Friday, March 30, 2012

French shower design: Half door, wet floor. Why?

France is home to great wine, great cheese and the worst-designed showers in the world. The photo is from a 4-star hotel, but they're made like that all over the country.

Why? What's up with the half door, or in many cases, no door? How are people supposed to take a shower without soaking the bathroom floor?

This would work in Japan, where baths are designed to overflow and there's a drain in the middle of the floor. If there's some secret advantage to the French shower design -- better visibility for voyeurs? easier access to one's lover? -- I'd like to know it.

Or maybe there has just been a decades-long shortage of the materials to make shower curtains. Could that be why Napoleon conquered the continent? He famously sent his wife Josephine a message, "I'll be home in three days. Don't bathe." Perhaps that's because he was worried she would cause mildew on the bathroom floor.

Please, please somebody explain French shower design to me.

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21 comments:

TexaCali Ali said...

Exactly. What's up with this? I can never warm up in France! Fun post, I've had this very discussion with others during travel through extraordinary French chateaus and hotels.

Adam Lee/Siduri Wines said...

Makes it easier to storm the Bathstille.

Adam Lee
Siduri Wines

Bill Eyer said...

Great post, I've encountered this same odd design in Italy, on more than one occasion. The floor became a bit too much like the slip & slide from my youth, ahh the memories...makes for great morning exercise, honing my reflexes and balance as I make my way across the bathroom floor.

Jon Bjork said...

I thought it was because they never actually use it. It's only for us 'Mericans. :-)

King Krak, I Rule the Game said...

Seen that there too often, too. Some hotels have two kinds of rooms though - ones with real showers and ones with this fake kind; see if you can switch the next time.

And while we're on the subject of European plumbing, what's up with most of the UK STILL having separate hot and cold water spouts at their sinks? You get burning hot out of one, and cold out of the other; the rest of the world(?) has combined these into a single spout (even with a single faucet control). Just barbaric.

LeeNewby said...

Your olfactory sense was too attuned to the heady aromas of the wines of Burgundy, simple fact the French don’t shower so they don’t need good showers in their homes.

Peter said...

Don't know but at least they have bidets which are very nice.

W. Blake Gray said...

Peter: You mean those fruit-washers in the bathroom? Is that what they're for?

Anonymous said...

To discourage bathing, perhaps?

Anonymous said...

You might just as well ask the Irish why there are no electrical outlets in thier bathrooms.

tinkerbug said...

But in Ireland you have electric showers - US code would never allow that!

Cheryl said...

because they don't stand under the shower like Americans- they take the nozzle off the holder and spray each part directly while washing.

Lisa Wines said...

I've been living in Paris for 5 years and I tell my American friends that my apartment is as big as their bathroom. And my shower has a curtain but when I bend over a tiny bit, I get said curtain up my back end. In the starless hotels (and studio apartments) you get those all-enclosed space capsules that they just shove in a corner of the room, but at least they have a door that closes. When I was making plans to meet another American friend for an impromptu lunch she texted, "I can leave now. I won't shower. Too much of an ordeal." Amen.

Peter said...

Gray,
Those fruit washers are the best thing ever invented- very hygienic.

Anonymous said...

western washing habits have certain problems..particularly the toilets

the fact abt the average western person is that she/he is supposed to use the toilet AND the bathroom together, basically in the morning.

this is very uncomfortable, as most people spend their day away from home or hotel..

so the two chances they have : 1) do not use the toilet, despite the need..or 2) use the toilet when the need arises and feel uncomfortable for the rest of the day..

plus, they are never ready for a hot, spontaneous sex, unless they go thru the bathroom routine first..which is often an efficient turn off..

so western body care routines are basically good for birth control..and this shows on their demographics..i guess that its a good thing as we really need less western population in the world, for the good of planet, in every sense..

Peter said...

Anon,
All the problems you outlined are solved by the use of the bidet, which btw is used everywhere in the west except for here... Trust me my friend: spontaneity is never a problem with a bidet. All is always immaculate down south...

Wait... Were we supposed to be discussing wine? This is fun!

1winedude said...

I never ever understood this, either. Right up there with the two separate sink taps in England, which ensure that you either get scalding hot or freezing cold water, but cannot combine them into one stream...

Class factotum said...

A bidet is a good place to wash socks and underwear. A French shower is a good place to hang them to dry because their is plenty of air circulation.

A French shower is not good for showering. It is, however, better than a Moroccan shower, or at least the shower at the hotel in Meknes, which consisted of the bathroom, which had a drain in the middle of the floor. The trick was to remember to put the toilet paper outside of the bathroom before turning on the water.

JenGren said...

Yeah, they have the removable nozzles, but unless you have the water set to a trickle and lay down flat in the cold tub, the bathroom is still going to get a good soaking! Much to my mortification during my study abroad; I had to use all of my host mother's towels to clean the place up! Five months later, I'd still barely gotten the hang of it.

@1winedude -- I always wondered the same thing about British faucets!

W. Blake Gray said...

I have to pass along this tweet from Olivier Legrand (@O_Legrand_IR):

"Both shower and half-door are decorative elements. We don't use them. No wet floor then."

Peter F May for The Pinotage Club said...

Right up there with the two separate sink taps in England, which ensure that you either get scalding hot or freezing cold water, but cannot combine them into one stream...

That's why there is a sink plug. Fill the sink with your mix of hot and cold, then wash.