It's one of the bugbears of life in the French capital. With toilets hard to come by late at night, many revellers simply choose to urinate on the city’s streets.
It’s a practice the French call “wild peeing” (pipi sauvage) and one that many people – residents and tourists alike – would like to see go the way of the floppy disc.
So a new plan that will see 170 automated public toilets open around the clock from this summer on is bound to come as music to the ear. It’s also a massive increase on the paltry figure of 20 such facilities that are currently open 24 hours a day.
Authorities are also planning to open 50 new toilets with locations based on a map of current “outpourings” drawn up the city’s put-upon cleaning services.
The use of public toilets has climbed 41 percent since 2011 with those in the busiest locations seeing 200 visits a day, according to cleaning group JCDecaux.
But users are not always happy with the experience.
“They often smell of urine and you don’t really want to hang about in there,” one taxi driver told Paris daily Le Parisien.“I’ve only used (them) once and to be honest I wouldn’t set foot in one again. Unless it was an emergency,” Monmartre resident Jocelyn told the paper.
No matter how you feel about using the toilets, however, it’s clear the current coverage is not sufficient. The number of fines for “wild peeing” rose from 2,189 in 2014 to 2,511 last year.
And with those fines now up to €68 from €35 previously, that should be enough to make anyone think twice.
The new public toilet plans in Paris are put of a concerted effort by the city to clean itself up and become a “model city for the rest of Europe”. The plans include an overhaul of cleaning equipment such as leaf blowers, the hiring of 79 new garbage workers and the establishment of an “anti-incivility brigade” that
The agents will be able to hand out fines when they see people throwing litter or their cigarettes on the ground, for example.