Le Lavatory – Paris’ chicest public restroom

November 3, 2023

Paris has more than 400 public toilets throughout the city, so the good news is that you’re never far from the next loo. Just look for a gray container labeled ‘toilettes’ or type the word into Google Maps. The bad news is that because they are free, they are often abused as drug use or sleeping places. If you want to upgrade your potty break and give it some of that old Parisian charm, head to Le Lavatory on Place de la Madeleine for a germ-free and clean experience.

Le Lavatory is Paris' only Art Deco public restroom.

Art Nouveau architecture

Built in 1905 by Porcher-Revin and recently reopened after a twelve-year closure and thorough renovation, Le Lavatory is the city’s only Art Nouveau public toilet. It was modeled after London toilets of the time and features beautiful woodwork, mosaic tiles, and arabesques.

It was created in the underground as a measure against men relieving themselves on street level and the resulting overflow of, well, you know. Despite being listed as a historic monument, the Lavatory was forced to close in 2011 due to a lack of visitors.

The sign indicating the Art Nouveau public restrooms Le Lavatory at Madeleine.

Loyalty card and merchandise

Its recent reopening is a relief to architecture buffs (as well as to people who frequently pass through the neighborhood, we imagine). Of course, the pleasure of answering nature’s call in such a charmingly nostalgic setting doesn’t come for free. For the modest sum of 2 euros, you can do business in a clean and historic place, with the option of a loyalty card to reduce the price to 1 euro. You can even buy merchandise on site, such as colored toilet paper and personalized brushes.

Le Lavatory
Place de la Madeleine
8th arrondissement
Métro: Madeleine (8, 12, 14)
Opening hours: Mon-Sun 10am-6pm


PS: Get your personalized guide to have the best experience throughout your whole stay, not just when it comes to public restrooms.