True Paris Flavour

 A walk along the Seine, on the eve of a beautiful summer day. It has been hot and dry for days now, and the stench is overwhelming. Especially underneath the bridges you are holding your breath as you run towards fresher air.
Paris has quite an outdoor peeing culture. It seems natural for men to unzip and mark a tree. Or a car. On the door hinge.

I never understood this: if you have to piss because you’ve had that many beers, chances are that you are not too far away from a pub anyways – why not ask to use their bathroom? Granted, it would be nice if there were more public bathrooms throughout the city, but one sees more often public urinals, useable only by men, than real toilets. And yet, women seem to be able to hold it in just fine.

I look outside my window at night, and regularly see somebody pissing on a tree. Those little squares around a tree trunk, where you can see the ground? Yeah, avoid them at all cost. They are saturated with urine.

Some places are better, some places are worse, and some places are downright toxic. There is a construction site right across the street. The area is fenced off, and between the fence and the next parked car seems to be a new favorite spot, attracting pissers from the entire quarter. The color of the asphalt is now noticeably different. Last week there was also a turd. Nice.

But, since there is no escape, you deal with it. You maybe start avoiding that stretch along the Seine, or that street behind the Gare de l’Est. And you’re grateful for every cleansing summer rain.