Lonely Planet Writer

The warm and cosy reason an army of teddy bears has taken over one Paris neighbourhood

In one district of Paris, locals are encountering a very cute and cuddly surprise as 50 giant teddy bears have popped up all around the Gobelins neighbourhood in the 13th arrondissement.

The bears have fully embraced Parisian cafe culture. Photo by Les nounours des gobelins Facebook

Described as an “army of teddy bears”, they are being spotted at metro stations, at the hairdressers, gathering on cafe terraces, at the chemist and even inside cars. The neighbourhood has been abuzz with who could be behind the cheerful prank and it’s emerged that a local bookseller called Philippe is the man responsible for the adorable visitors.

They can be found navigating the neighbourhood. Photo by Les nounours des gobelins Facebook Image by https://www.facebook.com/nounours.gobelins.paris

Speaking to the press, his neighbours believe he did it to bring the area together as he lends the bears out to local people who want to put them in various places around the area. At 1.3 metres-tall, they’re certainly making an impression and a Facebook page entitled Les nounours des gobelins (the teddy bears of Gobelins) have popped up to document their adventures.

Relaxing on public benches. Photo by Les nounours des gobelins Facebook

They often pop up on their own but occasionally they make a grand appearance with dozens of them showing up together. They’ve become so popular they’ve even grabbed the attention of Paris’ mayor, Anne Hidalgo, who tweeted a bravo to the creator.

They’re doing their part to boost the local economy. Photo by Les nounours des gobelins Facebook

As for Philippe, he told Le Parisien he was seeing the benefit from the furry additions, “I’ve been working here for 25 years. There were people I had never spoken to. Now they call me Philippe”, he said. He also promised there would be plenty of time to see the bears as they’d be staying at least until the end of the festive period at the start of January. Let’s hope someone decides to dress them up with hats and scarves soon.

They’re making friends everywhere they go. Photo by Les nounours des gobelins Facebook