Monday, March 13, 2006

Les Toillettes des Tours de Notre Dame

Yesterday was big. Rock and I hit the Louvre (covering about a third of it, which sounds like not much, but actually is a lot) before meeting Dr. B at Notre Dame. We planned to tour the church, and then head up to the Eiffel Tower at sunset, but by the time we got to the church, I was exhausted and my blood sugar was dangerously low, so we stopped into the nearby café for a crêpe and coffee, before starting our tour of the cathedral.

It's the Café des Tour de Notre Dame, so 2 coffees and 2 crêpes with chocolate syrup ran us around 20 euros. However, as we entered the café, I noticed a sign that said "our toilets are for our friendly customers only." After paying l'addition, I headed down to make use of the bathrooms.

When I got to the bottom of the narrow, spiral stairs, I saw a line of 4 or 5 women for the ladies room. There were three stalls, but only one of them was in use. In a moment, I saw why. It was a pay toilet. Yep, after spending 4 euros on some crappy espresso, and another 6 on a crêpe with a little Hershey's syrup squirted on it, they wanted me to pay 50 cents just to tinkle. So, being the resourceful french that they were, all the ladies were willing to wait in line just to catch the door of the one toilet so they didn't have to pay. I could wait, too.

An older french lady got in line behind me. She looked quite confused at why there was only one stall being used. As she figured out what was happening, she started to get agitated.

    The other ones, they are empty, no?

    Yes. They are. Go ahead.

    But you could go! The other two are not being used!

    No one wants to pay.

    But they are open! They are empty.

    I don't have any coins! I'll wait for this one. Go ahead!

    But you can go! Those two, no one has come out. They are dark. No one is in there! You can use them!!!

    I will wait. Go ahead, if you want.
She didn't take me up on my offer, but instead, she then tried to convince the Japanese women behind her in line to take the open stalls. They just looked confused when she spoke to them--likely didn't understand a word we were saying. She got them to enter one stall, and as I was leaving, I noticed them trying to figure out how to get the light on so they could see what they were doing.

Of course she waited to catch the door, to avoid paying the 50 cents. Mais bien sur. But of course.



At 9:05 AM, March 13, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We had a semi-similar(?) situation at the train station in Paris. V and I decided to use the facilities and encounter a ticket type booth at which you had to purchase a token to get through the turnstyle to the bathrm. A lady in front of us was having a rather heated discussion in French with the token lady....apparently she watched the lady from Australia put a real coin in the turnstyle and said nothing to really p....d off tourist!!! No signs or any info on procedure for anyone.....we were only glad that we weren't the first in line as we probably would have done the same......B

At 11:24 AM, March 13, 2006, Blogger miss tango in her eyes said...

Cunning old bag!!


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