Liberté, Égalité -- Except When It Comes To Peeing In Public
Oui want to know when women can oui outside in Paris.
The French are known for many things: Delicious pastries, arty half-lit films and boiling an onion and daring to call it soup. Now they will also be known as the innovators of what I’m sure will be a new trend seeping into the trousers of cities world-wide -- The Alfresco Waz.
This week saw the unveiling of four open public urination stations in Paris, and the reaction has been mixed.
Ostensibly this move is to try and counter the issue of public urination in the streets of Paris by providing a convenient point that is eco-friendly and odour-free for people to relieve themselves in, rather than up against a wall or on the tyres of someones lovely new Peugeot.
There are a several issues though. Firstly, this is a little unfair to females who may be walking with their boyfriend or husband through the romantic streets of Paris, neither of you have been able to go to the toilet for a while when emerging like a big red beacon in front of you is a very handy piss station. Your male partner can happily lumber up to it while you are forced to hold on and wait until you can find a regular old boring toilet.
Will the Paris officials embrace equality and make a version of the open air toilet that can be backed into?
Secondly, there is concern over the placement of these place pour le numéro un, one of which is on Ile Saint-Louis overlooking Notre Dame and boatloads of tourist as they wind their way up the river Seine. It’s not a particularly sophisticated look for a city that prides itself on being so cultured. You could be sailing down the river soaking up the City of Love and look up to see someone with their gear flopped out whizzing away. It might affect your Trip Advisor rating somewhat.
There are also more of these public urinations spots planned, so where will they go? Half-way up the Eiffel tower so you can enjoy a commanding view over Paris as you blast away? How about right in front of the Mona Lisa in case you need to go but haven’t quite finished looking at it yet?
Lastly, what about the issue of putting the little fella away after you have used one of these spots? If you take too far a step back as you disengage, could you be charged with public nudity? Is there a five second window you have to have everything shoved back in by?
Whether Parisians like it or not, public urination stations have now joined the list of famous French innovations like photography, the parachute and haughtiness.