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Question about public bathrooms

Ohio
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Question about public bathrooms

If I go into a cafe or store, what is the correct French phrase to use to ask if I can please use their bathroom? I've heard that in some case, they may ask me to buy something -- is this true most times?

I read also that there are public bathroom stalls that take coins too -- how common are those in the city? I just don't want to get into a situation where the need is there, but there is no where to go! :)

Paris, France
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1. Re: Question about public bathrooms

You could simply ask Where are the toilets please, or Ou sont les toilettes SVP. Be sure to say please. Also, there are self cleaning public toilets on most major streets or avenues. It maybe a good idea for you to purchase a small phrase book..lonely planet books are the best.

Edited: 30 January 2012, 21:20
Tampa, Florida
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2. Re: Question about public bathrooms

the self-cleaning toilets are called sanisettes, and they're free. Follow the instructions to use them.

Most large department stores have public toilets - look on the store map to find them.

Yes, in cafes, you'll be expected to purchase something -- even McDonald's usually has a code on the door that is printed on your receipt when you purchase something.

Go whenever you see an opportunity -- because you never know when the next opportunity will be.

Val-de-Marne, France
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3. Re: Question about public bathrooms

There are no toilets available to customers in stores so no need to ask for permission there. Large department stores will have them posted on their floor plan.

In cafés and restaurants just ask 'les toilettes s'il vous plait?' but they may show you the way before you even ask as soon as you get up from your table. In cafés it's often downstairs but not always.

The self cleaning toilets in the street are all free. Some other public toilets cost 20 to 50 cents and some are free.

Edit: crossposting with sunshine.

Edited: 30 January 2012, 21:32
Ohio
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4. Re: Question about public bathrooms

Do chain stores like GAP or Monoprix have public bathrooms? When in NYC, I can always count on GAP and Old Navy, as well as Starbucks or a hotel lobby. I'm guessing most Paris hotels don't have the kind of lobbies with restrooms that the big US hotels do though.

Paris, France
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5. Re: Question about public bathrooms

When looking for signs in a café or other small public place, you will often see "WC" instead of "toilettes" indicated.

Edited: 30 January 2012, 22:07
Tampa, Florida
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6. Re: Question about public bathrooms

No, chain stores do not have public toilets.

Mrs. F_M pretty much gave you the availability list. There are public toilets at the major sites, too -- the Eiffel Tower, the plaza in front of Notre Dame -- but we cannot stress enough how important it is to take advantage of an opportunity when you find it.

Florida
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7. Re: Question about public bathrooms

It's very funny that this thread, at this moment, is just under the one titled "When to Go?", hahaha... oh um, sorry.

Here are a couple more informative and sometimes amusing threads on the original topic:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g187147-i14-k44930…

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g187147-i14-k37316…

Chicago, Illinois
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8. Re: Question about public bathrooms

There are toilets underground in front of the Cathedral and also a small restroom in the garden at the back of the Cathedral. There are public toilettes in the Tuilleries under ground to the right facing away from the Louvre. There are public restrooms in the Louvre that you can get to without entering the museum itself I believe. you of course have to go through security to get into the pyramid but as I recall the toilets are outside of the entries to the wings on the mezanine.

Most large parks have restrooms -- Monceau has them in the round building at the entrance; the Luxembourg Gardens have several, one is near the cafe by the Medici Fountain; Butte Chaumont has them by the entrance but they are not attended and are disgusting. Train stations but not metro stations have them and they are attended and have a fee.

But if you are just out and about shopping or strolling there may not be public restrooms available -- at which point stopping for a quick cafe at a cafe is a ticket to the restroom there. My husband can drink coffee all day -- so he will go to the bar and order an espresso while I find the head. While the quality varies in cafe restrooms, the days of a hole in the floor and abrasive raspberry colored paper if any are gone. Most of the time the places are clean and have paper and western style toilets.

Always carry tissues in your pocket because while restrooms generally do have paper, unattended ones in parks sometimes don't and from time to time one finds cafe restrooms without. Rule of thumb is that attended restrooms are usually clean and have paper -- but you may need to get the paper BEFORE heading for the stall -- so look for rolls of paper or other people taking paper when you enter as the attendant does not always make that clear.

Out here somewhere
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9. Re: Question about public bathrooms

Here is a list of sanisettes locations:

www.paris.fr/pratique/Portal.lut…

Edited: 30 January 2012, 22:50
Winchester...
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10. Re: Question about public bathrooms

are turkish toilets still common in Paris?