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The Teddy Bears of Paris... (Oui, it's a thing!)


image: Les Nounours des Gobelins / Instagram

We've briefly mentioned the Teddy Bears of Paris (Les Nounours des Gobelins) in our recent post about floral awnings and cafés, and while our beloved Paris is known loving beauty just for the sake of beauty, there is also an element of joy, just for the sake of sharing joy. Let's take a P'Niche peak to learn more about these puff tailed Parisians...


image: actualitte.com

Joy was the primary goal of Philippe Labourel (the owner of a bookshop in the Gobelins quartier of Paris, in the 13th arrondissement) upon introducing these furry friends to the streets of Paris in late 2018. His teddy bears (and only Monsieur Labourel knows the exact amount of bears on the loose) were originally displayed in his own shop and given to 6 neighboring shops (like a pharmacie, where the teddy offers social and medical advice) - just for fun. And he footed (well, pawed) the bill for the bears entirely of his own good will.


image: estrepublicain.fr

Very quickly, the bears had a positive impact on the Gobelins district. Parisians, once quick to pass each other in the street without so much as a nod, were now greeting each other with a smile and a bonjour.


Labourel himself was quoted, "I've been working here for 25 years. There were people I have never spoken to. Now, they call me Philippe." How wonderful!


image: enlargeyourparis.fr/

Ok, let's break down the teddy facts...


Each nounours, or teddy bear, is 4 feet (1.4 meters) tall and weighs in at a fuzz filled 11 pounds (4.9 kilograms).


There is one bear standing tall at near 8 feet, but P'Niche's eyes have yet to encounter it...


The bears love to have fun and enjoy the sights of Paris - hey, just like us P'Nichers!



image: inews.co.uk

The bears were soon seen around town, "riding on scooters," climbing métro signage, dining at cafés, even presiding over official matters at the local mayor's office...


Le Figaro newspaper was quoted as saying that the vast number and creativity of the bears in Paris "is giving holiday decorations a run for their money."


They've gotten so much great press, their Instagram and Facebook accounts boast hundreds of thousands of views and likes - it's not hard to imagine why!


Certainly, Monsieur Labourel did not imagine the wild popularity of the bears upon creation of this endeavor, and the bears were set to enter into "hibernation" in 2019.


Oh, the Teddy-manity of it all!


image: leprogres.fr

Fear not bear lovers, their send off was another moment of joy, a farewell dinner on New Year's Day. But not so quick...


Soon after, it was announced that the bears had awoken (and even had time to fall in love and get married in front of 2,800 guests!). More teddies appeared.


Huzzah!


image: insidr.co

And then - March 2020. (I know, I know)...


The world stopped. We were all forced indoors, into our own painful hibernation - away from each other, fearful, and more than a little bit bored.


Teddies to the rescue!


The bears came out in full fur force, filling empty bars, cafés, park benches, etc. with a message. "There is distance now, but we are here and take care of yourself until we meet again!" (Not a direct teddy quote)...


image: AP Photo

Can you imagine the comfort of going outside for your daily allotment of time and seeing one of these fluffs grinning back at you?


And of course, this joy meant that there was a larger calling for more bears. And so - more bears came out. And more, and more...


ALL the bears!


image: Les Nounours des Gobelins / Instagram

And you know what?


The world opened back up - travel began again in full force, and guess who hopped on a flight, ready to grab their passport and explore near and far?


You guessed it, clever P'Nicher - the Teddies!


From airplanes, to garden picnics, global monuments near and far, even the recent World Cup viewing matches, these peluches (stuffed animals) are living their best teddy lives.


And well deserved for the joy they give to so many people, local and tourist alike.


And yep, Teddy gets their own seat on flights!


image: leparisien.fr

And Nounours-mania shows no sign of slowing down. To ensure the safety of our plush pals, there is even an ad hoc group - Protection des Ours des Gobelins Organisée (POGO: Organised Protection of the Gobelins Bears).


Next stop, UNESCO Recognition? We sure hope so - beep beep, get on board!



image: france3-regions.francetvinfo.fr

Next time you are in Paris, we hope you can encounter a bear or two. We've had bear sighting luck at:


Les Nounours des Gobelins

25, av. des Gobelins, 75013


Le Choupinet

58, bd Saint-Michel, 75006


Le Voltigeur

45, rue des Francs Bourgeois, 75004



What do you think, P'Nichers - should Golden Dream Barbie (TM: Mattel) try to meet up with a Teddy Bear for a rendez-vous? What has been your own favorite teddy bear sighting in Paris? Let us know in the comments below et à bientôt!

image: B Kolinski
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Debra Borchert
Debra Borchert
Mar 16, 2023

Oh, this is unBEARably cute, but also inspiring. Merci for introducing the Gobelins Teddy Bears.

Debra

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chrissy
Mar 20, 2023
Replying to

I am so pleased you enjoyed it - this one was GREAT fun to research!! 🐻

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