Dinner with Jim Haynes
If you are looking for a unique experience and fancy the idea of having dinner in a private home in Paris, dinner at Jim’s is an experience to be had and a night you won’t forget.
Meet Mr Jim Haynes.
Jim Haynes has been entertaining guests in his home every Sunday for the past 35 years.
Rain, hail or shine, Christmas Day or New Years Eve, as long as it falls on a Sunday.
This kind gentle man opens his home, a former artelier and sculptors studio, to all in sundry because he enjoys connecting people.
If you ask him, he will tell you that marriages and babies have resulted due to his famous dinners.
This all began back when a woman and great cook, who once boarded with Jim started entertaining his friends and visitors.
But perhaps the seed was initially planted back in the days when Jim Haynes was asked by his landlady, George Orwell’s widow, Sonia Orwell, if he could wait on her guests at her Friday afternoon cocktail parties.
In exchange for free rent, for the apartment Sonia Orwell kindly let Jim live in, the young Jim Haynes served her distinguished guests each Friday afternoon.
Some of the guests included the likes of artist Frances Bacon and writer Mary McCarthy.
Jim Haynes has had a rich and wonderful past and is a fascinating man and continues to live life to the fullest.
In 1959 he established Edinburgh’s first paperback bookstore, The Paperback Bookshop as a way to support his studies.
Later, in 1962 he went on to co-establish the Edinburgh International Writer’s Conference together with Sonia Orwell and publisher John Calder.
He lectured at Paris University for 30 years, has his own publishing imprint and even has a few books under his belt, including his autobiography, Thanks for Coming.
Jim Haynes has not only had an amazing past but continues to live a vibrant and interesting life.
The after dinner mint company, After Eight have immortalised his legendary soirées by making a tv commercial based on his dinners.
You can take a look here for yourself :
People from all over the world, all walks of life, young and old, stand shoulder to shoulder whilst eating dinner, meeting and connecting with others, just the way Jim intends it.
He even supplies a wad of paper and a jar full of pens to ensure you don’t leave without staying in touch with your fellow guests.
Upon entering his home, as you work your way through the crowd, you will find the apron clad Jim, perched in his usual place on a stool by his long kitchen table ticking off a list as he introduces his 70 odd guests with a remarkable ability of remembering everyone’s name and where they come from.
I would like to say Jim’s Sunday night dinners is one the best kept secrets in Paris but after 35 years and thousands of guests later, it is hardly a secret.
I have met many wonderful people at Jim’s soirées over the years and cemented a few friendships along the way.
Jim has many wonderful stories to share but if I give away all of his secrets, what would you talk about? Probably plenty.
If you have found this information interesting or useful, please thank me by leaving a comment or following me on facebook for daily tips, photos and anecdotes about Paris. Merci!
FacebookTwitteremailPinterestStumbleUponTumblrReddit Jim Haynes in his usual position, perched on a stool near the stove, donning an apron – connecting people Dinner at Jim’s is obviously so good, people come back for more, myself included. Jim Haynes, an American living in Paris, has opened his apartment, every Sunday, since the 70’s, to anyone who would like …
- Bastille MarketsThe Bastille Markets are everything you could hope for in a typical Parisian Market; vibrant, colourful, delicious and intoxicating.
- Marché d’AligreThis small ancient and charming undercover, neighbourhood market which is full of friendly vendors and a sumptuous array of food also has a small flea market outside.
- L’Hotel du NordLeaving Canal St Martin, and entering through red velvet drapes, you will discover a zinc bar, black and white flagged flooring and tiled murals on the walls.
- Petit Fer a ChevalThis charming, historic bar in the 4th arrondissement and the heart of the Marais, is my all time favourite. Great food, full of character and friendly staff.
- Clown BarTucked away in the high Marais you will find this sweet little belle époque zinc bar with painted glass ceilings, wall tiles depicting clowns frolicking around and good food.
- Ambassade d’AuvergneMashed potatoes whipped into a silken white purée, delivered to the table and spectacularly stretched, as high as the arm will go.
- Le Train BleuThis wonderful bustling restaurant, located in the Parisian train station, Gare de Lyon, is nothing short of spectacular, frescos, sculptures, banquette seating ...
- Chez GladinesA bright cheery & inexpensive Basque café with red & white checkered tablecloths, friendly staff, good hearty food and a bustling atmosphere.
- Galeries Lafayette ParisWith its magnificent stained glass cupola, adorning 7 storeys of fashion and luxury goods, this is shopping seduction at its best.
- MerciSitting at the end of a cobbled lane-way, is a tiny red car with the number plate; Merci. You have just arrived at the stylish and innovative concept store.
- Jardin des TuileriesThe Tuileries history unfolds like a terrific saga. Once home to a Palace, Kings and Queens, a riding school, menagerie, hunting, fire and massacre.
- La ContrescarpeCozy nooks, comfy leather lounge chairs, timber floors and books tucked into alcoves, in an intimate and relaxed atmosphere with delicious and very affordable food.
- Le Cochon à l’OreilleA friendly welcome and good food is what to expect in this gorgeous tiny ancient cafe with six tables, a zinc bar, tiled murals adorning the walls. An absolute treat.
- Bouillon ChartierIf only these walls could talk, you would learn about 100 years of food, laughter and romance. Take a journey back in time, in the famous, historically listed dining room.
- Au Rendez-vous de la MarineThis unpretentious little gem, tucked away from the usual tourist circuit in the 19th, is extremely friendly and dishes up hearty, inexpensive traditional food.
- Le Cordon BleuSlip on the starched white apron, ensure you shout oui chef and be prepared to be taken on a culinary experience in this world famous institution.
- La Cuisine ParisI was assigned a small chicken to de-bone, all the while, learning knife and chopping techniques.
- Musée Jacquemart-AndréI love poking around former residences of the bourgeois and Musée Jacquemart-Andre is one of the finest you will see in Paris.
- Restaurant Foyer de la MadeleineLurking deep in the cellars of L’église Sainte-Marie-Madeleine is one of Paris' best kept secrets, Restaurant Foyer de la Madeleine.
- Musée d’OrsayThe former railway station, sitting on the left bank of the Seine, has the largest collection of impressionist and post impressionist art in the world.