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Sunday, May 22, 2005

Public "Restrooms" in France

I think everyone would agree that France is considered a civilized/modern society. They’re one of the top economies in Europe and the world ranking 6th in GDP ( While their economy ranks high amongst the rest of the world, they’ve somehow managed to lag behind in a few areas leaving one to believe they may not be as civilized as they appear.

The example I’d like to take the time to point out is public urination. I know you see public urination in the U.S. but in France it is on a whole different level. It goes beyond just simple public urination too. Anyone who has visited France is very familiar with its dog poo covered streets. The French love their dogs and bring them with them everywhere and as a result let them use the restroom anywhere as well. Since living here I’ve seen dogs pee/poop on anything and never once have their owners picked it up or attempted to have their dogs go somewhere a little less public. Two times now I’ve even seen them let their dogs pee on other peoples cars. That’s right just today I saw a rather large dog lift its leg and pee on the front side of someone else’s car as the owner of the dog just stood there.

In addition to dogs peeing in the streets one can see at any time of the day a grown man peeing on the street as well. It’s not uncommon to be walking along a sidewalk and come upon a liquid trail running down the sidewalk only to follow it up to some man peeing against the wall. Nor is it uncommon to see them doing this under a spot light. I guess they like to have light while they pee on the streets. The problem here too is it’s not only homeless or drunks doing it; kids with their parents do it as well. In fact they encourage it. At Disneyland Paris a father took his son to the bushes while waiting in line for a ride and had him pee right there next to everyone waiting in line; thus only encouraging further public urination when he grows up. While I find this act alone very disturbing and disgusting I had no idea how bad it could get until last Wednesday. Danielle and I deciding to have our lunch in a small park in front of a church not far from my work were seated on the steps to the church when a mother took her son (around the age of 6) into some grass behind some bushes. Unfortunately from our angle he was not behind the bushes at all. She goes back there with her son carrying wipes. Wondering why she would have wipes I fear the worst is about to happen; then it did. She picks up her son and holds him up and he poops right there in full view of us in a very public park. At this point I can’t help but think of the dogs I’ve seen pooping on the streets in Paris and wonder how they can treat their children in the same manner.

Anyone who has been to Paris has probably noticed the public pay restrooms on almost every corner. Very often these restrooms are very clean, especially considering they’re public restrooms. I guess we now know why they’re so clean. The only people who actually care to use a restroom to do their business are the tourists. The French are still content doing theirs in public just as their dogs do, leaving me to wonder if they will ever decide to stop acting like animals and become a fully civilized society.


Sanjiv Gajiwala said...

Well,i think in this way, the french are more free than americans. And as a fan of public urination - there is no better feeling that taking a leak outside. Vive la France!

Kristine said...

Ok yes as I stated public urination is one thing, but the dogs peeing on peoples cars and the kids pooping in public parks have crossed the line. But should I really expect more from a country that doesn't use deodorant, coughs and sneezes on people freely, never washes their hands after using the bathroom, and whose dentists actually tell you NOT to floss?

Lori said...

Ok, I know when you have to go, you have to go...especially after a lot of alcohol, you might not make it to a toilet. But there is no excuse to pee on a concrete street or poo in a park (where many people eat lunch). Everywhere you go in Paris smells like's quite unpleasant. And if it doesn't smell like urine it smells like B.O.

In the words of Seinfeld:
-"There should be a B.O. squad that patrols the city like a "Smell Gestapo". To sniff 'em out, strip 'em down, and wash them with a big, soapy brush..."

Diane said...

Oh my god. I am shocked. You know a man is offering a $1000 for someone to crap on Ryan Seacrest's star on the hollywood walk of fame. Maybe a little french boy is who he should be marketing to. I just love the memories your blogs help me recall. Ah the streams of urin. Paris in spring is wonderful. Viva la France.

Mom said...

Just remember, if you pull your wheeled bags through the streets of Paris, do NOT put them on the bed, a chair or touch the bottom at all unless you immediately wash your hands. YUCK.

And surely Sanjiv is joking. I like to think so. It is one thing to be free, it is another to have respect for the health of humanity as a whole. This is not a healthy habit. Think Dark Age mentality. Viva La Plague.