Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Public Showers

Bains-douches, public showers, rue Castagnary, Paris
Les Bains-douches Castagnary (The Castagnary public showers), 1932
Rue Castagnary, 15e arrondissement
Paris, July 2014

“Although the French disposition toward hygiene has made marked progress since the Renaissance, it is this royal reticence in tandem with some intriguing historical circumstances that is responsible for the continuing importance of the public showers, the bains-douches municipaux, in contemporary Paris. To the American accustomed to at least one well-equipped bathroom per home, the idea of public showers raises the grimy specter of down-and-out living, violated modesty and communal germs. Nonetheless, in 1990 more than one million Parisians paid the reasonable 4.70 franc fee for a douche chaude.”
(Paris' bains-douches, Paris Voice)

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