Every Sunday for the last 30+ years, Jim Haynes has been hosting dinners in the atelier of his apartment in the 14th arrondisement. The first 50-60 who contact him get to come and it’s an organized affair, but the evenings began by accident. An American dancer knocked on his door, recommended by a friend as a good person to know. Jim offered a room and she offered to cook for him and his friends, and the evenings became a legendary institution. Allen Ginsberg has been by, but Jim seems more interested in the lives of us lay folk and the confluence of characters that fill his home each week. Jim’s travel philosophy sums up his philosophy on the dinners: “I travel to see friends, even – or especially – those I’ve never met.” The dinner’s are informal (buffet-style) and the point is to mingle. There are the regulars, and those that just dropped into town. “I believe in introducing people to people,” Jim says.
When I went to Jim’s for dinner, a group of architecture students, in town for a conference, were in attendance. I took this as fate since I was living in Paris studying architecture. Even though it was over a year ago, I remember the evening distinctly–it was a second date with the person I’m still with. The main entrance off rue d’Alésia leads into a tree-lined street with apartments along both sides. The front door of Jim’s apartment opens into the atelier, which used to be a sculpture studio. The ceilings are high, the architecture loft-like. Books, prints and poems adorn the walls. My favorite spot was the curved staircase, chock full of papers, books and boxes.
“She’s a keeper,” one of the regulars told my soon-to-be boyfriend–and maybe he took the advice to heart. The regulars all had a story about how they came to Paris, and it fulfilled my vision of the ’70s ex-pat culture. The dinner was good, the wine flowed and it was a great introduction to Paris.
RSVP to the next Sunday dinner though Jim’s website or phone him at 00 33 1 43 27 17 67. You can also write a letter!
Jim Haynes, atelier A-2,
83, rue de la Tombe Issoire 75014 Paris France
The dinner has a suggested donation of 25 euros.
Get in touch with the author @untappedmich