Great Cloakrooms of the World

Cloakrooms and toilets say a lot about an establishment. Basic cleanliness is highly desirable of course, and most places these days are reasonably ok. Usually. There was a time when intrepid travellers abroad (meaning directly across the other side of the English Channel) had a high probability of encountering the dreaded Footprints, but these days you need to venture considerably farther afield to see such delights.

Every now and again though, expectations are wildly surpassed not just in terms of hygiene but also in terms of style. The image above is of a delightful ladies’ washroom attached to an unprepossessing contemporary interior designed restaurant in the centre of Paris.

Nothing in the restrained aubergine, burgundy, grey and black suede of the dining room could have prepared the visitor for this blaze of art nouveau excess. From the antechamber passageway with its exuberant coat hooks through to the basins and cisterns, it was a joy to behold. The original mosaic floor echoed the stained glass patterns of the well-preserved leaded windows, and immaculately carved marble and wood encased the basins.

It was so clean, I could almost have contemplated dining in there. Well, maybe not. But it was a lot more interesting than the restaurant interior, and had stood the test of time in stylistic terms in a way I suspect the dignified muted suede will not.


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