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Brit’s ‘quiet pint’ ends 800km away in Paris

When Luke Harding from Manchester went for a quiet pint with his mate, he only intended to go for "one drink", but he somehow woke up 800 km away in a toilet in Paris, after an epic night out that has taken the web by storm.

Brit's 'quiet pint' ends 800km away in Paris
“The next thing I know I’m in a toilet in Paris...and I thought 'Jesus Christ, what have I done?'" Photo: @Oliver_Kerr / Twitter/ Screengrab

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.

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."

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OFFBEAT

‘Merkel and Hollande’ in cosy breakfast summit

Is this the newest tactic in “hands-on” international relations? Or did someone just become the world’s wealthiest paparazzo? Find out what’s behind this image, which appears to show a cosy breakfast in bed between the leaders of France and Germany.

'Merkel and Hollande' in cosy breakfast summit
Is this the newest tactic in “hands-on” international relations? Or did someone just become the world’s wealthiest paparazzo? Photo: Screengrab/Twitter/ @lemonde_M

We’ve heard of a “thaw in relations”, but this might be taking things a little too far.

This image, supposedly showing French head of state François Hollande treating his German counterpart Angela Merkel to the finest of French cuisine, has taken the French press by storm on Thursday.

Is this the new face of Franco-German diplomacy? Is François trying to convince Angela of the merits of the French “cultural exception”?

Sadly not. As you may have guessed by now, this image is not the result of a member of the paparazzi achieving the Holy Grail of candid snaps in some Paris or Berlin hotel, but a pair of lookalikes posing for the cover of this week’s Le Monde magazine.

It’s all part of a series of provocative photos by English artist and lookalike specialist Allison Jackson to promote a joint feature on trans-Rhine relations by French daily Le Monde and German newspaper Die Zeit.

Here’s the “breakfast summit” in all its glory, on the cover of Friday's “M” – the weekly magazine of Le Monde.

The headline is: “France-Germany. I love you (me neither)” a reference to the infamously saucy Serge Gainsbourg-Jane Birkin duet “Je t’aime (moi non plus).”

For its weekly magazine on Thursday, Die Zeit opted for a steamy mock-up of “Hollande” cradling “Merkel”, who holds a glass of champagne and strikes a coquettish pose in a luxurious fur coat.

The headline is: “How do you say in French – ‘It’s love’?”

This isn’t the first François Hollande lookalike to take France by storm, though.

Back in June, a Spanish priest by the name of Fr. Javier Alonso had the French gasping and laughing when his uncanny resemblance to the French president came to light.

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