Dining in the Dark

 

Over the 20 years or so, this great city has been criticised for it’s food. Hard to believe, right? Many experts believe that you can count the greatest food cuisines on one hand and French is definitely one of them. So where is all the criticism coming from? Well, the fact that the French think that their food is one of the best in the world, can be a curse as well as a blessing. Duck…. Again ? What started off as innovative and ground-breaking has become less dynamic and refuses to modernize. That doesn’t really matter if you’re only here for a weekend or a couple of days, but if you live in the city long term, it is possible that the novelty can wear off.

 

Luckily, I found a great place that is not only dynamic and ground-breaking but also like nothing you have ever experienced before. Oddly, it doesn’t really have very much to do with the food, which is average at best and ( as some people have recently posted on social media) perhaps a little over-priced. So what is it then? Well, it’s completely in pitch black.

 

What? Ok. Let me set the scene. The waiting staff are all blind and you pre-order your dish before you sit in to dine. You can only choose vegetarian, seafood, meat or surprise. So whatever comes on the plate, you will have to use your imagination and guess what is it. I was a bit of a chicken so I went for the vegetarian plate. Not because I am a vegetarian but because I didn’t know what kind of meat it would be or how it was cooked. I’m not food adventurous but I am an experience adventurous person (if that makes sense) and this pitch dark restaurants caters for both.

 

So you lock for your phone away and your watch and anything else that creates light and the waiter guides you in. The place could be any size and you are sitting next to someone you’ve never met and can’t see. At first it seemed the place was massive, but it took me about 10 minutes to realise I was sitting on a bench. Across the table was my friend but to my right (and later my left) were people I didn’t know. Socially amazing. Really good fun and a very unique experience. Probably not the best place to go for a first date because you can’t see your partner.

 

The name of the restaurant is Dans Le Noir on 51 Rue Quincampoix. It’s actually so popular that it has spread to London and Barcelona. But this place is the original.

Is Big Bus, a Big Deal ?

Blogs like these, get read by hundreds of tourists and would-be holiday makers. This one, specifically focuses on the great French capital. You would imagine that it would probably contain a tonne of ads with sponsors and companies that want to promote their products and services.

This prompted me to contribute, as this is one of the few platforms where this doesn’t seem to be happening. I recently came back from a tour of Paris (when I say recently I mean about 2 months ago, in mid- January in the depths of winter. It was cold, with fresh crisp air. It was chilly and frequently it was rain. There was one particular point which I can recall very well. It was raining so heavily and the wind was so strong, that my umbrella was virtually redundant. It seemed to come out of nowhere and the crowds outside Notre Dame scattered, except for the dedicated group of tourists waiting in line.

“Where should we go now? I’m not going into another museum and that queue is massive”, My sister exclaimed as she held a gift shop bag over her head, as if that was going to do any good. And there we saw it, across the road. That most touristic of activities. The type of thing that I would never want to do. A BIG BUS TOUR.

We got on. I regretted it, the moment we stepped on the bus. My sister didn’t. She loved every minute of it. But the big question is, are these types of tours worth it. 33 euros to have an air-conditioned bus with wifi, drive you all over the city. Ok, you can get a discount online. But honestly, I would only recommend this type of travel if you have very specific circumstances.

 

  • When I was in Rome. I had a 7 hour stop over before I could return home. I grabbed a take out pizza slice and sat at the top of the bus drinking coffee and rode around for 2 hours. Was it expensive? Yes. Was it worth it? Well, I guess I just kept thinking, what else was I going to do. If time is very limited, it’s the most productive way of seeing the major sights. If that’s something that is important to you. There is only a limited number of cities where I could make that claim, and Rome was one of them.

 

  • My parents use these type of tourist facilities all the time, when they travel. They find it hard to walk for long periods and they consider the big bus tours to be comfortable and convenient. Good for them.

 

I have nothing against these two categories, but if you are in Paris for longer than 24 hours, please try and do your best to use your legs and spend the money on a delicious French meal.