After reading Libby Batten’s An American Monolinguist in Paris, I feel compelled to offer some useful tips about answering Nature’s Call in the City of Lights.
Tips on toilets
1. W.C. in French is pronounced vaysay.
2. Where are the toilets? It’s always plural. “Ou sont les toilettes?” Even if you only need one.
3. Never go out in Paris without some spare change in your pocket for toilet tips (usually about 50 centimes).
Ideal places to find W.C.s in Paris
* Paris parks.
* Jardin de Luxembourg – directly across from the bandstand.
* Les Tuileries – at the exit which leads to Rue Rivoli
(Public restrooms that you might normally avoid in other major cities tend to be better maintained in Paris, particularly in the gardens. You will need to pay, so don’t forget your centimes.)
* Some Metro stops.
* Cafes, NOT restaurants. Buy an expresso first.
* Department stores.
If you are reasonably well dressed, I might even suggest going into some of the larger hotels that have frequent American guests. But only in emergency situations obviously. If any hotel owners would object to this advice, I would say, the backpacker of today may very well be the hotel guest of tomorrow.