Paris sanisette with familar Eiffel Tower background
Accessibility,  Life in Paris & France

Paris Toilets – Free and Clean, Stylish or Standard

Paris sanisette with familar Eiffel Tower background

A variety of toilets await you in Paris ranging from the free automatic cleaning type, a luxurious designer pay toilet worth the 1.50 euro price, or your standard. In the standard you always have to hope you will find soap in the dispenser! Bring your own just in case.

Free and Clean
Patrick Jouin designs for practical usage with a woman in mind. When he designed Paris’ sanisettes (automatic public toilets located along sidewalks) it was to make them accessible to the handicap, of course. He designed them for women as well.

Patrick Jouin is one of my favorite designers for his practicality and style: Velib’ stations, 58Tour Eiffel restaurant, Galeries Lafayette shoe department, Jules Verne restaurant, etc.

Paris sanisette has plenty of room to turn around

One day, while listening to a radio interview, I was struck by his understanding that women do not like tight spaces. He could have said that women do not want to see or smell mold, discolored corners and grime in a bathroom or WC.  Welcome to one example of Paris’ idea of the clean toilet.

Since 2010 JC Decaux operates about 400 automatic toilets of these free toilets around Paris. The Paris Mayor’s Office Web site provides an entire list. ( Web site – click on “Liste des Sanisettes par Arrondissement) .

Paris sanisette/automatic toilet interior with verbal instructions

Sanisettes have proven helpful to me around the Eiffel Tower (one in front of the tower and one located at the RER C exit) and while running to the doctor’s office (next to the Honoré de Balzac statute — literary inspiration?). Other times, I wished that I had the list with me! Plan to use them between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.

About the sanisettes
“A manually operated emergency exit, which can be opened by firefighters, for example, is accessible from the outside. Emergency lighting and a fire extinguisher have been installed to optimize safety. Comfort has also been enhanced. The doors open and close automatically and the toilets are heated in winter and equipped with coat hangers, a mirror, a washbasin and even background music. In a move towards sustainable development, the new automatic toilet uses 30% less water than the previous model. The lighting is natural – it is supplied by a well of light placed on the roof. It is equipped with a motion sensor and therefore only works when the toilet is occupied. The entire electricity supply comes from renewable energy sources (wind, solar, hydraulic and biomass).” — Paris Convention and Tourist Bureau

In addition, an automated voice instructs when the door is closing and whether to use the light or the heavy flush. It is not always easy to understand. (Gallery of photos below)

Parks, Gardens and Public Areas
In 95 of Paris’ parks and gardens, you will find free toilets during opening times (they close either at sunset or dusk). The public toilets found near or in metro stations, shops and tourist areas are also free. They are “manned” by a “Dame pipi”. A small tip (20-50 cents) is appreciated but not required.

The opening times are 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. One example is the much advertised Madeleine, built in 1905 Art Nouveau style with its ceramic walls, wood doors and stained glass.

Place de la Madeleine, Paris 8th
Facing the Madeleine Church, go toward the metro sign (right) and take the stairway

For the Handicap
The automatic toilets (sanisettes) are accessible to disabled people — wide enough for a wheelchair and equipped with a grab bar, recorded instructions and signage in Braille.

Disabled facilities in Paris parks
Jardin de l’Intendant, 53 boulevard de la Tour-Maubourg, Paris 7th (near the Invalides hospital)
Parc du Champ-de-Mars, 2 allée Adrienne Lecouvreur, Paris 7th
Jardin des Champs-Élysées (toilets accessible from the Théâtre Renaud-Barrault), 10 avenue des Champs-Élysées, Paris 8th
Parc de Bagatelle, Route de Sèvres à Neuilly, Paris 16th
Parc Monceau, 35 boulevard de Courcelles, Paris 8th

RATP/RER accessible toilets since 2010
Metro line 14 (Olympiades and Bibliothèque-François-Mitterrand stations)
Metro line13 (Argenteuil)
Metro line 7 (Villejuif-Louis-Aragon).

On the Réseau Express Régional (RER) train network, 25 toilets have been renovated, including seven in Paris, at the following stations: Charles-de-Gaulle-Étoile (Salle Friedland), Auber, Châtelet (2 new toilets), Gare de Lyon, Nation and Luxembourg.

Regular style free public toilets in Paris
(The phrase “1st, 4th, etc.” means 1st arrondissement, 4th arrondissement)

244 rue de Rivoli, Paris 1st
Place du Châtelet, Paris 1st
Place du Palais-Royal, Paris 1st
2 quai du Louvre, Paris 1st
15 boulevard Saint-Denis, Paris 2nd
5 place de la Bastille, Paris 4th
Place Edmond Michelet, Paris 4th
Place de l’Hôtel de Ville, Paris 4th
Place du Parvis Notre-Dame (next to the Charlemagne statue), Paris 4th
Square de la tour Saint-Jacques (in front of 6 rue Saint-Martin), Paris 4th
47 boulevard Saint-Germain, Paris 5th
149 boulevard Saint-Germain (Saint-Germain car park), Paris 5th
Avenue Joseph Bouvard, Paris 7th
Avenue George V, avenue Montaigne, Paris 8th
Avenue des Champs-Élysées (the Espace Cardin side), Paris 8th
Avenue Marceau, avenue des Champs-Élysées, Paris 8th
38 boulevard Haussmann, Paris 9th>
53 boulevard Haussmann, Paris 9th
Boulevard des Italiens, boulevard Haussmann, Paris 9th
Avenue Ernest Renan (Metro: Porte de Versailles), Paris 15th
Avenue du Président Wilson (Metro: Trocadéro), Paris 16th
34 boulevard Barbès, Paris 18th
1 rue Lamarck, Paris 18th

Stylish, Luxury Toilets
State of the art toilets are available around Paris. Eric Salles opened his first Point WC shop on the Champs-Élysées in 2006. Each cabinet is hand-cleaned after use; a separate room for parent and baby is available; each decor is different. There is a Point WC boutique available to buy unique supplies: toilet paper; children’s accessories, wine, etc. Visit the Corporate Web site to watch a video news report on Point WC en français bien sur.

Mr. Salles has expanded his business into designing and installing public toilets around Paris. Each one has a customized decor and background music. The latest is a haute couture designed signed by Florence Gonot. Some Point WC receive about 50,000 visitors per month. They cost from €1 to €1.50 to use.

Point WC locations:
Point WC Carrousel du Louvre, 99 rue de Rivoli, Paris 1st
Point WC Galerie Élysées 26, 26 avenue des Champs-Élysées, Paris 8th
Point WC Passy Plaza, 53 rue de Passy, Paris 16th
Point WC Printemps Haussmann, 69 boulevard Haussmann, Paris 9th
Printemps de la Mode (1st floor); Printemps de l’Homme (3rd floor, open on Saturday only); Printemps de la Maison (1st floor)

Standard free toilets
You can always find a free toilet in various stages of cleanliness in bars, cafés, brasseries, restaurants, fast food outlets and department stores.

List of helpful Paris guidebooks for the disabled .

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