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Drinking water

In Paris and everything I’ve heard says only drink bottled water. Then the hotel says no it is fine to drink tap water here. Confused. Can and we and my parents safely drink the water or should we only drink bottled.

Posted by
21282 posts

I've never heard of a problem with tap water in Paris or anywhere in France. Where did you hear that?

I drink tap water all the time, refilling my own bottle. In restaurants I order bottled water in countries where that is more or less expected (which includes France).

Posted by
3493 posts

Not sure where you are hearing from who "everything" that says drink only bottles water. Must be from those trying to sell bottled water. :-)

I have drank tap water every time I have been in Paris with absolutely zero bad effects. Even restaurants will serve it without complaint. It is very tasty water. This goes for everywhere in Western Europe I have ever been as well.

Nothing wrong with drinking bottled water if you prefer, especially if you prefer sparkling water. It can get expensive.

Posted by
3334 posts

Like the others, I don't know where you've been hearing this but the tap water is perfectly potable, as it is in most of Western Europe. While you may see many people ordering bottled water in restaurants, it's a matter of preference, not necessity.

Posted by
3699 posts

Your fears are at least a half-century out of date, so you need a wider circle of informants. Water is sanitary all over western Europe -- unlike Flint, Michigan.

Posted by
11450 posts

I ONLY drink tap water in Paris.. only suckers pay for bottled water. The water is fine.. probably better than what you even have at home. Its free with a food or drink order at any cafe or restaurant.. so why would anyone pay 2-5 euros for a bottle of water( unless you prefer sparkling) ?

"everything Ive heard" ... baloney.. who did you hear that from.. nobody I know would say that.. its a first world country and the water is just fine.

Posted by
7254 posts

Yeah the water is definitely good in Paris. I have gone so many times and that is a new one about only drinking bottled water.

Posted by
5788 posts

https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/france

Food and water standards in France are similar to those in the
United States
. Most travelers do not need to take special food or
water precautions beyond what they normally do at home. However,
travelers visiting rural or remote areas that are served by
unregulated water sources such as private wells should take special
precautions to ensure the safety of their drinking water.

Posted by
4716 posts

Of course it's safe! Why wouldn't it be? If you've ever tasted tap water in Florida for example you'll understand just how good the water is in Western Europe, and then there's the huge scandal in Flint, Michigan. Please don't fall into the trap that everything in the US is the best because that couldn't be further from the truth.

Posted by
5648 posts

Years ago, in southern Spain, a young waiter insisted that local water was unsafe and so we dubiously and reluctantly got bottled water. Everywhere else in Europe since then, Paris included, it’s been tap water.

Ask for “un carafe d’ eau,” basically pronounced “ oon crahf dough,” and they’ll bring you a container of safe, free tap water. Enjoy!

Posted by
415 posts

Most travelers do not need to take special food or
water precautions beyond what they normally do at home.

So I have to say this made me laugh. I can’t stand the water in my town. It taste bad. I subscribe to a bottled water service.

I did notice in Italy, France, Scotland, and a couple more European cities when i walked through the larger grocery stores I saw big isles of water and the people buying the water were locals. i see that in the US as well where the water’s fine.

Posted by
6720 posts

We were drinking tap water in Rome and Paris 40 years ago and it was fine. Paris has had a system of public water fountains for many decades. Most locals drink tap water in restaurants; it is the tourists they sell the pricey bottled water to.. Paris water tastes pretty good to compared to the local water in the last two cities in the US I have lived in. There are also free wells with superb water. One I have used is the well at Place Verlaine in the 13th. You see people lined up with containers every morning to get the water. We though it was silly un;til we tried it and started fetching and refrigerating. the well water for our own table use.

Posted by
83 posts

Wow! You all just saved me a lot of money. My friend who visits Germany yearly to visit her son was the first person I heard it from. And she was insistent. And then I read it online somewhere and then even a women from the states in the lobby of the hotel said she heard the same thing. This forum, again, has been invaluable. Thank you! By the way, regarding the comment made about Florida, I live in Orlando and you NEVER drink tap water. It’s horrible. Won’t hurt you. Just tastes terrible.

Posted by
681 posts

You poor thing, dread to think how much i would be spending if i couldnt drink tap water..

Posted by
4684 posts

I have noticed that German people in general seem to have a cultural aversion to drinking tap water, even their own, despite its high quality.

Posted by
1126 posts

In most first-world countries the water is potable. Except for part of the US...

