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French Aire toilets

(103 Posts)
Nannymags27 Tue 29-Oct-19 11:30:33

Had the misfortune to stop at an Aire which had a hole-in-the-ground type ladies’ toilet. How on earth are you supposed to use it?! I was wearing trousers and other than half undressing (with the soaking wet floor...!), it was a matter of balance (whilst contending with a handbag, too) & soggy shoes. I wondered why there was such a queue for the one cubicle! It was the one with the seat!!
Unsavoury subject, I know! But any thoughts...?

Poppyred Tue 29-Oct-19 11:34:52

Other to say they are disgusting - No!

M0nica Tue 29-Oct-19 11:54:46

We do not often stop at Aires and the ones we have visited have all been in Normandy or adjacent regions but when we do stop to use them we have always found toilet blocks of the type we are accustomed to.

Where did you have this unfortunate experience?

Nannymags27 Tue 29-Oct-19 13:33:56

Now you’re asking! It was coming back to Cherbourg from Brittany. I should’ve made a note...for future reference (avoidance!).

Pantglas2 Tue 29-Oct-19 13:52:42

I had to use once and had loose legged trousers which had to be turned up first, hand bag around neck an then a wobbly squat! And I was a lot younger and flexible then!

M0nica Tue 29-Oct-19 14:37:17

The one place I came across this type of loo in France was in St Valery-en-Caux, in upper Normandy and they were in the town centre and it was quite a time ago.

Amagran Tue 29-Oct-19 14:41:56

We stopped at the viewing area for the Millau Viaduct in France about three years ago. It is a really beautiful, state of the art iconic structure, world famous, award winning etc. ……..and the toilets? A hole in the ground!

TerriBull Tue 29-Oct-19 14:59:27

I first discovered them way back in the 20th century, my thoughts at the time were, I suppose this is how everyone went once........amazingly they still have them!

Welshwife Tue 29-Oct-19 15:26:29

I think a lot of them have gone now and been replaced. Where very countrified places have them I have found the disabled toilet is usually a normal one.

Mamie Tue 29-Oct-19 15:29:55

The key is to stop at the aires that are service stations with petrol which will have the right sort of loo. The ones in between that have no services apart from loos are where the hole in the ground sort linger, but they are dying out.
The ones with Paul's have the best sandwiches imo.

Nannymags27 Tue 29-Oct-19 15:42:21

Mamie: yep, the ones with the petrol are definitely the ones to head for! And, yes, the choice of sandwiches is great. However, sometimes, needs must 🥴!

GagaJo Tue 29-Oct-19 16:37:54

I lived in China for a while and squat toilets are common there. I got better at using them although never mastered the squat. A knee bent and leaning forward, bum out at the back, was the best I could manage.

Davidhs Tue 29-Oct-19 16:58:30

On a trip to India we had a stop on a long road journey the toilets were so disgusting the ladies went and found a bush. Almost as bad was the underground toilets in the center of Verona, to make it worse there was a crone selling toilet paper as you went in

WishIwasyounger Tue 29-Oct-19 17:14:09

I'm now used to squat toilets on the continent. Use like Gagajo says above - knee bent and leaning forward, bum out at the back. I can't manage a full squat now: if I did I'd never get back up again.

annodomini Tue 29-Oct-19 17:18:00

Some Aires are pretty disgusting. We found that the best were to be found in the bigger Aires with a petrol station and a shop selling sweets and souvenirs. The most revolting I ever encountered was just over the border from Geneva. The stench was so unbearable that I resolved to cross my legs until we reached our destination! Successfully, in case you wondered.

LullyDully Tue 29-Oct-19 17:18:59

They are a bit smelly but no different to weeing in the fresh air as we did as children!!

( The countryside isn't as obliging these days.)😁

Needs must.

mokryna Tue 29-Oct-19 17:28:58

Chinese swat ones were at there worst when you arrived on a ... no water allocation day and were still asked to pay. Oh, and some has a no door policy but that was a luxury as some had no partitions.

Missfoodlove Tue 29-Oct-19 18:00:47

I always avoid the “Aires” we generally leave the motorway and find a L’Eclerc.
I have a real problem with toilets unfortunately, it can make travel a real chore.
I really want to visit India but I’m too nervous because of my phobia with toilets.

crystaltipps Tue 29-Oct-19 18:23:51

Pants down to heels not on floor. Spread legs either side in foot rests. Put weight on heels. Lean forward. Squat. Stick bum out. Put elbows on knees. Go. Alternatively find bush or nearest supermarket. Always carry tissues in bag. Job done (sic). Actually if you go on the autoroutes which have a toll there are usually decent loos after you’ve gone through the ticket collection point.

Tedber Tue 29-Oct-19 18:54:02

I think I actually preferred the hole in the ground than manky toilet seats! Once you get the hang of it, leave your coat and bag with your other half it is simple!

Sillygrandma5GK Tue 29-Oct-19 18:55:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Tedber Tue 29-Oct-19 18:57:10

Reminds me of a trip to France in the 70's. Stopped off at an auberge in the middle of nowhere, when I asked ou sont les toilettes? Was pointed to a door. Imagine my surprise when I went through the door and found myself in the middle of an overgrown field!!! I kid you not! As someone said....needs must ha ha.

BlueBelle Tue 29-Oct-19 18:58:06

This is the toilets I had in my own home in Malaysia you do get used to it but not good if you have a bad tummy 🤔

Riggie Tue 29-Oct-19 19:19:58

Memories are flooding back BlueBelle. Indian Holiday. I could just manage hole in the ground for a wee if I removed knickers into handbag and hoisted skirt above my neck!!
But at the airport with the runs...the attendant usually showed me into a western style cubicle but I went in so often (long stopover) that she realised I was in trouble and just ushered me into the first available cubicle!!

silverlining48 Tue 29-Oct-19 19:47:29

Visited India on a tour earlier this year. The toilets in the hotels we stayed in were fine though all had a bucket .and hose, not sure what for , but those we stopped at en route were generally holes, and take your own paper.
As for the French Aires they look like shining stainless ( ha) steel cathedrals and can be seen for miles, such expectation, but once again, disappointment with wet smelly holes. So far have managed to avoid. What to do with ones trousers, tres awkward.