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Loo seats: where are they?

Angela Bird

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I keep coming across otherwise ultra-modern French public loo facilities WITHOUT SEATS! Very chilly for us ladies and it doesn't seem very hygienic, either.

Now I could understand this if there were signs of vandalism, or if the loos were in unattended and out-of-the-way spots. But my most recent discoveries have been in:

- a service station on the southbound carriageway of the Rennes-Nantes dual carriageway;
- the Agincourt/Azincourt visitor centre, near Hesdin (62);
- the Brittany Ferries terminal building in St-Malo (these loos didn't even have the two holes near the back into which you would screw the fixings for a loo seat!).
In each case, I checked out every cubicle in the ladies', in case I had just struck it unlucky...

At Agincourt I took the matter up with the charming lady on the reception desk. She looked totally bemused at the idea that anybody could be shocked at the absence of a seat, or find it frankly rather disgusting. She was so incredulous at my surprise that I actually had to ask her - in a good-humoured way - whether she and her colleagues all used loos like this at home.
I should add that the ladies' loos at Agincourt were immaculate, with their doors jokily painted to resemble medieval tents.
The receptionist appealed to her colleagues in bewilderment to see if *they* knew why there were no loo-seats, and one of them said that they were always being broken, so they had stopped replacing them.
I really find this hard to believe, as admission to the Centre costs 6 euros, so I wouldn't have thought you would have vandals in off the streets in large numbers. Also the ladies' loo cubicles were otherwise immaculate, with not a single chip on the paintwork, so vandalism really didn't look to be an issue.

Do today's French architects consider them unnecessary? Do you think they have no loo seats in their own homes?


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I always thought it was a natural progression from the old-style Turkish ("Shower Tray") toilets.
To me they seem offer a good compromise, vandal resistant and more hygenic than the UK model: once you have mastered the "hover" technique!
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