Posted by
6773 posts

Old buildings can have old plumbing that can impact taste. The water pumped to the fountains is the same as the water any building or restaurant gets.

Drink bottled if you prefer the taste, but its mostly marketing that makes it a success. Travelers to, and immigrants from, countries that do have unsafe water, also bring that preference with them.

Posted by
3326 posts

In Paris and everything I’ve heard says only drink bottled water.

Exactly where have you heard this? What is your source of that advice?

Posted by
12964 posts

True, no problems with the tap water, unless your system finds it disagreeable for some reason. I do drink both but much rather prefer drinking the bottled mineral water, which also varies in price by the brand name, be it Badroit, Contrex, Volvic, etc when you buy it by the 1.5 liter plastic bottle.

Posted by
4716 posts

I live in Orlando and you NEVER drink tap water. It’s horrible. Won’t hurt you. Just tastes terrible.

Yes, the water in Orlando is the foulest tasting tap water I've ever tried!

Posted by
282 posts

In New York we drink bottled water - the pipes in buildings are old and there's talk of lead. (Our water used to be delicious, too - that's why NY bagels couldn't be replicated!) Other people in the US drink bottled water too, from what they've told me. That's probably where the ideas about not drinking the water in Europe came from, I'd surmise. The infrastructure in the US needs serious repair!!

Posted by
3326 posts

I'm a native New Yorker (born 30 blocks -- 1 1/2 miles from our building) and we drink the tap water and have done so all of my life whether in our apartment, at a restaurant, at a water fountain at the US Open or my gym, anywhere.

Posted by
3493 posts

We began drinking bottled water at home many years ago due to bad pipes in the neighborhood which would allow sand and mud to be sucked into the pipes and were flaking off rust. A gallon of water looked like strong coffee straight from the pipes. We used cheap bottles though, gallons of city water from the local grocery for around 10 cents each when we started. They replaced all the pipes through my home neighborhood so now the water is at least clear and doesn't stain the laundry anymore. Still doesn't taste good.

Posted by
1126 posts

Back when I was in grad school I decided to take a summer semester in Paris. At that time I was very familiar with Paris. The university made everyone go to a panel meeting with other students who were deemed experts. These people spread it around that the tap water in Europe wasn't safe. I had to be the guy to raise my hand and tell them that they were wrong. I don't think I was popular, but spreading around false information is harmful! Hopefully I saved those students tons of money!

Posted by
3326 posts

Continental: NYC gets drinking water from springs in the Catskills (I
believe it still does), so you're lucky in that respect.

Very lucky indeed I agree!

Posted by
11450 posts

“ I recall I heard rumours “

Key words “ I recall “ and “ rumours “

Posted by
6773 posts

NYC water comes from surface water reservoirs in the Catskills (not springs) and some is well water from wells on Long Island. Nothing untouched about it, and it has won taste awards. Bottled water comes from similar sources. Its all about treatment.

Posted by
4370 posts

I always drink tap water in Paris. I am personally opposed to purchasing bottle water in most situations. In Paris, I usually order wine with meals, but I have ordered tap water which was provided without issue. As an FYI, there are lovely elaborate water fountains scattered around Paris (I think usually green) where you can fill your water bottle. Initially, I thought they must be just decorative. The same was true in Switzerland, at first, I was astonished to see people fill bottles at what looked like decorative fountains so I checked to make sure that it was safe drinking water.

Posted by
282 posts

Okay, people in my building don't drink tap water. Old building, old pipes. Yes, NYC water does taste great - didn't mean to disparage it!

Posted by
3493 posts

They seem to acquire a taste for chlorine and kidney-filtered water.

As do all large cities.

There isn't a drop of naturally existing water on this planet that hasn't been through at least one live being at some point in history. It is the natural cycle of life. Even the spring water everyone buys in the little plastic bottles isn't all that pure.

Posted by
5788 posts

If you must drink bottled water, buy water in glass bottles, not plastic.
https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-43388870

Science & Environment: Plastic particles found in bottled water 15
March 2018

Tests on major brands of bottled water have found that nearly all of
them contained tiny particles of plastic.

In the largest investigation of its kind, 250 bottles bought in nine
different countries were examined.

Research led by journalism organisation Orb Media discovered an
average of 10 plastic particles per litre, each larger than the width
of a human hair.

Posted by
401 posts

Interesting but not surprising.

The health effects of ingesting exceedingly small quantities of the identified compounds?

I'll wait to read about that.

