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can you safely drink the tap water in France and Italy

can you safely drink the tap water in France and Italy

Old Jun 8th, 2011, 10:20 PM
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can you safely drink the tap water in France and Italy

We live in Australia and only ever drink tap water. Is it safe to drink the water in France and Italy. Sorry to sound stupid, just dont want to waste days of our precious and first time holiday in the uk and europe learning the hard way! Know there can always be a period of adjustment when you drink new water, just want to avoid full on trouble!
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Old Jun 8th, 2011, 10:38 PM
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Yes. But they also sell bottled water if you are nervous about it.
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Old Jun 8th, 2011, 10:41 PM
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Hi Hilmel
On our first trip to Europe (from Australia)we were in Italy, and I too wasn't sure so boiled all our drinking water and stored it in the fridge.

Since then we have been in different parts of Europe over a number of years, and haven't had any problems with drinking water.

Recently I was told by a cousin in UK that you should never use the bathroom tap water to rinse out with after brushing your teeth, as it isn't drinkable (potable) - have done this in blissful ignorance for a number of years without problems! Di
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Old Jun 8th, 2011, 10:56 PM
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>>Recently I was told by a cousin in UK that you should never use the bathroom tap water to rinse out with after brushing your teeth, as it isn't drinkable (potable)<<

I rather thought UK Building Regulations required cold water supply to be drinkable. In most places, it would be unlikely for the bathroom cold supply to come from anywhere other than direct from the mains, like the kitchen supply.
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Old Jun 8th, 2011, 11:08 PM
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I too was surprised, Patrick - my cousin has lived all his life in London.
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Old Jun 8th, 2011, 11:20 PM
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Tap water is perfectly safe. End of discussion!
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Old Jun 8th, 2011, 11:39 PM
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"rather thought UK Building Regulations required cold water supply to be drinkable"

By definition building regs apply only to houses where building is going on. Britain in general - but England in particular - has just about the oldest housing stock in the developed world, with well over half our houses and flats predating such intrusions into the human rights of jerry builders (a term, BTW, generally held to derive from a Liverpool building company. Possibly the least surprising arcane fact ever revealed on the web)

Most pre-building reg water supplies to bathrooms were held in a water tank at the top of the house, which supplied all the taps apart from the kitchen and the central heating system. Patrick, I would have thought, is of the generation where investigating the tank in the loft frequently uncovered a wide variety of life forms, as well as bits and pieces of Victorian roof and ceiling masonry.

A lifetime's exposure to water kept in such a tank created immunity from whatever unpleasantnesses might have lurked inside - as well as breeding true grit, emotional continence, grace under pressure and a high level of scepticism in those brought up on it. Scientists estimate that house restoration and new building meant that we reached the point where fewer than 50% of the population had grown up on it around August 1997 - explaining the unEnglish outbreak of mass hysteria and absurd sentiment at the death of Princess Di. Also explaining men's cosmetics and flavoured coffee.

If staying in an unrestored British house, visitors may drink the water with confidence. All that will happen to them is an acute allergy to reality TV. If they're really lucky, they'll also get an addiction to Radio 4.
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Old Jun 9th, 2011, 12:11 AM
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Europe and UK safe
You may pick up the usual local bugs that are different to your bugs but the stuff is safe.
There are two odd issues in the UK

1) Advertisting by the bottled water industry tried to argue that bottled water was "safer" hence the easily swayed (under 35) have begun believing this idea (I have a UK friend, very bright girl, who completely believes that tap water has fish pee in it while bottled water does not) think "tap water" as if you were hearing Importance's "handbag"
2) London water is very hard, as a result it is hard to make a good cup of tea there without a scum forming on the surface, those who drink it with milk only know the cups are hard to clean, those who drink it black have to push the stuff out of the way. As a result my london family fit all kind of hard water removing stuff in their house.
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Old Jun 9th, 2011, 02:14 AM
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>>A lifetime's exposure to water kept in such a tank created immunity from whatever unpleasantnesses might have lurked inside - as well as breeding true grit, emotional continence, grace under pressure and a high level of scepticism in those brought up on it.<<

I should have known it wasn't my unique charm.
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Old Jun 9th, 2011, 03:43 AM
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Water is perfectly safe - unless you have a supersensitive digestive tract that reacts to any water other than you get at home.

