Saturday, April 4, 2015

Friday, April 3, 2015 - A Lesson on French Public Toilets - the new style

What do you do when you've been sightseeing and drinking wine and now really need a rest room.  France is not known for its abundance of public toilets, but it has come a long way from when there were pissoirs on street corners for men and no facilities for women.
Old style pissoir

We found this model of public toilet in Bergerac and were in need. Two good things: Amazingly it was free (most require 50 cents or more) and luckily we had experience with these toilets in 2011. 

Quite sophisticated, but perhaps a bit questionable use of technology.  So it works like this: You see a green light indicating "libre" meaning no one's in the toilet. Open the door and walk in. Lock door behind you. Do your business, wash hands and exit. The directions panel shows a red light when the toilet is occupied (apparently triggered by opening the door rather than necessarily locking it, as proved by Janis). 

When you exit the toilet, the red light remains on and the toilet self-cleans after a half-minute or so delay. That is, the toilet seat retracts into the wall to be flushed and washed and air dried, and little sprayers on the floor wash the floor. I know this you see, because Dave and I didn't do the wait routine between using. As he exited, I entered without closing the door between. So as I was about to sit on the toilet seat, it began retracting into the wall, causing no end of excited screams. And then the floor self-cleaned all over my sandals. Lesson learned.  Here's the inside of the toilet view: 

Caveat emptor!

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