Sleep tight and don't let the sharks bite at Paris aquarium

Tue Mar 29, 2016 4:46pm EDT
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PARIS (Reuters) - The house rules are clear: No swimming at night, keep your head and feet in the bedroom at all times, and avoid watching "Jaws" beforehand. It might put you off the sharks circling your bed.

A room with a very special view -- 35 of the much feared creatures -- is up for grabs at the Paris Aquarium for those looking for a night's sleep with a difference.

Submerged in a 10-metre-(33-foot)-deep aquarium with just a see-through wall separating guests from the sharks swimming in 3 million liters of water, the cylinder-shaped room for two, with a round-shaped bed occupying most of the space, is not for the faint-hearted.

But for those curious and brave enough, it will be available for three nights in April as part of a competition organized by the aquarium and holiday home rental website Airbnb.

The underwater sleepover will also aim to teach the three winners and their guests about the species, with host, freediver Fred Buyle, introducing them to their overnight neighbors by "danc(ing) alongside the sharks".

"Sharks are really, really misunderstood ... People need to understand that sharks are not dangerous, there are only dangerous behaviors with sharks," Buyle said.

"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. If sharks disappear, we disappear, basically."

The structure, which was tested for durability in the waters of the Mediterranean, will be open to competition winners on April 11, 12 and 13, after which it will be a turned into a research hub.

(Reporting by Molly Brossman and Reuters Television in Paris; Writing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian in London; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

A diver takes pictures as people look at sharks from an underwater room structure installed in the Aquarium of Paris, France, March 14, 2016.  REUTERS/Charles Platiau