The French are serious about their food, and they’re seriously good at creating amazing dishes. The city of Paris, France is home to restaurants with a combined total of 134 Michelin stars. And so when I asked about fun and unique foodie experiences in the City of Light, I was told that the French don’t really do over the top dining experiences.
I’m not one to be told something’s impossible, so I set off through the arrondissements of Paris to find the craziest foodie experiences and most unusual restaurants the city has to offer. Paris didn’t disappoint.
Dans Le Noir?
I’m still a bit blindsided by what was the most unique dining experience of my life. It is rare to be in a place without any light pollution, and rarer still to have the opportunity to enjoy a meal in that setting. And yet, Dans Le Noir? offers exactly that. The servers and guides in the restaurant are visually impaired and the evening offers diners a chance to experience a meal in the life of a blind person. All belongings are stored in lockers upon arrival including watches with a glow-in-the-dark feature to ensure total darkness. After selecting a surprise menu for the evening, guests are led into the dark, holding the shoulder of the person in front of them. Couples and small groups will be seated with other diners to share the experience.
Once inside the restaurant, the server will guide you to your table and talk you through the experience. Our server, Karim, was amazing. He announced himself every time he approached the table and explained exactly what was happening. The only thing he didn’t explain was the food. The whole experience is a chance to delve into flavor and food enjoyment without the barrier of appearance. Although getting the food to my mouth was a bit of a struggle, I found that I enjoyed every flavor and texture much more than a typical meal. As I savored each bite, I paid attention to flavors as I tried to guess what I was eating.
Upon reentry to the light, our eyes took a moment to adjust and we were able to view the menu of the foods we tried. I wish I could tell you about the delicious meal we had… but I’ll leave the surprise for you to experience yourself!
This experience is a little more ‘choose your own adventure.’ Paris is known for their macarons: sweet, bites of heaven in a plethora of flavors. I love how the satisfying texture of the shell, the chewiness of the macaron cookie’s center, and the creamy filling or tart jam come together to create a dessert that is like no other. Check out The Sweet Wanderlust’s recommendations for the best macarons in Paris, or venture on your own to discover your favorite patisserie.
Champagne from any other region is just sparkling wine. But Le Dokhan’s offers a degustation of bubbly from the Champagne region of France. Their €30 tasting includes three different types of champagne. Sommelier Matthias Breton has created the city’s most extensive champagne collection, so you’re sure to sip something you’ve never tried before.
I enjoy champagne very much, but never really noticed or appreciated the flavor profiles created by different grape blends. Typical tastings are just enough to whet your appetite, but the pours at this degustation were such that by the end, our giggles were erupting like the bubbles in our glasses.
At the end, the server brought a selection of mini treats for us to enjoy before heading out into the night.
Le Dokhan’s is an eight-minute walk from the Trocadero Gardens, a perfect spot to see the Eiffel Tower at night.
Drink wine from baby bottles in Montmartre
Although France isn’t really into funky food trends or quirky themes, Le Refuge des Fondus has become a bit of a sensation. You hear the jokes all the time about ‘mommy needing a sippy cup.’ Le Refuge des Fondus takes the joke to the extreme. In this cafe, drink wine out of baby bottles. If you need a break from grown-up life, pop in for red wine sure to soothe any ailment.