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

Just Between Us Girls…

Ladies, if you are going to spend any amount of time in the south of France, there are a few things that you might want to be aware of.

  • No medical modesty – When you go to see the doctor or get an x-ray there is no paper dress, hospital gown, or disposable sheet to cover your naked self. You may be put in a small room to remove your clothes, but there is nothing  provided instead. I can intellectually understand that this is a good thing since a visual exam is  important to any medical procedure – and I know they see the girl parts anyway. But I still find it comforting to have some kind of cover, even an ineffective one.
  • No locker room nudity – On the flip side, when you go to the gym or the pool don’t strip down in the ladies’ locker room. There are small rooms with excessively private floor-to-ceiling doors where you go to change into your running shorts or bathing suit. It took several horrified looks from local French ladies to figure that one out – I assumed those cubicles were toilets.
  • Toilets not always segregated – Men and women frequently go to the same location to do their business. This comes in every possible combination: fully shared facilities, toilets that are designated for men or women but with a shared sink area, or a ladies’ toilet plus an unlabeled toilet. My personal favorite was the place that had one sink then a row of three urinals which you had to walk past to get to the one toilet cubicle that was also where the coats were hung.
  • Flush capabilities vary – I still don’t fully understand this one, but some toilets just don’t have much gumption. They seem to wash away the liquid, but leave the solids (paper or human) behind. Of course this always happens when there is a line so the next lady will know exactly who left what in the bowl. Occasionally there are two buttons. If you push one button and there are still remains, you can push the other one and see if you get lucky. But my tip – never generate solid waste until you are confident of what will happen next.

Forewarned is forearmed.

6 Responses to “Just Between Us Girls…”

  1. Vered says:

    Thanks for the warnings…and for the laughs. A good start to my otherwise stressful day!

  2. patti says:

    “never generate solid waste until you are confident of what will happen next”

    That’s just FUNNY, is what that is.


  3. Hahaha! SO true! Except when it comes to the gym – the first day I went to gym I waltzed into the ladies locker room to find everyone walking around naked and showering in the communal showers – I spun on my heels and went home. I was NOT ready for to take that step. I asked if this was normal and I was met with a sympathetic smile that said “Ahhh bless, the shy, prudish English girl” *sigh*

    • Diane H. says:

      Hi MiP! The walking around naked and the communal showers at the gym sounds just like California. Our gym here in the Drome area of Provence has these cubicles to change in. Maybe it’s a tiny village thing not a French/American thing?

  4. Jen says:

    Vive la France! Just when we are finally figuring things out- time to go back home…. 🙁

  5. Katie says:

    Love it! I did a post last year on the importance of wearing ‘good’ undies when going for a physical…. In case you get to leave them on walking from room to room. And French women always wear sexy underwear….