Our Family’s (2nd) Year in the South of France
Kids and Castles - Our year with kids in the South of France

Sexism at the Fontaine-de-Vaucluse

It is the school break yet again and we are taking day trips around our area. There is still a lot to see and we only have two months left before we leave the village.

We visited Fontaine-de-Vaucluse. We saw the source of the river, which according to the visitor information is the biggest spring in France, and the fifth largest in the world. It is certainly a beautiful spot. The water is crystal clear, and there is some kind of water plant that gives the river a gorgeous green color.

River in Fontaine-de-Vaucluse

The source of the river is at the bottom of a cliff, which makes a pretty dramatic backdrop.

Cliff above the spring source

Source of the fifth largest spring in the world

The area is a bit touristy. You can clearly tell how to get to the famous source – just follow the stands selling things. We stopped at one of the most expensive ice cream places, which had the benefit of a view of the river. But the extra 2€ per scoop was worth it for the access to a clean washroom.

As it turned out, the men’s room at the ice cream place had one of the most lovely views in the whole area. Each man who took a leak was treated to this lovely scene:

View from the urinal

(Yes, I looked. But JM checked that the coast was clear first. I’m inappropriate, but with limits.)

But for the ladies – NOTHING!!! Just a white wall.  Not even a picture of the view – let alone the real thing. NOT FAIR!

3 Responses to “Sexism at the Fontaine-de-Vaucluse”

  1. Vered says:


    BTW, have you encountered sexism in France – real sexism? Supposedly it’s a more sexist society than the US.

    • Diane H. says:

      Hi Vered. It’s a good question. Frankly, no – although my language skills aren’t good enough to pick up anything subtle. I was expecting more of it.

      There’s actually more dads who do kid pickup/dropoff here than in California, and we’ve met many couples who seem to have a pretty balanced split of home/work/kid duties. (Of course, we’ve met the other kind too, but in similar numbers.)

      It may just be that we are in a small village, but certainly I’m not seeing any of the behaviors I’ve read about – like women only sipping a half-glass of champagne because of pressure to be thin. The women here are lovely, but not in the Paris “put-together-with-lots-of-effort” way.

      Frankly, no good stories at all – which is why I had to pick this one to blog about. 😉

  2. Shirley says:

    Ah, Fontaine-de-Vaucluse. I think this was the first stop on our Provence bike tour in 2002. As you said, nice, but touristy. Mark never mentioned the scenic urinals!