Twelve years after being closed and as of Monday the public baths of La Madeleinepublic toilets of the Belle Époque in Parispioneers when they were inaugurated in 1905.
To one side of the church of La Madeleine, some stairs adorned with period mosaics offer a little trip back in time and for only two euros one can relieve oneself in an environment Art nouveau.
In the basement, varnished mahogany walls, stained glass, ceramics with soft green patterns match “the beautiful, the luxury and the useful”according to the deputy for heritage of the mayor of Paris, Karen Taïeb.
Until Eric Sallesthe founder of Point WC luxury public restrooms, he wants to turn the place into an obligatory “destination”.
This company, which manages five other luxury bathrooms in the capital, had obtained a ten-year concession in 2015 for La Madeleine, classified in the category of Historical monument in March 2011 and closed the same year.
But the Art Nouveau work of the establishments porcherbased on the London model of the time, was “affected by infiltrations, which forced the concessionaire to postpone the work”, said the mayoress of the VIII district of Paris, Jeanne d’Hauteserre, present at the reopening of the site.
From the roof of the place, that is, at street level, natural light enters filtered by a historic glass floor that for this occasion was reinforced by “a triple waterproof layer”, while the period furniture was preserved, says Karen Taïeb. .
Although the city has yet to restore the stair mosaic, “everything is in its element”points out.
The dealer was however unable to find a shoeshine boy for the site, who at the time worked alongside a dais still on site.
With 750 public toilets and urinals, Paris claims to be the first city in the world “in terms of toilets in public spaces”.
The gratuity of public toilets was decided in 2006except for some places entrusted to concessionaires in highly touristic sites (Notre-Dame, Louvre, Champs-Élysées…).
According to the mayor’s office, only one example of vespasiana remains, another type of public toilet from the early 20th century, located on Arago boulevard.
(With information from AFP)
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