Paris Residents Are Outraged Over New Open-Air Urinals Cropping Up Around The City

Paris public urinal on the Seine.
Michel Spingler / AP Images

A number of eco-friendly, completely exposed urinals have been cropping up along the streets of Paris, causing an uproar among locals, writes the Telegraph.

Although public urination has been an ongoing issue in the city, some residents are reportedly “shocked” by the solution. The boxes are bright-red, topped with flower boxes, and filled with straw (meant to reduce odor), which is later used as compost in local parks and gardens. However, they have been criticized for making the city look unattractive.

One urinal, located near Notre Dame cathedral, is of particular concern. Paola Pellizzari, a local art dealership owner, told Reuters how she felt about the new installation, adding that she thought the urinals would “incite exhibitionism.”

“There’s no need to put something so immodest and ugly in such a historic spot. It’s beside the most beautiful townhouse… the Hotel de Lauzun.”

Another resident said, “We’re told we have to accept this but this is absolutely unacceptable. Can’t people behave?” according to the BBC.

The “uritrottoir,” a combination of the words urinal and pavement in French, has also been accused of being sexist. Gwendoline Coipeault spoke more about this, reported Reuters.

“They have been installed on a sexist proposition: men cannot control themselves and so all of society has to adapt. No one needs to urinate in the street.”

Urinals installed in the ultra-chic Ile Saint-Louis have residents and store owners writing to the mayor to insist on their immediate removal. They have even threatened to launch a petition, reports the Telegraph.

Shopkeepers have been complaining to authorities about people urinating in the streets for quite some time now. Although they have even requested the installation of urinals to deal with this problem, the solution is not what they expected.

One shopkeeper in the area, Paola, admitted that residents requested the urinals but then added, “But this model, 20 meters from a primary school, is not suitable at all.”

The Telegraph also reported that a visitor from Amsterdam thought the urinals were originally a modern art installation because of the flower boxes on top. Another visitor, this time from Leicester, commented that public urinals were something that would only happen in France and never in the U.K.

The inventor of the model on the Ile Saint-Louis, Victor Massip, defended the urinals.

“People urinating on the streets of France is a serious problem and we knew there was a demand for a solution, so we’ve come up with one.”