December 17, 2008

French Travel Tips For Women

#1 Always carry a little pack of tissue with you.

I can't tell you how many toilets I've encountered in France that have no toilet paper. Or even a seat!
In restaurants. At rest stops. In cafés.
I'm speaking only for France here, not sure about the rest of Europe.

Believe me, keep a little pack with you at all times. You'll thank me later.

One good thing - my thighs are well toned from "hovering."
Gym? Who needs a gym! Pin It


Judith said...

My experience is that while in France you can count on needing TP, as well as some spare change, to use a restroom, elsewhere in Europe it varies. But my experience extends only to Germany, Prague, and the British Isles. The latter is almost always like the States, though, although my thighs certainly get a workout in the loos at the pubs just to be safe. There may be a seat, but no one wants to sit on it!

Karen said...

Ditto for Asia. Here, it's not uncommon to find shoe prints on the toilet seat (if there is one). Many public bathrooms have signs in fractured English asking people to refrain from standing on the seat. In the end, I often find squat toilets to be the most convenient, the least offensive and the easiest on the leg muscles.

dND said...

Oh so true.

Those little pocket sized packets are a godsend. One in the handbag and one in a coat pocket at all times.


Anonymous said...

There's at least two books in this....
1) "Where to go if you need to go in France"
2) "The worst toilets in France"

the second is obviously a coffee-table volume with full colour photographs.

Cathy said...

Thanks for the tip, Loulou. I'll remember this for my April trip. I learned the painful way to always carry enough change to tip the restroom attendant.

Peter M said...

Ugh, I still see this in Greece too.

davidL said...

that is the cleanest restroom I've seen in a long, long time. was that taken in France?

Anonymous said...

Amen! And it is shockingly clean.

Loulou said...

I haven't encountered the spare change thing in ages, but I definitely remember it.
Does that still exist I wonder?

Perching and trying to balance on top of a toilet is NOT something I would like to try...
You must have thigh muscles of steel! :)

I keep one or two in my purse at all times. They absolutely are a godsend!

Sound like great books. Merci!

Glad I could help!

I guess it is more hygienic, but still...

I agree!
It was taken at a rest stop on the Autoroute somewhere between Toulouse and Cognac. The place was unbelievably spotless.

I never leave home without a little pack tucked into my purse or pocket!

Wendl said...

This is also true of all the parts of central and eastern Europe I've traveled through or lived in. It always costs something, and the attendant may or may not have toilet paper for you, and if so, VERY little! I staked out a couple of nice hotels in St. Petersburg where I would make a daily pit stop. The others were nightmare-inducing.

Stace W said...

I don't remember the TP problem in Italy, but I couldn't get over the no toilet seat thing. My college roommate spent his teenage years in Europe and he got so used to doing without toilet seats that he still doesn't use them.

Our Juicy Life said...

At the theatre in St. Antonin there isnt' even a no no, just porcelan square, with little place for your feet and a hole. Yes, I was a bit shocked, but had to go really bad. At least they could rig something to hang on to!

Bella Baita View said...

Ditto for Italy and if you are really lucky you will see foot prints on the bowl where the women stand on it. I have been more than a little surprise here in the land of Italians who pride themselves on keeping things clean. it just doesn't seem to apply to public toilets and trash littered about in the streets and countryside.

katiez said...

I agree with all of the above - but must add... Andorra has some of the most beautful loos I've seen anywhere! Not all, mind you, and some are in some pretty iffy places, but they do seem to spend money on the loos... Marble, mirrors, huge and comfy.
Go figure!

georgiegirl said...

Same here when in Thailand. However, in my own encounters, I was able to find more decent toilets in Bangkok than in Paris. I don't mind paying for using them in France. It's looking for them, that is the task in itself. Most of the times, I will go to a café and have a drink so that I can relief myself. Yes, my leg and thigh muscles got a lot of excercise.

Loulou said...

I can just imagine you staking out the best toilets. :) Not a bad idea in any big city!

I can't get over the no toilet seat thing. It seems so anti-woman or something. We cannot stand up to pee! (I guess we can, but it isn't easy)

I remember the first time my husband encountered one of those. I had warned him!
Our friends held their wedding in their village square and the only public toilets were of that variety. Trying to balance after many glasses of champagne was not my idea of fun! Something to hang on to would be helpful.

Bella Baita View
I can't remember ever seeing footprints on the rim. Seems like that would be even more difficult than merely hovering?

Loulou said...

I remember the toilets in Andorra. They were always super clean!

Interesting comment about the difference between Bangkok vs. Paris!
I too will buy a coffee just to use the bathroom when in Paris. And I don't mind paying to use those oval pod public toilets.

Paola said...

Oh I know!! I especially hate the ones where there's not even a toilet! Just two things to put your feet...on the floor!


Loulou said...

Those are the worst! They are so awkward to use.

spacedlaw said...

Same applies to Italy.

Chez Loulou said...

That doesn't surprise me...

Anonymous said...

The biggest difference I noticed between France and Belgium was the public toilet situation. You have to pay almost everywhere, but if you are paying, there will definitely be paper and soap. And it will be pretty clean, more often than not. Totally worth 30 centimes.

Chez Loulou said...

I guess if I can remember to have tissue with me at all times, I could remember to have 30 centimes with me at all times if traveling to Belgium. Worth it, I agree!
Thanks for the tip.

Brass Frog said...

This is so timely. My sister just moved to Istanbul (actually a suburb of) and her new apartment has a regular toilet, and a squat toilet. I had to explain to her what it was, and how to use it. :) BTW, Wikipedia has an entry on squat toilets. :)



Chez Loulou said...

The apartment came with both? Interesting...