Posted by
4716 posts

There isn't a drop of naturally existing water on this planet that hasn't been through at least one live being at some point in history. It is the natural cycle of life. Even the spring water everyone buys in the little plastic bottles isn't all that pure.

Rubbish! My tap water is sourced from springs fed by water filtered through the chalk hills of The South Downs. The water is rainwater that has worked its way through the chalk over many, many years. This is not unique, any spring water is not recycled in the sense you're alluding to.

Posted by
5788 posts

Plastic contamination is too new to have clear conclusions as to human health. That said, it is soundling like microplastics are not good for marine organisms. Time and science will tell what micro and nano plastics do to humans

The French seem to have a higher level of concern about plastic waste than the current American national governent. I understand that the French government plans on creating economic penalties to discourage land fill disposal of plastics and to encourage use of recycled plastic materials. Its good to know that in the future, those buying water in plastic bottles will be drinking from bottles made from recycled plastic.

Posted by
8166 posts

Germany has NEVER used human waste on their food crops! Someone was pulling your leg on that one.
The water is fine to drink in any EU country.

Posted by
401 posts

My tap water is sourced from springs fed by water filtered through the chalk hills of The South Downs. The water is rainwater that has worked its way through the chalk over many, many years. This is not unique, any spring water is not recycled in the sense you're alluding to.

Writing to you as a hydrogeologist, your view of the safety and quality of water from a chalk aquifer is, well, overly optimistic.

We're all drinking at one time or another dinosaur piss. Yes, it may have been washed down to the ocean, lifted to the heavens by evaporation, condensed into clouds, fallen first as snow turning to rain before gently wetting the soil in some remote place, but chances are that group of water molecules you drank earlier today included molecules that at some point went through one or more animal's urinary tract. It's practically unavoidable.

And chalk aquifers are almost all "dual porosity" aquifers, including the aquifer in the South Downs, according to the British Geological Survey. That means the calcium carbonate particles that make up chalk have their own porosity and permeability, based on the nature of their original geological deposition. But they also have a secondary porosity and permeability, associated with fractures in the chalk caused by various geologic forces acting on the chalk deposit after its deposition. That's where the term "dual porosity" originates: there are two kinds of porosity and permeability.

It's these fractures, sometimes enlarged by the dissolving effect of slightly acidic rainwater acting on the slightly soluble calcium carbonate of chalk over the millennia, that can create preferential pathways for water and contaminant migration that can lead to rapid and relatively unattenuated migration of contaminants from the ground surface down to the water table.

Your water source may be just fine. But don't place too much faith in the filtering capacity of chalk that exhibits dual porosity, such as that in the South Downs. It's wise to have one's spring water or well water tested every now and then for bacteriological and chemical contamination.

Posted by
401 posts

Germany has NEVER used human waste on their food crops! Someone was pulling your leg on that one.

That's a pretty absolute statement. You might want to check with your local governmental authority on that one. For example, this reference notes that, in Germany, "Sewage sludge is one of the most commonly used and regularly controlled secondary raw material fertilizers, that has the capacity to meet part of the nutrient requirements of crops." Keep in mind that the term "sewage sludge" means a waste byproduct from a treatment plant processing human waste from toilets.

While the reference notes that sewage sludge should not be used on food crops that typically are eaten raw, it also acknowledges that, because:

"Phosphorous is a finite resource that is essential for human life, it
must be kept in the food chain as much as possible. The current policy
goal is for at least 20 % of Germany’s raw phosphate to be obtained
from sewage sludge or sewage sludge ash in the coming years."

It looks to me that, not only is sewage sludge (that is, human waste) used on food crops in Germany, it's actually government policy to do so.

And I don't mean to demonize Germany. Squeamishness about using human waste as fertilizer is probably rooted more in an unfamiliarity about agricultural practices than anything else.

Posted by
4716 posts

One of my early jobs was to create automated process control systems and some of our regular work was with local water companies who were building new sewage treatment plants. A lot of the treated sludge was used as crop fertiliser, it was perfectly safe by all accounts. It was interesting to note how many tomato plants that were thriving in the areas where the raw sewage was contained, it seems tomato seeds pass through the human body relatively unscathed!

Posted by
11975 posts

Some people are more sensitive than others. If you don't normally have sensitivities to drinking water in US cities, you won't have any problem drinking tap water in Paris. Many fountains, including historic water sources, have signs saying the water is non-potable, so don't drink from those. If it's not specifically posted, any drinking fountain, kitchen or bathroom tap will be fine.