June 06, 2005

Exceptional Things to Do in Paris: Dans Le Noir ?

A few weeks ago I wrote about Yoshino, an excellent, reasonably priced Sushi restaurant in London—and therefore, a rare find. However, the review was lost in a jumble of 1’s and 0’s caused by the rapid descent of my computer equipment from a height unlikely to favor its continued usability.

So this is my first travel post.

Danslenoir_2Until I had dinner at “Dans Le Noir ?” in the Marais district of Paris, I had never been in total darkness. Even in a bedroom at night, there is always a light source: a digital clock, the red LED of a cell phone, the glow of a watch’s fluorescent hands. None of these are permitted at Dans Le Noir ?, where you drink or dine in pitch black, served by blind wait staff.

As their English Website puts it:

If this idea seems to be a little strange to you at first, it is maybe because by suppressing the dominant sense of the sight, each person naturally starts a deep self-questioning.

With the help of our blind guides you are going to completely re-evaluate the notion of taste and smell through our gastronomic and pedagogical process.

Being a control-freak, I had been nervous about the whole idea. But the staff helped us navigate the suddenly unfamiliar world, and quickly put us at ease.  (There is also strong emphasis on safety, including surveillance by infra-red camera.)

It took a few minutes to figure out how to fill our cups and locate items on the table (“hey, a basket of bread!”). I had ordered the secret menu, so I didn’t know what was on my plate until my fork reached my mouth. But my remaining four senses had quickly intensified. Two weeks later I still recall the exact taste of the fettuccine noodles and steamed broccoli that accompanied my main course, and I remember our conversations as if they had been recorded.

Dans Le Noir ? was developed in association with Paul Guinot, the second largest foundation for the blind in France. Dinner costs 37 € per person for a three course meal, including wine. The experience is surely worth it, and your check supports people who might otherwise have trouble finding work. 

(Click the business card for a larger version.)

By Will Friedman in Travel | Permalink  | 


What a fabulous concept!

Posted by: WhyNot | Jun 13, 2005 4:32:26 AM

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