Paris: new urinals get mixed reviews


Paris, which has long had an issue with 'wild peeing,' is trying a new tack by installing a new type of public urinal that is meant not only to serve a need but to help the environment by providing compost.

That's the plan, but it's run into immediate controversy, in part because some of them are in prominent locations near historic spots, and in one case, only yards away from a school. The design is part of the issue: aside from a U-shaped receptacle, there's no real privacy.

The red-topped receptacles, which have planters on top, are filled with straw that eventually becomes compost, and is collected by trucks. The units are said to be odor-free.

Those of us who are older may remember that this isn't the city's first experience with public urinals. The city once had well over a thousand sidewalk facilities, known as Vespasiennes (and also as urinoirs or pissoirs). Only one remains, near the Santé prison.

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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Other places have tried to address the problem through improved signage, sometimes in a humorous way, as seen on our travels last week in Miltenberg (Germany). Roughly translated, the sign says "Over there, dad!" - and points to a public toilet just around the corner.



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