This photo is probably a bit misleading after a title about toilets. This is not a toilet block, but there is a link, I promise. Last week, Annecy was flooded with animation fans from around the world. This caravan was parked outside the Courier shopping centre, welcoming the public over to take a look. Miniatures from animated movies have been inset in windows all around the caravan, and the level of detail was impressive.
So what’s the connection with public toilets in Annecy? It’s a very loose one. The animation festival brings an influx of people to Annecy for the week. They need to use toilets, and Annecy has them dotted around town. The Courier shopping centre has gone from one extreme to the other, requiring people to pay to use the toilets just a few years ago and now providing them free, along with a water fountain and a lounge area. Fantastic!
Meanwhile, closer to the nightly outdoor cinema screenings by the lake, the toilets are less obvious. The closest ones, near the Pont des Amours, were struggling to keep up with demand. No worries: the Bonlieu Centre has some public toilets down some stairs. I headed over there before the outdoor cinema started, but the cleaner had roped it off and said they were closed until the next morning. I asked again in case I misunderstood: there was an international festival going on outside and Annecy decides to close its toilets? He nodded and said there were some on the first floor instead. A goose chase for toilets ensued, with staff sending the chain of people in front and behind me to different floors of the building only to find all the toilets locked. Twenty minutes later, the original toilets were reopened. Twenty minutes seems much longer when you need a toilet.
So, if you find yourself in Annecy during a festival and the toilets at the Bonlieu Centre are closed, you could try any of the smelly outdoor public toilets, or just head to the Courier shopping centre where the toilets are clean, free, and come with a complimentary lounge area.