June 20, 2007

Do you wish to "wash your hands"?

When walking around in a city, you may often find it difficult to find a decent place to « wash your hands ». If you visit some of the toilets in a normal Paris bar (normally against a compulsory consumption) you will not always be satisfied with the type of equipment and its cleanliness. Personally, I often choose to go to one of the bigger and nicer hotels. They will not ask you for the purpose of your visit and their toilets are in general the best - and cost free.

You can now find some nice improvement with modern and automatically cleaned public toilets, but they are of course completely without charm.

There is one very nice public toilet which I would recommend. Not so easy to find, it’s situated to the right, just in front of the Madeleine church. It is by some considered as one of the most beautiful public toilets in the world. The entrance is covered by some nice mosaics. (Some refreshing would be recommended, but I understand that this is now under discussion by the local authorities.)

Once downstairs, you will find a beautifully tiled room, with individual stalls made of dark stained wood and stained glass. There is a chair for shoe shining, but nowadays only there for decoration. You will find a lady, who keeps the place nice and clean. You are supposed to give her something for the service, maybe 50 cents, but there is no fixed fee.

The toilets are there since 1905 and are now classified “historical monument”, so they will hopefully remain for long.

You can find the original photos from this patchwork on my other blog "Peter - photos".

28 comments:

Sonia A. Mascaro said...

Beautiful, beautiful, Peter! Great photos! You did an amazing patchwork's photos here. You are so lucky for live in Paris!

Ex-Shammickite said...

Lovely photos! It's always a problem isn't it.... finding somewhere clean to "wash your hands", especially when exploring in a stange city. I'll remember that location whan I am nixt visiting Paris!!

Olivier said...

Alors là, tu me surprends, voila un sujet que je n'aurais jamais pense traiter. Je dis BRAVO et vraiment une superbe idee

Drama Div@ said...

good info... thank u for sharing!!

public toilet + tourist = Unseperatable

hpy said...

Madame Pipi est fidèle au poste.

Cergie said...

Merveilleux sujet que j'espèrais que tu traiterais depuis un commentaire de ta fille Stéphanie.
Je ne connaissais pas les toilettes de la Madeleine
Splendides ! Somptueuses !
Il faut préciser que les pipi-rooms de Paris sont gratuits grâce au Maire Delanoe et c'est un droit fondamental que cette mesure fait respecter.

Voici ma voix au chapitre:

Toilettes du pont de l'Alma

Dans les cimetières aussi il y a possibilité. Mais les grands hôtels, je n'aurais pas osé. Il faut dire que je ne fais pas touriste aristocrate comme toi (pardon, mais c'est la vérité) et que je ne passerais peut être pas autant inaperçue...

Cuckoo said...

Again a very informative post !!

In India also in big hotels they don't ask you the purpose of your visit but in small places, the moment you enter they are at your service. :P

Chuckeroon said...

Great stuff, Peter. One can only say that perhaps the Rothsay toilets (1902?)gave Paris some inspiration. ;-) Tee Hee.

The theme lives on! We can live together "at ease".

Peter said...

cergie:
Thanks for the link to the "Alma chair". Yes, the shoe shining chairs are now just there as a piece of museum, no shoe shiners any more and hardly any shined shoes.

cuckoo:
One of the "advantages" here is that ther is no service anymore; sometimes you miss it, sometimes you feel lucky that you don't have to pay tips.

chuckeroon:
I thought about "your" Scottish toilets when I wrote this post. I was sure that you would react and for safety's sake, I wrote "considered as ONE OF the most beautiful...".
Yes, as you say, it's important to live "at ease" :-)!

Shionge said...

Thank you for posting this...it was daunting to find a toilet with my girls when we were out most of the time in Paris.

What we did was to visit a cafe and have a drink and visit the restroom at the same time :)

annulla said...

My city is notorious for its lack of public toilets. Every once in a while a politician promises to correct the situation, but nothing ever changes.

Last winter, however, a toilet paper manufacturer opened a (sadly, temporary) deluxe public facility complete with entertainment and a lounging area. The Public Toilets at Times Square

We, too, find ourselves relying on hotels, department stores and cafes when "nature calls."

Leena said...

what can I do with you? i have not time enough to look at all your photos and read every posts, but , believe me, I would like! and anyway, this summer is almost over and long, long dark days gives to a possibility
to look and read :)
As you perhaps know, we Finns feel after the Midsummer day - oh, summer is over, days are getting shorter and so on . . ..
Not really, only a little perhaps . . .
I will read also these posts at least in October very intensively!

I thank you very much for your comments on my blog, they are very appreciated!

by the way, I just ate strawberries
from Skane ( sorry, no Swedish o in this PC ), ours are not yet ripe. they were very tasty - almost as delicious as ours ;)

Peter said...

shionge:
To have a drink at a café is a very good idea, but I believe we all would like to have access to some nice toilets, without the need to consume first. Furthermore, many of the café toilets are not really that nice (understatement).

annulla:
There are hundreds of public, cost free, toilets around Paris, but unfortunateley not up to the standard of the one I showed you here.

leena:
Take your time! In any case, bloggin should never come first!

Strawberries up in the north have a specific flavour!

denton said...

From 20 years ago, when we lived in Brussels, my memory of the public toilets involved a woman who collected money when you entered. Her job was to keep the toilets clean ... Of course the coed toilets left an impression on me as well.

Ash said...

Public toilets now a historical monument? Cool!

Great photos by the way!

Emily Lin said...

Nice and clean toilets! It really looks like a monument! How could you possibly take so many photos of the same type in every post? Do you always walk around your city by carrying your camera all the time?

ANyway, they're all awesome. :))

p/s: I am fine. I haven't updating my blog because of the starting of my new semester in Uni but not because of the porridge. :p

So hang on, don't worry about me. :D

Matritensis said...

Public wc! the best in Europe only in Wien and the worst in Athens

Chris in Madison said...

Now, this is helpful - not the kind of thing you'd find in most guidebooks! You've done your city a great service...

Peter said...

denton:
You will not find so many of these ladies ("Madame pipi") any more. Most new public toilets are modern, self cleaning, automated... ).

ash:
Yes, an officially classified historical monument. I guess it's worth it!

emily lin:
The difficulty I find is not to take many photos, but to select; that's why I show (too) many.

matritensis:
There are some guides for "best - and worst - toilets", but I have not yet found the real kind of Michelin Guide for toilets. My daughter is some kind of "toilet specialist", but so far her records are rather geographically limited.

chris:
See above, a guide to create and publish!

lyliane said...

Je ne connaissais pas non plus cet endroit pratique et beau, car les toilettes de Paris: au secours...qu'elle saleté c'était, même encore dans certains cafés ou il faut non seulement payer la consommation très chère et en plus la "dame pipi"!.Je préfère aller dans les hôtels,comme cela j'ai eu l'occasion de visiter, les plus grands des Usa, Canada, et France avec leurs boutiques d'objets de luxe.

April said...

Phantastic, you share a wonderful discovery with us, that's a little treasure.

anu said...

tht's wher we went when we r in paris....loved the monument....it is an expereince....!!!!!!!!!

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