Frenchie Mythbusters - Peeing in Public
I wanted to write this one Monday, but I just couldn't wait. I had to share.
Normally, I like to avoid all potty talk, both on this blog and in real life. So I'll try to make this as short and sweet as possible. But I recently I had a friend ask about this one. Do people pee in public in France? Is it acceptable? Surely a country that has given birth to some of the most gifted writers, the most talented fashion designers, and such glamorous pastries, wouldn't consider it acceptable for it citizens to do such a thing.
Well, officially, it's illegal. If caught, you will probably pay for it, anywhere from 35€ ($45) to 450€ ($577). However, you normally pay the minimum, and you have to be stupid enough to do it while a police man is walking by. I'm guessing they don't catch very many people.
Unfortunately, it does still happen, and often. But is it socially acceptable in France? No!
My husband explained that the way the French view public peeing is similar to how we view littering in the states. It's gross, not at all socially acceptable, and illegal. And yet, you still see a rather large number of people littering. Or rather, you see the evidence of it. Even some people who wouldn't normally do it convince themselves in emergency situations that "just this once won't hurt." You see? It's more or less the same as the American littering mentally.
Now to put a little perspective on things, France is definitely not the only country to have a problem with this. In fact, countries that don't have a problem with public pee-ers are pretty rare. God bless America.
*Public bathrooms are few and far between, rarely clean, and you sometimes have to pay. Sucks to be you if you don't have exact change handy. Thank goodness for McDonalds and Subway! I had a French person tell me that often the public bathrooms are so dirty that some people prefer peeing outside for hygienic reasons.
Truthfully, I've only seen a public peeing incident once in the two years that I've been here. A little, unsupervised boy was relieving himself on the side of a supermarket. So, not like this is happening constantly either.
This week's myth is, unfortunately:
To conclude, peeing in public in France is highly disapproved of and illegal. But every country has it's fair share of idiots who like to ruin it for the rest of us.
Most public toilets, even in women's restrooms, do NOT have seats. I haven't figured out how I'm supposed to use them yet. But hey, at least there's toilet paper at the University bathroom where I took this picture. In the middle school where I work they don't even give the kids toilet paper. That's gotta be convenient for teenage girls...
To give the school credit they did have soap in the bathrooms - once.
*When visiting European cities in general, I recommend looking up the locations of several public bathrooms that are in the area before heading out. It just makes things less complicated. MacDo, as they call it in France, is a pretty safe bet, and you can almost always find several downtown in large cities here.