Le cul entre les deux chaises

An American Spaniard in France or: How I Learned to Make an Ass of Myself in Three Cultures

Oh, the places you’ll live!


European real estate is a weird thing. In Barcelona, I arrived at my assigned student housing and found that this was my room.

On Carrer de Sardenya, Barcelona 2005

On Carrer de Sardenya, Barcelona 2005

When I’d lived in a dorm my freshman year in college and had to share a tiny cell with a total stranger I still had more space to myself and certainly had more storage. The photo is taken from the doorway and there were no other furnishings in el cuarto. Notably absent was a place to put my clothes. Or my suitcases. Or my books. Or even to sit down and study. It was a nightmare.

And now in France, I have an opposite problem. Toilets here tend to get their own rooms which makes no sense to me.

My toilletes (and yes, it's plural for reasons beyond me).

My toilletes (and yes, it’s plural for reasons beyond me).

It’s a total waste of space, and from a construction perspective, the cost of an additional door and two walls seems irresponsible. If it were a half bath (toilet and a sink), I wouldn’t object so much, but with this design, you are obligated to touch the handle with dirty hands. It’s both excessive and unhygienic which are words that some people might use to describe the French. (But not me! I aime the French!)


Author: le cul en rows

I'm an American Spaniard, living in France. I like to tell stories.

4 thoughts on “Oh, the places you’ll live!

  1. Ha, my Mum’s house is the same with the seperate toilet. Bit old-fashioned now.

    • Huh, I guess I’ve never been in a private home in the UK. Is the toilet room a common thing there? I feel safe in saying that it doesn’t exist in the US unless specially built by a Francophile.

  2. One of the many things about France that doesn’t make sense to me either. And to think they pride themselves on “la raison”… :)

    • I’m going to get to the bottom of this some day as it actively bothers me every day and no one has been able to give me a good enough reason for it. It’s complete nonsense and even more maddening, as you say, in a place that values “reason” above most things!

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