Monday, July 09, 2007

Blind Date

No, this is not a mistake but what you will "see" if you go to "Dans le noir" (in the dark) a restaurant located 51, rue Quincampoix - near Les Halles - where you have dinner in complete darkness and where waiters are blind. The idea is excellent because it's not only a good way for non blind people to experience what it is to be blind, but also because you taste the food differently. I personally never dared having dinner there, but friends of mine who have said it was a worthwhile experience. There is also one in London and in Moscow.
Discuss Paris restaurants and much more in the PDP forum.


  1. Eric, it's not often you mislead us, but even I can see that this photo was taken in the London one.

    So how can I tell? Easy. The waiter is hopeless, the food is cold and your car has just got a parking ticket.

  2. Wow, this is an incredible concept. I hope to visit there to experience this. I had two high school teachers who were not sighted, and it was amazing how excellently they conducted their classes and kept even the rowdy kids enthralled in the subjects.

  3. Well, I don't know how well I could handle it, but I'd be willing to try. I wonder if the kitchen staff is sighted? I would assume so. One of my brightest students was a young man, blind almost from birth. He was charming, very intelligent, and well-liked by the other students. In fact, he was part of the drama, "The Mikado", and the audience would not have been able to tell that he was blind because the other students worked out a system so that just a touch here and there helped him do the chorus numbers with them. Cool, huh? He went to Oxford University but I've since lost track of him. Hmmm! Guess I'll try to reconnect next week!!

  4. Thanks for info! I'm going to try and make reservations.

  5. What a neat concept. How does one see the menu? I think the restaurant in the Maurais where the waiters are in speedoes would be more fun.

  6. I appreciate the concept, but I've broken one too many toes on our coffee table trying to find the tv remote dans le noir. I'll take your friends' word for it that it was "a worthwhile experience."

  7. LOL, coltrane!

    Eric, this is your best shot!! (just kidding, you know that :-P)

    No, thanks, I think this experience is not for me. I'd rather see what I eat, just to make sure nothing on the plate alive in there or something, you know? :) I'll admit, the idea is quite original, but all it'd take is one idiot with an electronic device to ruin it for everybody else...

  8. I have been there 2 years ago I think and it was a fun experience. Nothin special about the food, you go more for the concept indeed. Worth to try it once.

  9. It looks delicious. Is that squid-ink pasta, Cajun-style catfish, kuro goma tofu, and a Cahors wine?

    "This is so good. Oh, is that your plate? My mistake. So sorry!" Ha ha.

  10. Eric,
    You should go there. My wife and I went there in 2005. It really shows how important sight is when you are trying to enjoy a meal without being able to enjoy the visual presentation. Though the wine gets you just as high! It is a very interesting experience. I was trying to be very careful to pour wine into my glass when my love announced to everyone she had been drinking the white bordeaux directly from the bottle for the last 10 minutes!


  11. This brought back a special memory. In the early 1970s there was an "Art and Technology" exhibit at the LACMA. One room was pitch black like the interior of the restaurant but every minute or two there was a single searing strobe flash. It would leave an afterimage on the retina exactly as first viewed that would slowly fade. There would be a frozen visual moment that would remain rigid like some kind of sculptural tableau while all around us people were moving around and the scene was changing. I got to where I could disassociate what I clearly saw, just as if it were right in front of me, with what I could feel and hear around me.

    At one flash I noticed a group of people forming a circle. I managed to unobtrusively crawl down onto the floor at their center and look up at them looking down at me for the next flash. "Where did that guy come from?" was good to hear. I became too accustomed to this peculiar world and left.

    What a memory. Kind of like actually being in Plato's cave.

  12. It would certainly be worth a try, as an experience. Maybe a good place for a blind date?

  13. I wanted to try this but i heard the food wasn't great (strange, cold and not very tasty...).

  14. Zurich has one too! It's called "Blinde Kuh" (Blind Cow)

  15. You mean I could eat ALL my husband's dessert and he wouldn't know???

  16. I speak sign language of the deaf and for years have had parties where for the first 30 minutes no one was allowed to speak. The use of writing or making gestures was fine but no talking. Needless to say the rest of the evening there was very lively discussion. Also, Eric, Thank You very much for your efforts. I have been enjoying your site/sight (except for today of course) for a few weeks and I like it very much.

  17. My, my, what an interesting idea. It would take practice, and I'm sure I'd spill a lot of food and wine in my lap.

    Funny photo, also.

    Just returned from holiday for a week. I scrolled through PDP. Thanks for the 4th of July wishes, Eric. We all need to remember how our countries worked together in crisis. I am looking forward to Bastille Day on July 14th, as well.

  18. By the way, how do you know what's on your bill, and how do you know it's really yours if you can't see a thing?

    And also, suppose you get up to go to the bathroom, how do you find your way back to your table? Oh, pardon me, Monsieur, was that your wife?!! Honest mistake, Monsieur, I assure you! ;)

  19. omigoodness, what an experience that must be! I like tomato farcie's question too, and wonder about that.

