About two weeks in to my mom’s stay, our dear friend Glen and Audrey arrived in Paris. You may remember that they visited us in Scotland last May – and they made another trip to see us in Paris. We have seriously amazing friends, huh?
Well, one of the many things that we did was join the famous (or infamous as some would have it) dinner with Jim Haynes. I can’t remember how I head about it the first time, except I think it was on this NPR interview. We had planned on going with our friends Matthew and Ashli three years ago, but bailed at the last minute. We were tired and talking to a bunch of strangers, didn’t seem like a great idea. So…with Aud and Glen in town, this was our chance. Plus, it was Audrey’s birthday and she was all for it. So…off we went.
Jim has been throwing these famous dinner parties nearly every Sunday evening for over 34 years. Now, that’s dedication. You email him and make sure you get on the list and then once the day rolls around you reconfirm and get your directions. We arrived and found tons of other people there, milling about, introducing themselves to one another. It’s an agoraphobe’s worst nightmare. But it attracts all sorts of English speaking people (it was mostly Americans when we were there) who want to meet other people in Paris.
Jim sits at the counter, takes your white envelopes with your “contribution” (pretty steep at a suggested 30€ per person), crosses your name off his list, and basically asks people if they’ve met the person standing next to them. He has a sign on the wall of his tiny apartment that says “Jim’s Plan: Stay at Home and Get Paid” – and this seems to be part of it! At an average of 70 attendees each week, he’s definitely bringing in enough to pay the rent.
Anyway, we did enjoy it and met some wonderfully interesting people. The food was very simple – curry with rice and spinach on the side. Tasty, but you could easily get a similar meal for much less at a restaurant in Paris. But the boxed (!) wine flows freely as does the conversation and the people we met (mostly drawn by the recent NYT article) were lovely. I really enjoyed it and had a great time. Would I do it again? I’m not sure. Maybe if 30€ wasn’t the equivilent of three days grocery budget for me, I would be more apt to return.