Paris has taught me a very important life skill. Improving my French? Being able to immerse myself in a new culture? Experiencing a new education system? Nope. It’s holding my pee like my life depends on it. Not quite one for the CV, but important nonetheless.

This is not me just being some kind of Princess, nor am I exaggerating. This is an observation that pretty much everyone has made! The toilets here are honestly the most disgusting thing I’ve ever had the misfortune of coming across.

First of all, the smell. Sewage, sweat, damp- just generally every disgusting smell all fused together to make your peeing experience that much more terrible.

Once you get past that (you won’t), you need to find a cubicle that actually has a light- unless you think you could pee in the dark. I personally wouldn’t recommend taking this risk, as you really don’t know what you’ll find in some of the cubicles. (This is just by judging what I’ve seen when there has been light).

And then there’s the whole no seat business. It’s a bit of a crucial part of the loo and I don’t understand how the French have just neglected to put them on. What’s worse is that sometimes I just see the seat on the side of the toilet. Funnily enough, that’s not really where they’re supposed to be.

Without the safety of the toilet seat, you are already hovering above the loo anyway because the toilet itself is so disgusting you simply cannot touch it.


And sanitary bins….. non-existent?! Incredibly awkward because there’s only this sort of big communal bin by the sinks. I don’t know if this is the case for all of the loos at Descartes, but I really hope it isn’t.

There’s also very rarely any toilet paper. Which is just the cherry on top really.

My friends and I were also discussing why there aren’t any mirrors in French bathrooms. I personally think it’s because Paris know you don’t really want to see the reflection of the awful human you’ve become after this traumatising experience.

I don’t know how the University can really let this carry on, but apparently it’s just a “French uni thing”. Just a heads up France: A serious lack of hygiene should not be a “thing”. Sort it out, for the sake of our bladders.

Moral of the story: Don’t pee at uni. Unless it’s the very first cubicle (closest to the windows) in the toilets by the salle d’etude, then you’re safe. If not, you are definitely going to catch some sort of disease. Courage!



  1. I studied and worked in France over twenty years ago and recently returned for the first time in about as long.
    Although I loved it, I noticed that many of the things that drove me crazy back in the day really had not changed at all, so I wrote a post entitled ‘Ten things you may live to hate in France’. Funnily enough, the toilets made number 9 on the list, so your post made me laugh.
    Not so sure it’s going to change as much as you think. 🙂


  2. Pingback: WHERE TO HANG OUT IN UNI | Patel in Paris

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