The Gare du Nord seems an odd place for me to have met Bill Deedes - W F Deedes, if you prefer, or even Lord Deedes - for the last time.
Inconsequential chit-chat about politics or the press, over a beer in Canary Wharf, is how I remember him more typically.
But it was 2005, I was in Paris and Bill was on another of his crazy missions, for a man then 92; this one would retrace his Second World War steps from the Normandy beaches to Hannover 60 years earlier.
My assistant, Rebecca Schofield, had done a lot of sterling work in planning the hotel stops along his way, making sure due account was taken of his age and condition, and I was there to welcome him off the Eurostar.
He looked a bright as a button as he made his way towards la tête du train, with one exception: he was in a wheelchair, and I hadn't known him like that before I moved to France.
Around him were his faithful minders, Sue Ryan, then managing editor of the Daily Telegraph, and Abbie Trayler-Smith, then the paper's star photographer, a sparky as well as talented young woman who had worked with Bill in tight spots around the world.
The women sped off to sort out the hired car and I took Bill across the road to the splendid Brasserie Terminus Nord.
He insisted on getting out of the wheelchair for the last few steps and settled happily into a seat by the window.
The restaurant was not some last-minute, where-shall-we-eat? refuge but my carefully chosen way of welcoming him to Paris at a place which was handy for his arrival and, despite its location, could be relied upon to serve excellent food and serve it with a degree of style.
Bill was in fine form, mentally alert and indiscreet as ever. If he was a little unsure of the wisdom of undertaking such a journey in his declining state of health, he refused to let it show, and even negotiated, on my arm, the steps to and from the basement lavatory - the great faux pas in my arrangements - without complaint or obvious discomfort.
To my lingering sadness, when Bill asked if I could join him for dinner the next evening in northern France, his little party having already gone west from Paris to the beaches and then up to Lille in little more than 24 hours, I simply couldn't make it.
In reports I have seen of Bill's death on Friday, aged 94, the writers have been divided between those describing him as one of the greatest journalists of the 20th century and those saying, though with extreme kindness about what he did achieve, that he was not. Even in the latter category, heads were bowed in acknowledgement of his astonishing professional longevity and his strong humanitarian instincts.
In our different ways, Bill and I both profited from the age of Conrad Black. Whatever criminality has now been established against Black, and for which - subject to appeal - he seems about to pay quite heavily, he was far from being a monster or tyrant in his spell as newspaper proprietor.
The 1986 takeover of the Telegraph led to Bill's replacement as editor by Max Hastings, who went on to preside over some of the best years of the paper though he would cheerfully admit he was not nearly as nice a person as his predecessor.
Though well into his 70s, Bill did not choose the soft option and retire in reasonable comfort. He went back to his first newspaper job: reporting. He was, of course, a star reporter, but his assignments were not cushy. Famine, disaster, casualties of war and the like became (again) his stock-in-trade, and he did it all with a youngster's eye to deadlines and an old pro's recognition of what was expected of him.
Very few people in this trade that was his and, further down the food chain, mine deserve to be called lovable. Bill had his raffish side but this made him no less lovable, and he was also very, very good at what he did for the paper. He was not, on his own account, a great editor, but that hardly matters when you look at what he did for the next 20 years after stepping down.
And when you consider that he had also been a distinguished - that is to say, selfless and heroic - soldier and a Cabinet minister, you begin to have the measure of a man of many gifts.
Best of all, though Lady Thatcher (memo to the New Order at the Telegraph: Lady, not Baroness, Thatcher - please try to remember, as Bill would have done, that there is still a DT house style) and her late husband may have been great friends, Bill never became a Thatcherite.
Not a soul among my friends and former colleagues thought to let me know he had died. Word reached me next day from an Irish Times journalist visiting my neck of the woods in France. But the omission had more than anything to do with the fact that younger people - even at my advanced age, I was nearly half a century behind Bill in terms of service to the same paper - are quickly forgotten these days when they leave their jobs.
With his wonderful combination of sheer graft and basic skills, stamina and decency, Bill turned himself ino a national treasure, and will never be forgotten.
* Chris Ryder, another former colleague, adds these thoughts: Much enjoyed your reminiscence about Bill. I only knew him slightly. First time I met him was in 1980s, I think when I still on the Sunday Times. He was coming to Belfast with Godfrey Barker in connection with a libel case and Harry Evans (ST editor) volunteered me to give him some help. He contacted me on the evening of his arrival and we arranged to meet for breakfast next morning. We have a most convivial chat but the only thing he needed assistance with was in finding a barber who would shave him. after tapping one or two of my police friends, discovered an old style shop down in the docks area which still provided the service so, having checked, sent him off on a taxi to go to court via there. Later had the odd glass with him in the South Quay and Canary Wharf locals when I was over. Great old boy and we really will never see his like again.