Two Dublin students had a novel way of preparing for the start of their Leaving Cert, skipping school and heading to Paris.
Dylan Cantwell left a scribbled note to his parents before heading off with friend James Hendricken to the French capital for a day’s sightseeing, where they took in the l’Arc de Triomph, the Louvre, the Mona Lisa and the Eiffel Tower.
It was a stunt which drew comparisons with John Hughes’ hit 1986 film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, in which Matthew Broderick, who played the title character and two friends skipped school to spend the day in Chicago.
“(James and I) decided with just six hours’ notice to mitch off a day of school – we’re two lads aged 18 and 17 from Portmarnock and met up at 4.30am on Thursday morning to get a taxi to the airport,” Dylan told JOE.
“We got a flight to Beauvais Airport at 6.25am and from Beauvais we had a rotten hour and a half bus journey into Paris.
“While on this bus journey we both got our dreaded phone calls from home when our parents realised we’d ran off to Paris for the day without telling them, but we reassured them we were safe and okay.
“We hiked through the streets of Paris for 45 minutes, struggling to find our apartment with the help of Google Maps and when we finally did it was like a prison cell without a working fridge.
“We took off and spent the day flying up and down Paris on the metro.
“We started off by going to the l’Arc de Triomph and spent 20 odd minutes walking around it on the streets, unsure how to get over it. After finally discovering there was an underground walkway we finally got there and got up to the top of it for free with our EU passports.
“After dragging ourselves up the winding stairs we finally got to the top and got a beautiful view of Paris.
“We then went on to the Louvre with no clue where to go, but we eventually found it was behind this big building that we ended up having to walk through (we got free into here too with our EU passports so we were laughing).
“We had no real interest in anything but to know what the Mona Lisa was like so we paced through the halls of all the uninteresting sculptures and after five minutes of walking we eventually made it to see the most overrated painting in the world in a disgustingly sweaty and humid room full of around a hundred tourists.
“We lost interest in it almost straight away so we left to make our way to what we were looking forward to seeing most, the Eiffel Tower. When we arrived outside it we were in stitches laughing, seeing the numerous groups of scammers all around the tower trying to rob money off people with these fixed games that they are acting amongst thereselves to make it look real.
“When we eventually made it to the Eiffel Tower, us being the typical tight teenagers, we decided to walk up it for a fiver rather than spending a tenner.
“After we left we ended off our day by going to one of the many overpriced pubs in Paris and had a few €8.50 pints while watching the United match. We woke up at 5:30am on Friday morning and struggled to find the meet-up spot but made it with five minutes before leaving time.
“We finally got our flight home with not even enough money in our pocket to get breakfast, so we hopped on the 102 and chucked a load of change into the machine. We got home to our mams delighted to see us and found out we were the talk of our school for the day.”