Paris’ Most Well-Known American
The other evening, I bumped into Paris’ most well-known American not far from his own apartment, an atelier now known by over 100,000 guests he’s had the pleasure of hosting for dinner. It was a particularly “synchronistic” path-crossing, since for some reason his name had been on many tongues that week, for no real apparent reason. So, I just assumed we were meant to collide and within seconds we were at the corner café sipping on frothy “crèmes.”
Jim Haynes has likely told his story hundreds of times, but it’s ceaselessly fascinating and manages to consistently attract 60 to 70 people, virtually 50/50 men to women ratio, every single Sunday evening for a drink, a buffet dinner and a serious mingling with a “mélange” of 1/3 French, 1/3 Anglophones, 1/3 other. The only time he shuts down is for three weeks in August — he’s there over Christmas, New Year’s and every other holiday without a rest.
The woman who started the whole kit and caboodle 27 years ago, is still living here in Paris and occasionally comes to help cook. At the time, she was a house guest at Jim’s itching to show off her culinary talents, so he invited a few friends, she served up her dishes and Jim Haynes’ Sunday Night Soirées began. Now, all these years later, he fondly takes responsibility for dozens of love affairs and marriages resulting from the Sunday mixers.
Jim’s been living in Paris 35 years, but lived in several other European cities before catching the Paris bug and settling here. He’s worn many hats, been both entrepreneurial and employable and is now retired and loving it, although he confesses to still loading himself up with new and interesting projects.
He lucked into his three-level “villa” apartment that was a sculpture’s atelier reputedly once owned by Matisse, for the first two years as a rental and then with the opportunity to buy it. A “villa” is a pedestrian path that leads to a row of apartments and houses. There aren’t very many in Paris, but they are usually very special jewels off the beaten tracks. This fits the description — with an entrance on rue de la Tombe Issoire in the 14th, just off rue d’Alésia, the first area of Paris to be touched by the “Quartiers Verts” program.
When the landlord told him they wanted to sell the apartment thirty three years ago, Jim did just what I did when the same thing happened to me — panicked over the thought of moving and did all he could do to gather up the $30,000 to buy the apartment. No regrets — the apartment is worth 20 times that today, a rate of appreciation of 10% per year on the average! ‘Course, he has no plans of selling, so don’t bother asking.
For more properties in the neighborhood…
To reserve at Jim Haynes’ Sunday Soirée, call him at 01.43.27.17.67 or email him at [email protected]. Bring a suggested donation of 20 euros to cover dinner and be sure to tell him Adrian sent you.
A la prochaine…
Editor, Parler Paris
P.S. Today is the first day of a new life for Parler Paris and all those associated with it. Parler Paris and all of its affiliate publications (French Property Insider and Insider Paris Guides) and all services offered (consultations, property searches, mortgages, conferences, etc.) are the sole products of Adrian Leeds and Adrian Leeds Group, LLC. I sincerely hope you will continue to read Parler Paris and let me help you make your dreams come true.