Romance in Paris - with bonus sharks

One of the prize-winning couples enjoying a romantic evening with bonus sharks. Photo / AP
One of the prize-winning couples enjoying a romantic evening with bonus sharks. Photo / AP

Surrounded by 35 sharks in an underwater chamber, three couples have experienced a unique way to spend a romantic evening in Paris.

American tourist Kimly Do enjoyed a night with her boyfriend on Tuesday inside a transparent underwater alcove at L'Aquarium de Paris as the large marine animals circled around them.

She is one of the winners of a contest organised by the US hospitality company Airbnb, receiving a free night's sleepover at the aquarium's shark tank, where couples can enjoy a candlelit dinner with a 360-degree view of the underwater creatures, surrounded by 270 tonnes of water.

The 25-year-old engineer described the experience as "relaxing, pleasant and very special to have a view that nobody in the world could enjoy".

Do, who is a fan of sharks and even has one tattooed on her back, said the marine creatures had an undeserved reputation of being dangerous.

Two other couples from the UK and China will also be sleeping in the underwater chamber's round-shaped bed, and will be welcomed by underwater photographer and freediving world-record holder Fred Buyle.

The shark enthusiast will perform a dance with the sharks and take the couples on a tour of the aquarium where he will convey the importance of sharks "in preserving the balance of the oceans".

The 12-tonnes structure will remain submerged in the aquarium between six and nine months to "facilitate the study of the interaction, reproduction and habit of sharks", according to Alexis Powilewicz, chief executive of L'Aquarium de Paris.

The structure is fully funded by Airbnb at an unspecified cost and is not disturbing the animals in any way as they are already used to swimming around it, Powilewicz said.

More than 63,000 people around the world participated in the essay contest to write an original message not exceeding 500 characters about why they wanted to spend an evening with the fish.

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