After returning from his winter holiday in London and Paris, National Geographic Traveler‘s art director, Jerry Sealy, couldn’t stop telling his colleagues about a peculiar experience he had in the City of Light. After some prodding, IT convinced him to share the moment with you:
The night my friend Kathryn and I arrived in Paris, we planned to eat at Fish La Boissonerie, a new restaurant on the Left Bank. But new friends (some Americans we met on the RER train from Charles de Gaulle Airport to Paris) invited us to join them at Jim’s Dinner Club.
Dinner club? It sounded warm and cozy. I pictured a table of twelve, a crackling fire, quiet conversation, classic French cuisine…and very good wine.
"Call Jim at +33 (0)1 4327 1767," said our new friend. "He’ll give you the details. You’ll have fun and it’s only about 25 euros ($33) a head. See you there?" How could we pass up the adventure?
After a 30-minute Metro
ride, we arrived at the given time—8 p.m. sharp—and were greeted by our host Jim at the door, along with the party of 60 (not 12) in full swing. As we soon learned, Jim (an American) has been hosting these parties each Sunday for the past 30 years, here at his home in the far reaches of the 14th arrondissement.
As the night went on, we were impressed by Jim’s uncanny ability to remember everyone, specifically their names; we watched him introduce all the guests to one another. In an eclectic apartment filled with books, theater posters, and slightly worn upholstery, Jim had gathered an equally eclectic group of people to match: old and young, liberal and conservative, gay and straight, black and white and Asian, professors, scientists, artists, backpackers, and actors. We all mingled and chatted, trying to balance a delicious (yet simple) plate of noodles—topped with whitefish and leeks—with our two glasses of wine: one white, the other red (from a box). The ex-pats bemoaned maddening French bureaucracies. A couple debated about where the ‘real
Paris neighborhoods were these days. A man from England shyly admitted he had just bought a French beret that day. And Kathryn and I just took it all in.
- Nat Geo Expeditions