since the queue is too long then I thought to myself that it’s finally a parisian public toilet that does not smell, so I finally decided to wait in the queue. This toilet was not an ordinary one, in fact it was a self-washed toilet, this is how it works, you push a button so the toilet door closes , then you hear a the loud sounds of a battle that’s happening inside which is the self-wash mission, once the toilet is washed the button turns a green light, you push it, then the door opens and you are ready to go. Although it is kind of clean and not smelly, it takes a hell of time to get it washed and ready, at least 2-3 minutes until the whole cleaning operation happens then at least 5-10 min inside the toilet which could drive you to pee in your place.
We spent around 50 minutes to get in there, but were laughing our ass off as we were watching people entering the “rest room”, well named in fact; it was hilarious seeing a guy already unzipping his trousers, taking the pissing position while the WC door was still sliding very slowly to close, it was also funny to see that exciting look on a person’s face who has been waiting for forever in the queue but now only waiting for the WC to be washed and ready to use, needless to say how funny it was to see people dying to pee but having to wait for that bloody slow door to close. It was pretty entertaining to hear people talking about that extraordinary invention and worrying too much from thinking that they will push the wrong button or will not be able to deal with.
It was very embarrassing and stressful to enter the toilet and you have a long queue waiting for you counting every minute that you spend in there, all envying you for being the lucky bastard who finally got rid of the pee-pee.
But after all it was a pleasant experience although the floor was covered with water, but there was toilet papers, clean and unsmelly, which is very unusual in Paris, generally you would smell the public toilets 100 metres away, maybe only 50.
1. Public Toilets in Paris are DISASTROUS, VERY SMELLY. I’ve never dared to enter one other than the self-washed at St. Michel.
2. Toilets at fast food restaurants or coffee shops require you to use the code on your receipt, otherwise you will not be able to enter, unless you become friends with someone who’s eating/drinking inside the restaurant/coffee shop and ask them for the code on their receipt.
3. If you have the urge to pee in Paris, go back to your hotel/hostel and do it.