Journalling France: Les Toilettes in Paris
Paris has polar opposite opinions, you either love it or you hate it. It is easy to love. Its iconic monuments, from the Eiffel Tower, to the Louvre, Notre Dame Cathedral, and dozens of historically important buildings and its late night dinners and stylish people. But it is also easy to hate. It is a big city, it is dirty in certain areas, it smells funny, the threat of pickpockets and property crime, and the lady in “Paris’ cleanest bathroom” who would not let me accompany my 6 year old to the bathroom without paying EUR1.50.
Dont get me wrong. I have no problems paying for a bathroom. It is common practice in many countries. But for starters. This bathroom was in a mall. A Nice Mall. Shouldn’t shoppers have access to basic services? Secondly, I made it VERY clear that I did not need to use the bathroom. Only my son did and I had paid for him. Thirdly, he is a kid. He commonly refuses to wipe his own bum. Would she rather clean up after him or could I? Begrudgingly she let me stand outside his stall, making it clear that if I entered the stall, I would have to pay EUR1.50.
HE IS A KID! They have a EUR2.00 fee for the “mama et bebe” change room. I offered to pay that. “pour bebe” she replied. Not for a kid.
Paris je t’aime, but I had to get this off my chest. Maybe she was having a bad day, everyone has it, but never have I ever had issues taking my kid to the bathroom before. I walk into the first restaurant I see if my kids need to use the bathroom whether I am a patron or not. I have been offered bathrooms in stores that do not offer public bathrooms. Kids are kids, try telling a kid to hold it while you find a bathroom. Not Easy.
Coming from North America, paying for basic services such as toilets is not something we are used to. I have paid for toilets in Jordan, whether they were clean or dirty. I have paid for toilets in Europe and South East Asia. I have come to accept it as common practice and when you travel, you should too. But seriously, making me pay because I want to wipe my kids bum.
Do not worry, France is amazing, lots of great stories to share, but today I am being real. La dame in the unnamed mall’s bathroom was a real jerk!