That said - I think much of the water has a specific taste (NYC water has no taste - at least to me - it's VERY soft) so we always use bottled water - esp since I prefer fizzy. Also bottled water is likely to be chilled and tap water won't - and ice isn't common.
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Old Jun 9th, 2011, 05:45 AM
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Hey flann,

>By definition ....

Thanks for the very informative post.

I now understand much of what has happened in the UK since Churchill left office.

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Old Jun 9th, 2011, 06:10 AM
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Ira:

I appreciate your comments. But it's a gross simplification.

My forthcoming monograph "Chilblains: how warmer bedrooms destroyed a nation's moral fibre" will provide the essential nuancing. To be followed by "The White Sliced Bread and Margarine Diet", and "The Case for Smog: why clean air makes for unhealthy bodies"
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Old Jun 9th, 2011, 06:39 AM
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I can contribute to the series, with "Are You Still In There? The role of the backyard privy in the development of reading"
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Old Jun 9th, 2011, 07:17 AM
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You must include the chapter on "How the Daily Mirror's superiority over the Daily Express as toilet paper forced the Tory party to embrace the Welfare State and turned the NHS into the national religion"

My youthful embrace of socialism is almost entirely the result of Grandad refusing to allow any reading matter (or toilet paper) other than the Mirror in our outside (well, only) lavatory. Right-wing papers, he insisted, were just too hard.
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Old Jun 9th, 2011, 08:20 AM
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Tap water is safe in France and Italy in any town or city of reasonable size.

Tap water in villages may occasionally not be up to the highest standards of hygiene. This is true around the world, not just in France or Italy. Small villages have a greater variation in their local water quality and don't always have fancy equipment to keep it perfectly clean. It's typically quite drinkable but might contain a local blend of microflora or minerals that can upset the tummy of a newcomer. Note that there are many natural sources of water that can be quite drinkable without any treatment at all, such as certain natural springs and clean wells.

Large cities have elaborate water-treatment systems that ensure that the water supply is clean and drinkable. The consequences of a contaminated water supply in a big city are very grave, so the water supply is usually treated and monitored closely. This is true even in France and Italy, which are far less primitive than Americans seem to believe them to be (Americans are at least 70-80 years behind the times in their beliefs about the state of the rest of the world).

In Paris, about 60% of the water supply comes from underground aquifers, and the remainder comes from the Seine or Marne Rivers. The well water is so clean that it requires little or no treatment. The river water is treated and purified before being placed into the water supply. In addition to the usual tests for basic safety, Paris is exceptional in that it has a team of water tasters who check the taste and smell of tap water to make sure it is acceptable. (Tap water can be drinkable but still have a disagreeable taste or smell, and that's what these testers check for.)

There's even a public water dispenser in a park in Paris that will dispense cold, fizzy tap water for free, for people who prefer sparkling water.
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Old Jun 9th, 2011, 08:30 AM
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Very safe, however, if you are drinking in an outdoor facility, it might be a kindness to the wait staff to take bottled water so they don't have to schlep back inside.
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Old Jun 9th, 2011, 09:31 AM
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Yes.
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Old Jun 9th, 2011, 10:08 AM
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Very informative thread. I am saving the line about emotional continence, as I believe it may come handy around here some day.
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Old Jun 9th, 2011, 10:22 AM
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The only places I wouldn't drink the tap water is in the summer on small islands in any country. I know for a fact that in the summer much of the water on islands like Ischia and Capri is brought in by tanker because the islands become so populated by tourists they don't want to deplete their natural supply . Our family does not allow us to drink the water then. It may be safe but it does taste horrible. Other than summer it's fine. Mainland is always fine. In Rome and most of Italy the tap water comes from the mountains probably where they also bottle it. So you're paying to drink water that's free from the tap. We bring re-usable water bottles and fill them up in the hotels.
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Old Jun 9th, 2011, 10:39 AM
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It's OK Italy and France aren't 3rd world countries....
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