John Lennon and Yoko Ono fly to Paris

12.00pm, Sunday 16 March 1969 (45 years ago)

Hoping to get married in France, John Lennon and Yoko Ono flew to Paris on this day.

The couple had decided to marry on 14 March 1969, two days after the wedding of Paul McCartney to Linda Eastman; whether it was in response to this event on some level is open to conjecture.

On McCartney’s wedding day Lennon and Ono were travelling to Poole in Dorset, where he introduced her to his Aunt Mimi. During the journey he asked his chauffeur Les Anthony to go to Southampton to enquire about the possibility of the wedding being held at sea, on the cross-channel ferry to France.

We wanted to get married on a cross-channel ferry. That was the romantic part: when we went to Southampton and then we couldn’t get on because she wasn’t English and she couldn’t get the day visa to go across. And they said, ‘Anyway, you can’t get married. The Captain’s not allowed to do it any more.’
John Lennon, 1980
Anthology

Lennon and Ono chose instead to fly to Paris. They chartered a private aeroplane to the French capital, and upon arriving checked into the Plaza Athénée.

There, Apple employee Peter Brown told them they would be unable to marry as they had not lived in France for enough time. Instead, they were advised that they could hold their wedding in Gibraltar, as it was a British protectorate. The events were later recounted in Lennon’s The Ballad Of John And Yoko, on 14 April 1969.

Standing in the dock at Southampton
Trying to get to Holland or France
The man in the mac said, you’ve got to turn back
You know they didn’t even give us a chance
The Ballad Of John And Yoko

Also on this day, Paul and Linda McCartney, and her daughter Heather, flew to New York to spend three weeks with Linda’s family.

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