falling from the presidential train

Paul Deschanel was the President of France for seven months in 1920. In the middle of his presidency a strange incident occurred.


A trackwalker on the Paris, Lyons and Mediterranean Railroad was trudging along a hundred miles south of Paris last night. It was a few minutes before midnight. The air was chill. The moon had gone down. Along the track toward him came a slightly built man wearing silk pyjamas.

silk pyjamas

“I am Deschanel, President of the Republic and I have just fallen off my train.”

The trackwalker thought the man was crazy, but he escorted him to Lorcy where  a message was sent to the next station at which the train would stop. When the members of the presidential entourage were informed, they assured the station master that there must be some mistake. They searched all compartments except the President’s as he had left word he was not to be disturbed before 7:00 am.


When at last his valet did enter the carriage to help the President dress it was noticed that he was indeed missing; the window was wide open with the curtain fluttering in the breeze…..

Previously his eccentric behaviour had also caused consternation when on one occasion after a delegation of schoolgirls had presented him with a bouquet, he tossed the flowers back at them one by one. Shortly after the incident with the train he walked out of a state meeting and straight into a lily pond, remaining there for several hours before being fished out by a gardener.

Read about this Bugatti fished out of Lake Maggiore here

Published in: on July 26, 2010 at 8:19 am  Comments (36)  
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36 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. My suspicions about the French have now been confirmed ….. tee hee *tosses flowers to Nursey*

    • What sort of flowers daddyp? I like gardenias

  2. Well, if one is going to fall from one’s train, one should, indeed, be wearing silk jimjams.

  3. Lago Maggiore is so pretty, no wonder it yields classy flotsam.

    • It’s also the place where methane was first discovered

  4. Clearly he opened the window and stuck his head out. Due to the enormous wind resistance created by his moustache, he was ripped bodily from the carriage!

    The King

    • Hmmmm…. have you ever grown a moustache Your Majesty? I notice you rock the three day growth to perfection…

  5. Good heavens. This man was as clueless and disorganized as our former president Dubya.

    What amazes me about this story is that he fell from the train and was still ambulatory.

    • Two things explain his strange behaviour: i) apparently he was already showing signs of senilia dementia, and ii) he was actually a Belgian (this being more significant).

      Now, what excuses does Dubya have?

      • Oooh I hope I don’t have any Belgian readers. Though I do have readers who like Belgian detectives.

  6. “…not to be disturbed before 7:00 am…” I suspect he was trying to make the train enter a tunnel where it wasn’t entirely welcome and got defenestrated for his efforts.

    • Why am I suddenly reminded of vagina dentata condoms?

  7. If a president can’t be functinal, at least he should be fun!

    • that’d be “functional”. not that i am before coffee…

  8. I like it! We need more politicians like that! I would actually look forward to the morning paper for once.

  9. Why was he only Pres for 7 months. Did he forget how to get to work?

  10. I’d rather be in a pond than in most meetings.

    • How about a meeting with me?

  11. At least there were interesting stories to write about him… (and they’d be true!)

  12. Now *that* is my idea of a President.

  13. Maybe Sarkozy will fall out of a plane.

  14. That reminds me of the man who claimed he once found Howard Hughes wandering lost in the Nevada desert, rescued him and escorted him back to Las Vegas. He later claimed to have been given Hughes’ will leaving him $150 million. Thirty years on he still appears to be fighting for his money.


    • Ah… that was where Hughes “revolted” his previous wills wasn’t it?

  15. There are days when I’ve felt like behaving that way myself, especially the flowers business.

    • Throw them my way. Unless they’re carnations. I don’t really like carnations all that much.

  16. At leasthe wasn’twearing some old shorts and a filthu dressing gown. As for the eccentricity it wouldn’t hurt to have a few leaders like that now. When they are standing in a lily pond they cant bugger up the country!

    My closest friend is related to French president Felic Faure who died of a rather drastic coitus interruptus!

  17. err I meant felix!

    • I read about his death when I was researching Deschanel. The French reaction was so much better than what poor old Clinton went through.

  18. 7 months he was president? It took them a while to find out he was barking…. but there again the ‘Gallic Shrug’ has ever been thus …. Comme ci, comme ça

    • They were waiting on him to die like Felix Faure.

  19. It’s frightening, but I can totally relate. My sleepwalking can be frightening. Poor guy.

  20. Daschanel is a hero of mine, always has been

  21. Hi! Kevin Rudd would no doubt sympathise with the President considering he was pushed off his train just recently.

  22. He sounds like Baby Bush but with less handlers.

  23. Love this guy. Love him!

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