  20. That really is a great concept. I remember as a kid my brother and sister and I would close our eyes and see how far we could walk without tripping over something. It's definately good to know how people who are different from yourself live. I can get around my house in complete darkness without problems, but anywhere else I'm helpless.

  21. All these questions, situations, are faced routinely by blind people. I guess that's the point, n'est ce pas?

  22. Very good point Jeff. All these questions show how little we know about the life of the blind.

  23. Perfect for the non-French speaker!

  24. Is this for real because I would so not want to go here for dinner on a date. Imagine eating pasta or soup in the dark! Not only that but how will I be able to show off my new frock!

  25. Damned Ham, how did you guess?!

    Kim, that's a great thing not sighted teachers could teach in a class with sighted kids. I don't think this would happen here to be honest.

    Kate, yes the cooks are sighted, only the waiters aren't. I really look up to people like your student who can manage to run a "normal" life despite their handicap.

    Good Zephyr, at least this blog will contribute to the Paris Economy! Come back here and tell us how it went.

    Coltrane, LOL. That is no reason not to try!

    Tomate. Eric, this is your best shot!! LOOOOOOOOOL. I'm surprised Lionelo did not think of this one!
    Actually they say you enjoy the food better if you don't see it.

    Thnaks Gregory for sharing. See Tomate...

    Tall Gary, LOL. Actually I like the line they have as an introduction on their site: "There is no darkness but ignorance" (Shakespeare)

    And thank you Mike, also for sharing. I, too, would steal food from the others' plates!

    Tall Gary. You did not need to mention the decade this took place... It's definitely a story from the 70's, LOL.

    Peter, yeah, well isn't the whole purpose of a blind date to actually SEE the other party LOL?!

    Actually Claire, even if the food is average, I think the experience must be unique.

    Ainz. Really? Well it's not part of the same chain I suppose otherwise they would mention it on their site I suppose. Why on earth Blind Cow?!


    Bill, thank you very much for thanking me ;)

    Jeff, welcome back among us. Actually I don't think you'd spill that much food or wine on your lap, apparently you get that right pretty easily.

    Tomate and ps. All these are excellent questions... How do the blind do?

    Jeff & Jean. Precisely.

    Luggi. Errrr. Why?! Not seing does not prevent you to speak!! LOL.

    Poody. It is real, but you do it once, just for the experience. And you can wear your old worn out T shirts...

  26. lol Ham.

    Good idea for a pic Eric! I have read about this restaurant - in Paris ; i didn't know we had one in London.

    I think it's a wonderful idea. Good to give us all more understanding. Great if you're having a bad hair day too.

  27. Maybe there should be more restaurants like this. Quite often while dining out I wish I couldn't see[or hear]the other diners around me. Thanks to credit cards anyone can go to almost any restaurant they want, but many of them should have used the money to buy themselves some manners instead.

    Eating in public places has become so commonplace it is disgusting! Last night on the Metro I saw a very large man eating a veritable buffet out of three different plastic containers! He had broccoli, then another preparation of some veggies with cheese and some other disgusting melange. I was so amazed that I couldn't help but stare at him and he gave me sort of a funny look[he was using plastic cutlery as well]as if what he was doing was normal or acceptable. I looked around and noticed several other people trying to hide food they were eating. One girl was eating something very sloppy from McDonald's and several Chinese ladies had their faces in bags chomping on something. Is this considered acceptable behavior now?? There are huge signs on the transit saying "No Eating" and pictures of food in circles with lines through them...but the diners continue.

    How about a restaurant where you are assigned a dinner companion?? Like a Homeless person or a Senior Citizen or maybe...Eva Longoria and Tony Parker. Just a thought.

  28. > Quite often while dining out I wish I couldn't see [or hear] the other diners around me.

    I've been told that the hearing part is one of the downers about Dans le Noir. For some reason, everyone talks much louder than normal. I don't think I'd like this at all -- I like to gaze at my food and my companion.

  29. Eric: It does if you don't know how to speak French! You can't even point.

  30. Friends took us out to this restaurant right after it opened and and I have to say the experience was a bit frightening at first. Not being able to see ANYTHING made me claustrophobic for a few minutes, until I let my ears take over and reassure me that we were in a big space, with enough air to breathe. I agree with others who've commented that the food was unmemorable, but three very positive things happened for me during the meal: One, as a highly visual person, I became more relaxed and peaceful than I usually do in public, because I wasn't looking at everything and being stimulated in that way. Two, I ate much more slowly than I usually do, and I paid more attention to the texture and taste of the food. Three, our table laughed and joked with strangers sitting next to us - and even shared food with them! Not a natural occurrence in a Paris restaurant. (By the way,I gave up eating with a knife and fork and used my hands - very freeing! and wonderful that no one was watching)

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