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Dining in the Dark in Paris

Paris - July 27, 2012 - 1 Comments

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Ok, I’m doing this while in Paris.

I’m going to dine in total darkness at Dans le Noir (translated as In The Dark).

One blogger describes her experience as “the most bizarre dining experience you’ll ever have.” Another reports “sensing taste as never before.” A Facebook fan claims “this was the most powerful experience of my life.”

You apparently enter the restaurant and place your menu order while in a lighted reception area. Guests are then introduced to their blind waiter who quickly trades places. He becomes our eyes, you become the one who stumbles and gropes, trying your best to make your way to the communal tables. Everything in the room is totally black.

What follows is a total surprise. Without sight, your other senses will slide into overdrive and you’ll enjoy textures, smells, sounds, and flavors like never before. One blogger says, “It’s exhausting, trying to use your other senses like never before.” For a visual person like me, this should prove very interesting.

Dinners range from 37 €, or about $45, for a 2-course meal to almost $90 for a 3-course meal that comes with champagne and three wine tastings. You can eat like a pig with no one to stop you. You can drop food in your lap without embarrassing yourself. And if your fork misses your mouth, no one will wonder if you’re drunk.

All the waiters are either blind or visually impaired.  They are trained for two months and for many, this is the only job they’ve ever held. The backs of their tshirts quote William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night: “There is no darkness, but ignorance.”

The restaurant website states that the restaurant concept arose out of a “Taste of the Dark” event that the Paul Guinot Association held yearly to raise awareness for the blind and partially sighted people. No bank would support Edouard de Broglie and Etienne Boisrond’s crazy restaurant idea so they found investors. Five years later they’ve added franchises in London, New York, Bacelona, Saint Peterbourg, with several more on the books. “I was simply interested in corporate social responsibility,” de Broglie said.

“God took away my sight to give me sight. I have a brand new outlook on life,” said Davis, a waiter in the New York restaurant. This statement alone is reason enough to support Dans le Noir. A simple meal – one in the dark – just might give US a new outlook on life.

{Located at 51 Rue Quincampoix, in the 4th arrondissement in Paris. Call 01 42 77 98 04 for reservations. They fill up fast. Be sure to click the small British flag to read the menu in English. It’s a fascinating story.}

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I’d love to have you join me as I walk every arrondissement of Paris during the month of September. You can follow on Twitter or on Facebook by hitting the ‘LIKE’ button. Better yet, put your email address in the box up there, midway on the right-hand column. I welcome any hints, haunts, or good tips on what I should do while there. Enter them in the comment box below.

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