John and Cynthia Lennon holiday in Paris

12.00pm, Monday 16 September 1963 (50 years ago)

The Beatles began two-week holidays on this day, flying to a variety of destinations. John and Cynthia Lennon flew to Paris for a belated honeymoon, while their son Julian was looked after by John’s aunt Harrie in Liverpool.

The Lennons stayed in the George V hotel, where The Beatles would stay in January and February 1964. They spent three days exploring the city and enjoying their time together.

Although John was earning more than enough money to afford it, we both felt somehhow as though we shouldn’t be there – that we might be rumbled and thrown out. The opulence of Paris’s grandest hotel was such a world away from anything we’d known before that it was hard to believe it was now ours for the taking. Determined to make the most of our time, we saw as much of Paris as we could cram in, going up the Eiffel Tower, gazing at the Arc de Triomphe and exploring Montmartre. John, always generous and now reveling in having money, wanted to spoil me. He bought me armloads of presents, including a gorgeous gray coat, a pretty white beret and a bottle of Chanel No. 5.

A couple of days into our stay we came back to the hotel to find a message from Astrid. She was in Paris for a few days and had heard we were there. We called her and that evening met up with her and a girlfriend for what turned out to be a night of excess. The four of moved from one wine bar to the next, knocking back rough red wine in vast quantities. It was lovely to see her again. It had been almost a year since John was last in Hamburg and two and a half years since I’d seen her, so we had a lot to catch up on.

When dawn broke the four of us were so paralytic that we could barely walk. We stumbled back to Astrid’s lodgings, where we managed to down another bottle of wine before we collapsed in a heap on Astrid’s single bed. Unbelievably the four of us slept there, piled together like sardines, until morning when, with raging hangovers, John and I crawled back to our hotel.

Soon afterward we went back to Liverpool. I was longing to see Julian, but I was sad too: almost as soon as we landed John would be heading off again.

Cynthia Lennon
John

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