Looks like there’s a reason the French term oui oui is pronounced wee wee. Paris has installed urinals along the streets of the city. The public urinals, or Uritroittors, are the city’s efforts to stop citizens, specifically men, from urinating on the streets. In short, Paris is fighting fire with fire. Or in this case, fighting public urination with public urination.
The Uritrottoirs, a combination of the French terms for urinal and pavement, are placed specifically in congested areas that have the most public urinating problems.
The urinals may appear as red mailboxes but they are actually flower boxes. According to Uritrottoir’s website, the urinals are designed to blend in with the city’s landscapes and to “embellish your public spaces.” The website maps out how the Uritrottoir works, explaining how the urine is stored in a bed of dry matter, straw, and is then composted on a dedicated platform. The site then boasts of the ecological benefits of the Uritrottoir, calling it “the ecological urban solution to civilize wild piss.”
City officials also believe in the urinal’s eco-friendly benefits, saying that it could reduce the amount of chemical fertilizer used.
While the Uritrottoirs may be environmentally friendly, Parisians are upset with the public urinators, with many saying the installations challenge public decency. One Twitter user took photos of men using the urinals, calling it humiliating.
Translated in English:
It must have been a lot of smoke to imagine the new urinals of poor Paris.
# Paris humiliated! Paris delivered to the exhibitionists.
Il faut sans doute avoir beaucoup fumé pour imaginer les nouveaux urinoirs de ce pauvre Paris. #Paris humilié! Paris livré aux exhibitionnistes. #Hidalgo #uritrottoirs #GGRMC #BFMTV pic.twitter.com/xxqsqjAM9W
— Gabriel Bernard (@Bernard80007501) August 11, 2018
Paola Pelizzari, the owner of a Venetian art store, was appalled that a Uritrottoir was placed near the Notre Dame Cathedral.
“There’s no need to put something so immodest and ugly in such a historic spot,” Pelizarri said.
Others say the installations expose the city’s sexism.
“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,” Gwendoline Coipeault, a member of the feminist group Femmes Solidaires, said. “The public space must be transformed to cause them minimum discomfort.”
However, despite citizen complaints and letters to the city’s town hall, Paris’ mayor, Ariel Weil, defended the public urinals, calling them “an invention of genius” in a tweet he posted.
Translated in English, it says:
The question of the specific site is to decide with the inhabitants but the device, imagined by the inventor Nantes
@ lebot , made in France, ecological, tested with success in Nantes, which recommends a battery, and even in # paris for months remains an invention of genius!
La question du site spécifique est à décider avec les habitants mais le dispositif, imaginé par l’inventeur nantais @lebot, fabriqué en France, écologique, testé avec succès à Nantes, qui en recommande une batterie, & même à #paris depuis des mois, reste une invention de génie ! https://t.co/fVUeoy25OF
— Ariel Weil (@ArielWeilT) August 13, 2018
This is not the first time public urinals have been set up around the streets of Paris. Dating back to the 1830s, public urinals were installed in France for men travelling to and from work. They decreased, however, when women started working in the area, prompting the city to add enclosed cubicles instead.
So far there are at least four Uritrottoirs in the street of Paris, with a fifth to be installed at a later date.