I was recently in Paris for a quick trip and had my eyes peeled for anything FM-related. Two things struck me. The first was the casual outfit of the bathroom attendant at a very prestigious museum. She was wearing house slippers, basically, the terry cloth kind. I knew she was the attendant because she was wearing a green smock over her non-uniform, and she was pushing a mop. It struck me as odd and unprofessional for her position, especially given that all other staff I'd seen were wearing demure uniforms and sensible uniform-adjacent shoes. Was that a fluke, or have you noticed the same outside of the United States — meaning no uniform for maintenance/housekeeping/back-of-the-house staff?
The other thing I noticed was the absence of water fountains. There was a stand-alone fountain in the terminal at CDG and I filled up my water bottle. And I filled up my bottle every day from the filter pitcher in our apartment. But out and about I saw no water fountains at all. Were they hidden? Was there a different perception about providing free drinking water? Is it just gauche to slurp water at a fountain? I was confounded. I saw no one else drinking from a reusable water bottle, but then again I had better things to look at and for. It struck me because of the ongoing conversation around wellness and how access to fresh clean drinking water is a critical component. I hadn't expected fountains just out in the middle of the street, but at museum bathrooms I'd anticipated I might see one. A steady stream of delicious espressos kept me well hydrated regardless.
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