Travel the world

The French are in the dark – literally and conceptually

When Jonathan returned from LA, he was really excited to take me to a few things in London. He learned about the cheese market at Borough Market (where we’re going tomorrow), and this restaurant he wanted to go to. Almost the first thing that Jonathan did was make reservations for this restaurant.
He wanted it to be a surprise. Was it ever! The ambiance of the restaurant was incredible. Words cannot describe what it was like in there. So, we took a picure of what the inside looks like (we’re not supposed to, so don’t tell anyone).
Click here to see it.
Seriously, that is exactly what it was like. Click to read more about it… (WARNING: if you want to go to this restaurant, what follows does contain spoilers.)
Both Carrie and Jonathan recommend that if you’re ever in Paris or London that you give this a try. It’s amazing what you learn about others, and (more importantly) about yourself.

The name of the restaurant is Dans le Noir. The concept is that you are given a taste of what it would be like to be blind.
Here’s how it works: as you walk into the restaurant, you are asked what kind of meal you would like. You have four choices: White = you can eat anything, Red = no fish, shellfish, or seafood, Blue = no meat at all (but seafood is ok), and Green = vegetarian. Then you are offered the choices of two or three courses. We each had two courses – Jonathan white (main and dessert), Carrie green (starter and main).
Then you are called by name and arranged in a single file line. You are asked to put your hand on the shoulder of the person in front of you. Then everyone is led through a dark tunnel into the dining room where everything is pitch black.
Picture the darkest room you have ever been in. Now make it so dark that there is literally not a speck of light anywhere to be seen. It’s so dark in fact that it is almost lighter when you close your eyes (but not quite). Now, imagine that you have to eat a meal in this room, including pouring your own drinks, holding conversations with complete strangers, and trying not to get too many empty forkfulls of food into your mouth (or spilling too much down your shirt).
Now think about how you would clink glasses during a toast.
How do you cut your food?
How do you pass your neighbor the basket of bread without bonking them in the head?
Pour your friend some wine?
How well do you think you could do?
What about your waiter?
How do you think (s)he would do serving you your meal in absolute darkness? How does he know where you are when he hands you a plate, or serves you in a room where no one can see a thing?
The answer: he’s blind.
That’s the entire concept behind Dans le Noir — that those who dine there are able to have a glimpse into what it might be like to be blind, a tiny moment where the diner can actually understand exactly what they take for granted every moment of their lives, and can have a small glimpse into what it might be like.
Dans le Noir is an absolutely amazing experience, both “politically” and self-exploratorally. Following your meal, after being escorted back to the enrance which is lighted, but dimly, you are then asked to guess what you ate. (And, for those of you keeping score…Jonathan knew what the side dish of his main was, and his dessert, but didn’t know the main dish itself. Carrie knew her starter, but nothing of her main. Have you every heard of “funky cous cous” or an “Ethiopian wrap”? She hadn’t either.)
Both Carrie and Jonathan recommend that if you’re ever in Paris or London (or Moscow) that you give Dans le Noir a try. It’s amazing what you learn about others, and (more importantly) about yourself.
(Tell them Carrie and Jonathan sent you!)

0 thoughts on “The French are in the dark – literally and conceptually

  1. Lisa

    WOW — this does seem really cool.
    Sounds like you’ll have lots of experiences and memories that will last a lifetime!
    Love, Mom (Lisa)

  2. Le'Andra

    There’s a restaurant out here in California called Opaque that sounds just like Dans le Noir that I’ve been really wanting to try out. It seems like quite the experience.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *