On one of our French day trips we climbed a mountain…in a car, of course. Dabo Rock is at the top of a very big mountain and it has a chapel at the top. The Dutch are not used to having their ears pop as they live in a country as flat as a pancake, but on this trip our ears were sure popping. The view from the top is absolutely breathtaking and you wonder how people climbed this mountain years ago. I forgot to mention that a chapel was built in 1002 when someone climbed the mountain and decided to make a ‘holy place’.

Dabo Rock France

Before we started the trip down the mountain, we decided to use the public toilets. I was surprised that there were some. Dabo Rock has a restaurant and hotel, but these toilets were right next to the parking lot. We three, of the female persuasion, were stopped in our tracks when we walked through the door. We were facing a stall that had no toilet. Was the toilet stolen? Were they replacing it? Were the bathrooms being remodeled? No, this was a pretty typical French public bathroom. Women stand in the stall and relieve themselves. We stood in the doorway, we stared and then the three of us quickly left, but not before our daughter took this photograph.

French toilet

When we were driving down the mountain, we stopped on the side of the road to take a photo of the incredible view. Our son, who was in the back seat, said “why are we stopping? Are you going to pee here?” I laughed and said, “if I didn’t go in that horrible stall, why would I go in the bushes and risk poison ivy and all sorts bugs crawling around me?” Our family had a good time talking about the bathroom and we were so grateful when we got back to our cottage. It had a real toilet that you could sit on and read a magazine.

I don’t ask for a lot of things in my life, but the basics are just required. I would rather do yoga, naked, at the top of the Eiffel Tower than use that stall. Granted, it was the only toilet-free toilet we saw in France and yet I understand they are still pretty common. Maybe these toilets were “new and modern” in 1002, but right now, in 2012, we want to sit down. I ask you, is that too much to ask?

View from Dabo Rock France

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  • Karen  On August 17, 2012 at 11:49 am

    Now everyone has to tell you their bathroom story right????? Well last year when I was in Joshua Tree National Park with a group, we were in the middle of nowhere with no bathrooms so I had to wait until the group went ahead. I stayed behind and had the whole place to myself. I squatted down and wouldn’t you know I landed smack on a cactus thorn which caused the most pain I had ever felt in by rear end. End of story.

  • Jean Langley  On August 20, 2012 at 2:00 am

    Yes, of course. Everyone has a bathroom story! I first encountered one of these “flushing holes” in Greece. Like you, Jane, I think I passed up the first one in disbelief. I had to get over that, though, out of necessity. It’s quite a trick. It’s good if you don’t have stuff in the way, and if you have something to hold onto. (hard to tell from the photo whether you could support yourself on the wall with a hand.) I think I encountered a similar “convenience” on the walking tour of Tuscany I did many years ago. I have to say, it’s good training for peeing in the woods, another thing I wouldn’t do on my first group hikes. I got over that, too. But you do have to watch where you squat! And who remembers to put bug spray on their butts!

  • Alison  On August 22, 2012 at 11:17 am

    I encountered one of those toilet-free toilets in a bar in the heart of Milan. Fortunately the rest of the bathrooms in Milan lived up to the city’s high-fashion reputation.

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