The tete-a-tete was supposed to last 30 minutes, but the clock ticked on and so did the chinwag.
Usually formal meetings between heads of state or government last barely long enough for both parties to swig back a mug of tea, but President Michael D Higgins and President Francois Hollande were getting on like une maison en feu.
And when the two men emerged on the steps of the Elysee Palace after almost 50 minutes along with their other halves, Sabina Higgins and Valerie Trierweiller, the four of them were thick as thieves, chatting merrily outside the door for longer than mere politeness required.
It was the first day of Mr Higgins's three-day sojourn in the French capital. It's not a full bells-and-whistles state visit as these things are done in strict rotation. Mary Robinson did a full state visit to France in 1996 and since no French president has reciprocated since, it's still their turn.
But it's possible that the French are un petit peu morto about this, for they put on the ritz for Michael D. His day began with a seriously impressive presentation of military honours at the Arc de Triomphe – a ceremony usually conducted at the airport upon arrival.
But French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian is an old pal of Mr Higgins, and so in the bright sunshine as the mental traffic which usually screams around l'Etoile was halted, the Marine Troops band played 'Amhran na bhFiann' and 'Le Marseill-ese', as Mr Higgins laid a wreath at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
If Michael D enjoyed that, then he enjoyed even more his second engagement of the day – delivering a keynote speech on 'Defining Europe in the Year of the European Citizen' in the Sorbonne. He addressed an audience of 950 and spoke for over 50 minutes.
It was a busy first day, Mr Higgins also visited the Pompidou Centre to view an exhibition by Irish architect and furniture maker Eileen Gray, then attended a dinner at the Irish embassy.
He looked happy: he'd been honoured at the Arc, applauded at the Sorbonne, and even, by mentioning the abortion controversy when questioned by students, staged a tiny mini-French Revolution of his very own.