Paris’ last VESPASIENNE (rhymes with Parisian) or ‘outside urinal’ on boul. Arago. This lonely green, slightly rusting hulk is perhaps the last of its breed. Named after the Emperor Vespasian, and dubbed ‘pissotieres’, they were once part of Paris’ response to a city on the go, or rather a city that just had to ‘go’!

We imagine, yet again, women got shortchanged. I used to ride past this and one day decided to investigate, tho’ from a distance. Luckily video has no scent! People actually used this, and one lost soul, did so uhm, rather messily..while I was shooting. I had to b-a-c-k up…

Under Paris’s one time Prefect of the Seine, Rambuteau, the devices began appearing in about the 1830’s. They expanded from one to multiple user styles. Poets wrote of them and photographers still adore them (it)?

In the heady (sorry) heyday of Paris’ outdoor toilets, there were some 4,000 of these things! There’s a kinda sorta one in Parc Luxo, but its not covered and well, there are two excellent, clean, comfy toilets nearby. (One will set you back 50c, the other is in the aire de jeu (playground), but the folks there are very accommodating and will usually allow anyone clutching their privates in …for free. You did not hear that from me).  Footnote: Parc Luxo is not a public park, but rather a private one run by the French senate. Hint: buy your foods outside the park…!



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