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paris & menstruation

December 4, 2023

However glamorous Paris can be (and it is), it can be hard to fully enjoy it if you are menstruating. On a recent trip, I walked an estimate of 17,000 steps daily and found that most sites are limited to step access, which when your uterus is double its normal size and your entire body is swollen like an irritated blowfish isn’t great. Here are my tips to help you visit some of the main Parisian attracions.

Toilets

Most of the restaurants have free toilets for customers, but smaller cafes are often narrow spaces with minimal to no seating area and no toilets. The city is small enough that you might only have to walk a few minutes to find an alternative, though. Most toilets are unisex and restricted to one stall, with a normal bin and, occasionally, a sanitary bin but it is unheard-of to find free products anywhere. Yet, there are plenty of supermarkets around where you can buy supplies – and chocolates while you’re at it.

Sanisettes

There are also sanisettes all around the city (400 in total), free of charge , gender-neutral, self-cleaning, and you can find them through this link.

Public Parks

Also, most parks have paid public toilets (it can cost anything between 0,50€ and 2€) so make sure you carry some coins and tissues just in case.

Periods and Musee D’Orsay/Musee Du Louvre

I underestimated the amount of time I would be spending at these museums- the first one took me three hours and the second took five! You will have to queue outside to get in, even with a ticket, and seating areas inside the museums aren’t abundant, so if you are low on energy or suffering from cramps, take this into consideration. The longest I spent in a queue was twenty-minutes, though. You can find maps by the entrances to help you navigate the rooms and the floors, as well as to find the closest toilet: there are plenty in both, free of charge. My favourite was by far Musee D’Orsay, yet Du Louvre has a central area with tables, benches, and cafes where you can enjoy a break.

Periods and Arc de Triomphe

Silly me who thought this was just an arch with a rooftop you could access by purchasing a ticket. It is, essentially, but a big part of it is a museum recounting the origin of the monument which includes a video animation that you can sit down to watch (and you will want to after climbing hundreds of steps to access this room), maquettes and, yes, toilets! There are several stalls for females and males separately, each with a bin, and basins outside the cubicles, which isn’t ideal if you need to wash a moon cup. However, if you suffer from period cramps and fatigue, I wouldn’t recommend visiting the Arc – there are a lot of stairs to climb.

Periods & La Seine

Instead, you could (must!) go on a river cruise and sit down on cushioned benches as you navigate a big part of the city without having to move. A recorded voice-guide is available for each seat in your chosen language through an individual set of headphones. In the winter, the boat is joyfully heated, and, in the summer, you can go upstairs to the open deck and soak in the sun. There are toilets available should you need it.

Periods and the Pantheon

Similar to the Arc, be ready to spend longer than an hour here visiting the crypt, where distinguished personalities have been honoured and buried. There is a toilet available for all genders in the opposite wing at no extra charge and it’s an easy monument to navigate with minimal stairs.

Join the Community

This is just a broad guide to enjoying your holiday in Paris, even while menstruating. The best way to improve your menstrual travels is by finding and reviewing spaces on The M Scale – the more we review, the better the app becomes!

Download it today and let others know where they can safely manage their menstruation whilst abroad

Part II of this Paris blog will be coming soon. À plus

Maria Hasse

Maria works in the creative industries and loves to hop around from country to country in search of an ever-ending Summer. She's passionate about demystifying taboos and shedding light on underrated topics through different mediums.

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