Public street-facing urinals are causing a stir along pavements across Paris, with urinals disguised as flower-boxes and cropping up in some of the city‘s more glamorous quarters.
One eco-friendly “urinoir” deemed to be particularly offensive is painted in letterbox red and topped with a flower-box in the chic neighbourhood of Île Saint-Louis, just a stones throw from Notre Dame.
Local shopkeepers and residents in the tourist hot spot are protesting for the “immodest and ugly‘ urinal‘s removal and fear the city “is making itself ridiculous”.
“There‘s no need to put something so immodest and ugly in such an historic spot,” said Paola Pellizzari, 68, owner of a Venetian art store.
“It‘s beside the most beautiful townhouse on the island, the Hotel de Lauzun, where Baudelaire lived,” she said, referring to the 19th-century French poet.
She feared the urinal, installed around 22 yards from a primary school, “incites exhibitionism”.
Ile Saint-Louis locals said the receptacle, with no stall around it of any kind, could blight their ultra-chic neighbourhood.
“It‘s horrible,” said the 50-year-old owner of a nearby art gallery, who declined to give his name.
“We‘re told we have to accept this but this is absolutely unacceptable. It‘s destroying the legacy of the island. Can‘t people behave?”
Uritrottoir: The ‘street urinals‘ are also flowerboxes and supposedly an ‘eco solution to public peeing‘. Photo / facebook twitter email linkedin google-plus whatsapp pinterest reddit
“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,” Victor Massip, the inventor of the red flower-box model said.
“Uritrottoir” is a combination of the French words for urinal and pavement and is said to offer an ‘eco solution to public peeing”.
The device is essentially a box with an opening in the front and a floral display on top, containing straw which transforms into compost for use in parks and gardens.
The manufacturer, the Faltazi design agency, says it “stores urine in a bed of dry material, straw, which is then used as compost for the flowers”.
The straw reduces odour and eliminates the need for the urinal to be connected to the sewer.
Local mayor Ariel Weil has insisted the devices were necessary and Paris authorities have rolled out four more of the stand-up urinals in places where public peeing has been a problem.
A fifth is planned for next week.
‘Do not use before the bicycle has come to a stop‘: The public urinals are causing a stir amongst locals. Photo / facebook twitter email linkedin google-plus whatsapp pinterest reddit
“If we don‘t do anything, then men are just going to pee in the streets,” Mr Weil said.
“If it is really bothering people, we will find another location.”
Some have even branded their installation discriminatory.
“They have been installed on a sexist proposition: men cannot control themselves (from the bladder point of view) and so all of society has to adapt,” said Gwendoline Coipeault of French feminist group Femmes Solidaires.
“The public space must be transformed to cause them minimum discomfort.”
“It‘s absurd, no one needs to urinate in the street.”