At the moment, the most coveted Airbnb property in all of Paris is a snug little getaway in the 16th arrondissement. A stone’s throw across the Seine from the Eiffel Tower adjacent to the les Jardins du Trocadéro, the listing is nestled amongst the city’s finest residences in the heart of Paris’ museum district.
Featuring a circular bed (!) and 360-degree views, said listing is large enough to accommodate two guests. Le petit déjeuner is included. But here’s the catch: to access these deluxe and otherwise conveniently located digs for the night, guests most ascend and descend a ladder — and this includes compulsory trips to the loo. Also, you’ll be sharing the space with 35 permanent residents.
And these residents are sharks — real live sharks.
If you haven’t stopped reading at this point, I’m assuming you’re totally fine with hunkering down for the night in a glass-encased enclosure submerged within the 800,000-gallon shark tank at the famed Aquarium de Paris. It’s not for everyone, but neither was another “distinctive and unprecedented” Parisian listing recently offered up as part of Airbnb’s monthly “Night At” dream sleepover contests: the Catacombs.
On the nights of April 11, 12 and 13, three lucky — lucky being a highly subjective word here — winners and their guests will have the chance to sleep with the fishes — large, fearsome fishes. While the listing doesn’t detail exactly what kind of apex predators will be continually circling around the fully transparent underwater bedroom chamber (an important detail for shark nuts!), Airbnb’s promo photography for the contest shows hammerheads and a variety of other requins.
Since sharks aren’t exactly known for their hospitality, Fred Buyle, a noted Belgian free diver and underwater photographer, will play the part of official host:
He’ll dance alongside the sharks, the ideal introduction to your neighbors for the night. Once you’re settled, Fred and one of our marine biologists will guide you on a tour through the aquarium, and provide an exclusive behind-the-scenes glimpse into the world of sharks: how they live, why they’re so misunderstood, and their importance to the ocean’s ecosystem.
As with any Airbnb listing, the shark tank bedroom at Aquarium de Paris comes with a list of established house rules: no sleepwalking or night swimming, no snacking on chum and no selfies after dark as sharks are sensitive to light. And it goes without saying, there are certain films that should not be watched before descending into the tank for the night. And if you can’t fall asleep, just try counting sharks. Or not.
Open to Airbnb users who best describe why they want to spend the night in a shark tank in 550 characters or less, contest winners and their respective guests also must be in good physical condition — as mentioned, there’s some ladder climbing involved — and must weigh in at under 418 pounds “for safety reasons.” (Seriously, the winner and his/her guest will be weighed before entering the chamber and if their combined weight exceeds 418 pounds, the shark sleepover will be called off.)
Following the trio of sleepovers, the circular bed and furnishings will be removed and the enclosure will be converted into an underwater observatory for aquarium biologists.
Naturally, the contest — it also includes roundtrip airfare to and from Paris as well as a dinner for two — will appeal to thrill-seekers and adrenaline junkies of all stripes. However, the contest jury that will be reviewing submissions will no doubt be most swayed by entrants who express a deep respect for and curiosity toward sharks. Sure, there’s the inherent novelty-terror factor but, above all, Airbnb wants this to be an educational experience.
"It's a great opportunity to show people that you can swim with sharks, you can be with sharks and nothing bad happens, but also that we need to protect the sharks because they are like crucial for the ecosystem,” Buyle explains to Reuters. “If sharks disappear, we disappear, basically."