World's Greatest Public Bathrooms

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Marc Augé / JCDecaux

When you gotta go, you gotta go, but sometimes the options are few—or rather unsavory. These public-accessible toilets provide sweet relief.

JCDecaux Public Toilets by Patrick Jouin, Paris

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The city of Paris tapped the highbrow interior designer Patrick Jouin to devise a new generation of public sanisettes. The resultant self-cleaning stalls may not inspire oohs and ahs like another of Jouin’s recent projects—Alain Ducasse’s Jules Verne restaurant in the Eiffel Tower—but they share the same minimalist lines and present a number of improvements over the city’s prior eyesores. The new design includes a spacious wheelchair-accessible interior; a pleasing palette of subdued grays and a leafy green; a “sky dome” for natural light; and an outside water fountain molded out of a sturdy shell designed to withstand the bumps and bruises of scooters and bikes. Access is free—just press a button and the door slides open. Wash up, read magazines, go about your business all you want. But be at the ready at the 20-minute mark, when the door automatically parts like a curtain.

Where to Go: There will be 400 installations by the end of the year; existing facilities can be found on boulevards St.-Germain and Montparnasse and on Place Monge in the Mouffetard neighborhood.

World's Greatest Public Bathrooms

JCDecaux Public Toilets by Patrick Jouin, Paris

The city of Paris tapped the highbrow interior designer Patrick Jouin to devise a new generation of public sanisettes. The resultant self-cleaning stalls may not inspire oohs and ahs like another of Jouin’s recent projects—Alain Ducasse’s Jules Verne restaurant in the Eiffel Tower—but they share the same minimalist lines and present a number of improvements over the city’s prior eyesores. The new design includes a spacious wheelchair-accessible interior; a pleasing palette of subdued grays and a leafy green; a “sky dome” for natural light; and an outside water fountain molded out of a sturdy shell designed to withstand the bumps and bruises of scooters and bikes. Access is free—just press a button and the door slides open. Wash up, read magazines, go about your business all you want. But be at the ready at the 20-minute mark, when the door automatically parts like a curtain.

Where to Go: There will be 400 installations by the end of the year; existing facilities can be found on boulevards St.-Germain and Montparnasse and on Place Monge in the Mouffetard neighborhood.

Marc Augé / JCDecaux
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