Eating in the dark, here’s the crazy idea Edouard de Broglie had in 2004. Wishing to change behaviors facing handicap and prove that partially-sighted people were able to work, Edouard de Broglie came up with a restaurant and 50% of the staff is blind.
The outcome is just striking. We are welcomed in groups, at fixed hour, we’re explained we will be ushered in a dark room, not lightly lit, but really dark, by our “guide” and partially-sighted waiter. First surprise: we don’t seat in a chair in the light, our blind waiter guides us through a dark room. From the very first steps, we are lost, we don’t want to laugh any longer, we can’t see a thing, dark, always dark. Then, we are facing a table, we guess where our chairs are, and we sit, by feel.
This course to the room shows us what the daily life of a blind person can be: if we are lost, some partially-sighted people are able to find their way back and no matter where they are. Second surprise: we physically touch our neighbor and we start talking, dialoguing with people we don’t know. Exchangers are easier, because we are not afraid of looking at each other, and especially because no phone is allowed in the room. And yes, there’s a world without phone, friends! A world where talk, exchanges and laughs are on the menu.
Then comes the fateful moment: eating in the dark. What a frustration, we can’t know the menu, but this forces to talk and it makes our mouths work. Here, the goal is to discover what we are eating. It may sounds simple, but it’s much harder than expected. Well, first, we can’t find our food and second, we realize we eat with our eyes first and we don’t really know the taste and the texture of food.
Did you know that even oenologists struggle differentiating wines, confusion white wines and red wines? Surprising, isn’t it? And you should know that at our table, someone even confused red wine and champagne…. It can’t be, right? This is what I would have thought before trying. You must know that everything can’t be served at the restaurant. For example, people think they are eating bread toasts with jam while they’re served toasts with foie gras and chutney… As for me, I confess, I have mistaken polenta and caviar, veal and fish…
Dishes served calls all our senses by mixing tastes and textures. So, in your plates, you’ll find varied dishes to taste. You will have to shake your brains.
At the end of the meal, you’ll make it back to the entrance, still in the dark, before stopping in the hallway for a few minutes before finding light again. Our pupils are enlarged, we must get used to light again. It’s time to discover our table neighbors and the menu. Together, we laughed about our confusions.
Eating in the dark is a true human experience. In total darkness, we realize how much seeing is important in our society. Here, we’re not afraid of being ridiculous, everyone speaks their mind and we eat with our hands (no one sees us, and we can’t find our fork in the dark)! We leave the restaurant with a life lesson and the urge to make this place known, a place where handicapped people are us. Well done to waiters, we take our hats off to you because you know where to seat us, find us and serve us without a single flaw.
Website: Dans le Noir ? Restaurant : Paris
Location: 51 rue Quincampoix – 75003 Paris
Lunchtime: 12 :30 p.m. in the weekend
Dinnertime: from 7:30 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. in the week and from 6:30 p.m. in the weekend
Rates: €43 for the 2-course menu, €49 for the 3-course menu, €65 for the tasting menu with 3 glasses of wine
Dans le Noir
51 Rue Quincampoix
75004 Paris 4
formule 2 plats: €43
formule 3 plats: €49
formule dégustation: €64
formule gastronomique: €79
Service du midi : 13h en week-end
Service du soir : 20h10 et 22h10 tous les soirs