Social dining in Paris – Meanderings through France
Annick Dournes & Frederic de Poligny
Any traveller coming to France expects to find what makes the pride of French people, the exquisite quality of its cuisine. Food and wine are treated here very seriously. They are part of the true French “art-de-vivre”. What could be better for the traveller who wants to get off the beaten tracks, than sharing a meal with French people in their own home to approach it? Imagine being part of a students cocktail party, coming to a wine and cheese tasting or sharing a diner in a private apartment with a great view over Paris roofs, while having friendly talks with the other guests and your hosts.
Launched in Paris at the beginning of 2014 VizEat is the site for travellers to dine with locals. It’s the real Social Dining network, with thousands hosts over fifty countries in the world. France is the first destination with over 1.000 hosts and obviously Paris has a large coverage. In the last weeks VizEat opened 2 new websites dedicated to the Italian and Spanish hosts and the British and the German VizEat websites are coming soon. With a recent 1M€ fundraising and the acquisition of Cookening, the sector’s pioneer, VizEat became the European leader of social dining, a very fast growing market.
As say Camille Rumani and Jean-Michel Petit, the two French co-founders of WizEat, the table is the gateway to the world. Their idea is to offer to aware tourists the amazing opportunity to enter the privacy of locals and to have a private, personal and authentic discovery of the real life of the country they are visiting. Who can better talk of a place than the people who live there? And what could be a better time to exchange than around a homemade mouth watering meal?
Asked about VizEat hosts’ motivations, Camille Rumani had a big smile. For her, none of the hosts is expecting to make a real fortune. It’s only an opportunity to get a personal enrichment by meeting and receiving foreign guests as friends, showing them their cooking skills. VizEat hosts also have a great sense of hospitality and they love to exchange and communicate. Most of them are regular travellers and they are used to meet the inhabitants during their own trips.
A world of tastes and ambiances
In a single click you get access to a world of tastes and ambiances. VizEat hosts offer to guests a large choice of menus, needs and places. Traditional table, arty table, breakfast, lunch, dinner, brunch, wine and cheeses, market tour or even cooking class… it’s up to you. Don’t think that the French are too much navel-gazing about cooking. Considering food, what is good is great! So you will find many French hosts offering many types of meals from Peru, Vietnam, Japan or even from Setchuan…
Each VizEat hosts is individually presented with all you might need to know. The place where they staying at, the languages spoken, the scheduled time, the menu, the meal price that is always fixed by the host himself with an average price from 20 to 40€ per guest and a few photos showing some of the dishes they like to serve. You will also have a direct web contact with your host to discuss about the menu of the day, your tastes…
To the meal’s price, that is entirely earned by the host, VizEat adds a 15% fee including an insurance from Lloyds of London that covers both hosts and guests up to 100.000€. This is a great security for all.
When you sign up for a booking with a host, the payment is pending until you get the booking confirmation. Hosts are generally expected to answer within the next 24 hours. Avoiding any direct money transfer, the meeting between guests and hosts is easy. As Marie-Claude says when welcoming her guests in her beautiful Parisian apartment designed by the famous architect Mallet Stevens, as soon as they sit on the comfortable sofa a glass of champagne in hand, the ice is immediately broken. The secret is, for the hosts, to consider their guests as friends and vice-versa!
After spending a few nice hours with your hosts, you became a real VizEater (!) and so as a member of this growing community don’t forget to share your experience by posting a comment about your hosts on VizEat site.
all info at: www.vizeat.com
Text ©Frederic de Poligny
Photos courtesy of VizEat by Adelie Vernhes and Ludivine Nakedcat