This story is over 5 years old.

The VICE Guide to Right Now

Paris's New Super Public Urinals Are Tearing the City Apart

The whole city is pretty pissed.
Drew Schwartz
Brooklyn, US
Photo by THOMAS SAMSON/AFP/Getty Images

For years, Paris has been dealing with a scourge of public urination, with men feeling entitled enough to just whip it out and pee on its streets, sidewalks, and city walls. So when a design firm pitched the city on installing a handful of public, open-air, trash can-like urinals to help deal with the problem, local officials actually went for it—but now residents are pretty pissed.

According to NPR, four of the bright red "uritrottoirs"—complete with signs depicting a cartoon peeing with bravado—have cropped up at some of the city's most esteemed locales, like the one overlooking the Seine right by Notre Dame. The boxes, filled with compost for men to pee into, have a little slot on the side and are topped with flower boxes in some bizarre attempt to make them less of an eyesore.


“It’s horrible,” one local in Ile Saint-Louis told Reuters. "We’re told we have to accept this, but this is absolutely unacceptable. It’s destroying the legacy of the island. Can’t people behave?"

"There's no need to put something so immodest and ugly in such an historic spot," another local told Reuters.

Parisians have slammed the public wiz palaces, calling them everything from "bullshit" to straight-up "sexist." Gwendoline Coipeault, a feminist activist, told Reuters the idea that everyone has to suffer through seeing dudes pee into gaudy-ass trashcans just because they can't make it to a real bathroom is insane.

"They have been installed on a sexist proposition: men cannot control themselves (from the bladder point of view) and so all of society has to adapt," Coipeault said. "It's absurd, no one needs to pee on the street."

According to CNN, residents are writing letters to local government protesting the things, but local leaders seem hell-bent on keeping them around—giving into the animalistic behavior instead of, you know, punishing men for peeing on the streets. Ariel Weil, the mayor of a district home to one of the piss-boxes, hailed them as an "invention of genius," telling Reuters that "if we don’t do anything, then men are just going to pee in the streets." Meanwhile, the city's already planning on installing another one.

It looks like locals will just have to continue to watch some tourist take a leak while they're out for a promenade along the boulevard or whatever—all because men are apparently incapable of just going to a regular goddamn bathroom.

Sign up for our newsletter to get the best of VICE delivered to your inbox daily.

Follow Drew Schwartz on Twitter.