This year whilst living a Parisian lifestyle and looking after a beautiful cat named Mousse, I managed to venture a few unusual places, one of which was the Under Sea Restaurant called Ephemera.
The restaurant is based in the 13th Arrondissement and apparently isn’t the most popular districts, but oh well!
As you enter the area, you’ll immediately feel like you’re somewhere different compared to the romantic charm the city is known for, since it’s fairly modern. Here you’ll see apartment blocks, big concrete spaces, some innovative architecture…or at least some interesting design choices. You’ll also find one of the oldest and biggest archive libraries in France called The Bibliothèque Nationale de France.
According to some Parisians, this location is ‘relatively cheaper’ to rent since it’s newer and more industrialised than the older areas in Paris. People prefer renting the aged-classic apartments which are more expensive, even if slightly run down. That makes sense, I definitely prefer the sound of creaking wood, balcony chatter or gazing upon shutters both opened and closed. When in Paris, I’m definitely starring in my own movie.
Back to my little fish tale…
I called up my friend Kamila who lives in Paris. I was really keen on doing something a little obscure. Kamila is also an adventurer; having travelled solo all around the world. And she’s been a resident of the city for the last six years. I actually thought she might know this restaurant…so, I was elated when I discovered that she didn’t know about it, as this was a first-time experience for us both! The only thing I forgot was that she doesn’t eat fish as she’s a vegetarian! I felt super bad, but luckily, we managed to find some non-fishy bits on the menu and some decent wine which helped!
The entry into the restaurant is quite hidden away in the futuristic metropolis of the 13th Arrondissement, wedged in between looming square blocks that are screaming voids of capitalism. Nonetheless, once you’ve worked through that, Fish Narnia and a meal awaits you (you must book in advance) as a small group of people stood at the secret entrance, giving the whole experience an air of exclusivity.
When we entered inside it was clear we were in a ‘whole new world,’ with ‘gadgets and gizmos aplenty,’ as the restaurant floor was decorated by many projection screens viewing undersea graphics and footage. The music was meditative and ethereal, with it feeling much like a cross between a casino, amusement arcade, bowling alley and 80s hotel bar with a dash of class. There were families, work colleagues, lovers, couples, friends, a whole array of people enjoying themselves while taking in the scenes.
Ephemera was originally set up as a final university project by a group of students, once graduated, they were able to launch the restaurant officially. According to one of the waiters, the location will change soon, so do keep a look out!
Food-wise, it’s not bad at all. I ate a raw tuna steak and some sticky rice, I didn’t realise the tuna was going to be raw, but it was good all the same!
Although some of the graphics on the projection screens weren’t amazing, you’re definitely going for the experience because along with the sound design and interesting intervals, it will make for a pretty surreal evening. It’s also the immersivity of the screens, and where people are situated, that makes the atmosphere special. Something as simple as walking to the toilet has you winding past and through screens that are constantly viewing undersea footage leaving you dizzy!
The synchronicity of the projections and cacophony of music, fish chases, sharks, oceans and bubbles were enough to make me stop eating my raw tuna diet for a minute – luckily those presentations weren’t all the time as we’d never eat!
There’s fun for everyone if you visit Ephemera, the imperfections are becoming, the excitement and build-up still delivers tenfold and manages to keep you in awe regardless.
Go watch a fish or few when you can!