For those of you who have never been out of the US (well you're probably not reading my post anyway), you may not realize that not all toilets flush the same way. I've even heard that in Australia the water flows in the opposite direction - not that I have been spending much time researching the way the water flows, despite the title of this post. So it should come as no surprise that on a number of occasions guests have come out of the facilities and practically whispered in my ear, "Um, how do I flush the toilet". Usually it is only the children that are brave enough to ask the question out loud. I generally smile, fully understanding their plight. I too was once a French toilet novice and recall thinking, there is no way I am walking out of this bathroom till I figure this one out. I still get stumped from time to time when a new one pops up on me.
In the land of so many cheeses and wines I guess we shouldn't be surprised that they would come up with a 100 different ways to flush. Okay I am exaggerating but it is , don't even get me started about the number of light bulbs I've come across or light features with multiple ways of changing the light bulb! It's enough to make you batty.
Now you have your single push buttons either on the wall or on the toilet itself. You can pull on a string or chain. You can pull up. You can choose between flush position one or two. For flush position 1 you determine the duration of the flush and for number 2 well you can imagine what that one's for. Pretty efficient actually if you think about.
So here is a little photo guide for you to help you understand which way the water flows in a number of different ways to Tirer la chasse d'eau (flush the toilet) à la française.
Now I sincerely hope that you have found this piece both educational and entertaining and that the next time you encounter a foreign loo, you think back to just how helpful we have been.