• France's news in English

Brit's 'quiet pint' ends 800km away in Paris

Dan MacGuill · 20 Nov 2013, 13:00

Published: 20 Nov 2013 13:00 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

It starts, like many a good story, with a quiet pint.

But 19-year-old Luke Harding could never have predicted that his “one drink” with a friend after work in Manchester last Saturday, would end at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, and bring him overnight internet stardom.

One or two quiet ones turned into a foray to Tokyo Project nightclub in Oldham for sheet-metal worker Harding and his pal.

After what he told Manchester's Key 103 radio was a “bog standard night out” there, however, the intrepid traveller found himself “a bit bored” and looking for some more adventure.

Apparently forced to accept his fate, Harding got in a taxi and headed home at around 2.30 am.

SEE ALSO: Drunk French friends take llama on a late-night tram ride

It could have all ended as another damp squib of a Saturday night, if Harding hadn’t had his mobile phone switched on.

While in the taxi, he got an alert from an app that advertised cheap flights to Paris. Inspired, he ordered the cab driver to bring him to Manchester airport, told him he was a junior doctor on his way to a conference, and used his debit card to book a flight.

Doing his finest impression of a sober medic, Harding checked in for his 6am flight, tweeted a photo of the plane to his friends, and promptly fell asleep as soon as he got on board.

“The next thing I know I’m in a toilet in Paris, waking up to the sound of a Frenchman taking a crap in the cubicle next to me,” he told Key 103.

"I thought, 'Jesus Christ, what have I done?'"

With news of his drunken odyssey fast spreading throughout Oldham and beyond, and with a day to kill before his return flight on Sunday evening, the no doubt badly hungover young Englishman decided to at least see what the City of Light had to offer.

Story continues below…

And so it was that a “bog standard” Saturday evening in Lancashire, ended with Harding sharing selfies in front of the Arc de Triomphe and Eiffel Tower, to the eternal amusement of his friends back home.

The story went viral in the following days, but the fallout has been mixed at best for Harding.

While he can revel in the thousands of messages of awe from his legions of new Twitter followers, the sheet metal-worker claims to have been fired by his employer, allegedly for spending too much time on the phone, talking to journalists.

In response to one of the many tweets hailing him as "an absolute hero" and calling for him to be given a knighthood, Harding replied: "My mum disagrees. Thinks I'm a pillock."

Dan MacGuill (dan.macguill@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
How speaking French can really mess up your English
Photo: CollegeDegree360/Flickr

So you've mastered French, but now it's time to learn English all over again.

French claims that Jungle camp is empty are rubbished
Photo: AFP

Reports from the scene say scores of migrants are still in the area of the Jungle despite French authorities claiming "mission fulfilled."

Kidnapped Riviera millionaire left tied up in car boot in Nice
Photo: AFP

Head of luxury Cannes hotel has been found alive after being kidnapped in Nice on Monday.

Paris landlords still charging illegally high rents
Photo: Panoramas/Flickr

... and it's tenants in the smaller apartments that get hit the hardest. Could you be paying too much?

France takes baby steps to make life simpler
Photo: AFP

... including extending the ridiculously short time limit for registering a new baby.

IN PICTURES: Calais Jungle camp goes up in flames
All Photos: AFP

Migrants leave behind a scorched camp as they are moved to locations across France.

French expats in UK suffer Brexit abuse
French ambassador to the UK Sylvie Bermann with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. Photo: AFP

French nationals no longer feel at home in the UK, ambassador says. But Brits in France have been greeted with sympathy since the referendum.

Six to go on trial in France over topless Kate photos
Photo: AFP

The topless pics sparked fury among the royals.

France sees biggest drop in jobless rate for 20 years
Photo: AFP

Good news at last. But it's unlikely to keep President François Hollande in his job.

Calais migrants given mixed reception in French towns
Photo: AFP

Some in France have shown solidarity with their new guests, while others have made it clear they are not welcome.

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available