Thursday, 12 July 2012

The Lavatory Business

Pink toilet paper printed on the wall
Having walked around Paris for more than three days, there are some washroom tips to pass on.

The Louvre is wonderful as there are many pit stops in the massive museum. Musee d'Orsay only has a few, but then again it's relatively small. Petit Palais's restrooms are hard to find, but definitely has one in its cafe at the back and downstairs.

However, when you're walking along Boulevard Haussman and think you can use the loo at Au Printemps department store, you might want to hold it.

That's because on the first floor there is a washroom -- but you must pay 1.50 euros ($1.83) to use it.

When I found the place, there was a short line up and the woman at the reception -- yes there is a reception area -- was alternatively collecting the money and cleaning the stalls. Sounds totally unhygienic doesn't it?

Nevertheless once you pay the 1.50 euros, savour every moment in your stall.

In my case, one of the walls was covered in either a wallpaper or painted with stacks of pink toilet paper and above the toilet were little decorations and reading material behind a glass case (which
hardly made it useful).

This is what you get for 1.50 euros
So I took my time and then my business done, I walked out to use the tap to wash my hands and leave.

I was pretty annoyed at having to shell out for the privilege of using the loo, but when you gotta go...

Later that afternoon I arrived at Place Vendome, where high-end jewellers Chaumet and Van Cleef & Arpels first opened their boutiques and the Ritz Hotel are located.

In the middle of the square is the Vendome Column featuring Napoleon on top. It was modelled after Trajan's column to mark Napoleon's victory in Austerlitz in which he gained a new bride, the Archduchess Marie-Louise of Austria after he divorced Josephine because could not bear him any children.

In any event, Napoleon is standing with a laurel wreath around his head and holding a sword in his right hand and a globe with the statue of Victory in his left.

I only dared to window shop at the jewellery boutiques and besides, they seemed to be doing a brisk business with customers inside.

The stylishly marbled loo at the Ritz Hotel
However I wandered into the Ritz Hotel to take a look.

It's sad to remember this was the last place Princess Diana was at before she was killed in the fatal car accident almost 15 years ago.

The hotel is a bit cramped, but very elegant. Perhaps cozy is the best word.

There's a narrow hallway and there's a discreet icon of a woman's silhouette indicating a washroom!

I pushed the door open and was impressed to find a sophisticated powder room in a semi-circular format with three rooms furnished with pink marble.

What a pretty and clean loo! And even better, it was free.

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