We have all experienced the dilemma of trying to find a clean public rest room when we have to go.Paris surprisingly has many public toilets that are clean and reliable. My impetus for this post came from a tip I received a few months ago about some new state of the art toilets in the Carrousel de Louvre, a shopping mall underneath the Louvre. What I discovered was actually a bathroom boutique with designer public toilets called Point WC.
I walked in and found a clever wall display of multi-colored toilet papers laid out like paint chips along with a selection of extravagant and humorous toilet seat covers, and well designed bathroom accessories. There is a front desk with the price list of the bathroom cabins you can use and there was either the standard cabin for 1.50 euros or the Japanese high tech one for 2 euros. I chose the Japanese one to see what was so special. I was shown to the cabin by a young attendant in a spiffy uniform. The cabin was quite smartly designed with a warm wood cabinet with incense sticks in a clear vase on top, a bonsai tree, a fabulous round black sink, and last but not least, an immaculate white toilet. There was also a remote with many buttons and a sign with a list of over 20 functions the toilet performed. I was too impatient to decipher all of this so I took the remote and started pressing all the buttons. After pressing them numerous times without anything happening I took it to the front desk. They said the remote was broken and gave me a one euro refund. I went back to the cabin and did my business perfectly well sans the remote. I have to say it was an enjoyable experience and well worth the price for peace of mind and clean facilities. I found out they also have a location on the Champs Elysees.
The next best public bathroom in Paris is by the Madeleine. This well kept secret is worth knowing about. If you are facing the Madeleine church from the front, on the right hand side there is a iron railing with a small blue toilettes sign and a stairway with a pretty mosaic. Down those steps is a white tile Art Nouveau room with rich mahogany cabins and a stained glass panel in a floral pattern. Again, the bathroom was squeaky clean and comfortable. Most of all I loved the Art Nouveau, Viennese style door. There is an attendant who keeps up the toilets, so it is customary to leave a 50 centimes or 1 euro tip in the collection bowl.
Believe it or not the restrooms in the metro stations are very well kept and safe. There is an attendant, so again it’s customary to leave a tip. The drawback is that most metro stations don’t have restrooms and the few that do are not always open. I know for sure the one in the Hotel de Ville station is open during the day.
The last public alternative, although not always necessarily clean, are the newly revamped free toilet kiosks on the streets. They’ve installed 400 of them all over the city and are designed by the big deal,chic chi french designer Patrick Jouin. The stations are big enough now to fit wheelchairs, more environmentally correct (rain water is used and saves consumption about 30%), easier to use with instructions in several languages, and have a water fountain on the outside.
Richard Nahem is a native New Yorker who now lives in Paris. A successful New York City event planner and producer of cultural events, he has worked with many celebrities including Sarah Jessica Parker, Whitney Houston, and Joan Rivers. After a teenage trip to Paris made him an instant Francophile, he visited the city frequently until he made it his home (in 2005).
With 25 years of rave reviews from friends and colleagues, Richard decided to take his own private tours of “his” Paris public. His goal for Eye Prefer Paris Tours is to provide fun, adventurous, and exciting tours of Paris for the independent-spirited traveler.