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When it comes to public toilets, things like cleanliness and accessibility are often more important than, say, the interior decorating at play. But stopping by a fancy bathroom while you’re out and about can be a nice surprise nonetheless, and a new one in Paris might just take the cake.
The historical Lavatory de la Madeleine is now open to the public once again. First opened in 1905, the Art Nouveau-inspired space was one of the first public toilets opened in France and Europe. It features varnished wood furnishings, mahogany doors, stained-glass windows, state-of-the-art green quartz ceramicware, and even a throne-like shoe-shining chair on the dais.
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Although the Lavatory de la Madeleine is listed as a historic monument, it closed in 2011 after falling into disrepair. Luckily, the toilets have been renovated over the past decade, and finally reopened to the public on February 20, 2023.
If you’re interested in checking out the bathroom’s amenities for yourself, you can find it at the base of the 19th-century church La Madeleine, located between Place de la Concorde and Boulevard Haussmann in Paris’ eighth arrondissement. To reach it via public transportation, get off at the Madeleine metro station.
Sadly, using the Lavatory de la Madeleine isn’t free. Entry will cost you €2 (which is roughly $1.80), which isn’t exactly cheap for a public bathroom. But the bathroom is so stunning that, using the right angles, you might be able to use it as the backdrop for an impromptu photo shoot once your business is done.
When it comes to traveling, Paris is actually one of your best bets when it comes to public toilet availability. A recent study by QS Supplies found that the City of Lights has the top number of restrooms available to the public, with nearly seven toilets per roughly two-and-a-half square miles.