This mold concrete urinals are typical of Grenoble and as far as I know are not found elsewhere. They were drawn by the city architect Bui in 1860 and were in the catalogue of the Mollaret et Cuynat company that sold various prefabricated elements made in mold concrete.
French writer Boris Vian wrote : "Noter les somptueuses pissotières à une personne (!) en forme de tour creuse échauguette. On est debout sur un petit piédestal. La tôle de protection est cependant un peu basse, mais ça donne de la noblesse à celui qui officie".
When Roman Emperor Vespasian raised a tax on urinals, he said "money does not smell". In Grenoble, the vespasians are free but do not smell because of the wind blowing freely inside ! Beware of turning winds !
I wrote this tip in April 2005 under the title “Men only” but in June 2008, I read Keti's thread on Miscellaneous forum (Chicken/Rooster) that basically questioned whether size mattered for women as well as for men. I was suddenly struck by a flash of light that opened a series of existential questions.
Fondest memory: This “things” were not sign posted! Nothing says for what they are designed for! You have to guess or pop an eye inside! OK, but who can pop an eye inside?
While regular toilets have a sign meaning “for males” or “for females”, those “things” have no gender! Thus, as what is not forbidden is allowed, that means that anybody, male or female can visit them. If they were denied the right, that would be sexist discrimination, which is against the law and liable of a fine or even prison for the offender.
Then, anybody can visit but, why not, … use it! Shocking? No at all! Unusual, I agree! Think about it a second time: they are to be used by one person at a time, then why a lady would not use them in a reverse way, I mean, not facing the board ! That seems to be technically feasible, doesn't it?
I have to get the advice of some selected Lady Vters on the point.
Men only ? Not so sure !
Latest news from the urinal !
Trekki votes “yes” : (quote)
“Haha, I'd say I would use it :-)) Why not :-)) Not weird at all - at least it has a cover on the front, that's more than I had in the Pamirs (1 hole, 2 walls, nothing more) :-)))”
Thank you Ingrid for your encouragements!
Two years ago, Haiamisa, the VT toilet specialist (look at her Ultimate VT WC guide), had written almost the same comment on her Lisbon page but had added a practical information that might be a vital help for lady travellers in case of emergency.
As is such cases, it can be a matter of seconds, I add here the link she gaves about where to order the P-mate
My photos have accepted on Urinal.net and included in a gallery of special urinals.
The "Hôpital Civil" ("Civil" means that it is not run by nuns) was finished building in 1913 outside the city, in La Tronche. The main entrance, shown here, is entirely decorated with mold concrete. It is now a subsidiary of the "Hôpital Albert Michallon", built in 1970-74.
The old hospital, in Grenoble city center, was destroyed and the "Banque de France" build in its place (see other tip).
Favorite thing: The "Hôpital Civil" ("Civil" means that it is not run by nuns) was finished building in 1913 outside the city, in La Tronche. The main entrance is entirely decorated with mold concrete. The old hospital, in Grenoble city center, was destroyed and the "Banque de France" build in its place (see other tip).
Favorite thing: The "Basilique du Sacré Cœur", in Grenoble, near the railway station, is not a classified historical landmark..It was built from 1917 to 1924 in concrete. Its inside has lately been decorated with huge paintings of Marie Adorni Israël that bring a touch of color on its grey walls.
Basilique du Sacré Cœur in Grenoble.
This close up shows how the walls were built with "bricks" of concrete mimicking stone while the "carving" were mold concrete. The medallions shows the coat of arm of the city of Grenoble and the bishop's coat of arm.
Favorite thing: Église Saint Bruno was built in Grenoble in 1874 in "bricks" of concrete outside the Lesdiguières city walls, on the other side of the railway that was being built. It is not far from the railway station, in the middle of a new district that was growing..
Favorite thing: A great deal of these urinals had been installed and many are still in perfect use after nearly a century and a half. However, some of them have been turned into flower beds.