Thousands of giant cuddly teddy bears have been spotted in southern Paris after a bookshop owner says his stuffed animal wanted its own toy companion – and then the situation escalated.
Philippe, a man in his fifties who wants to be known only by his first name and the title Father of the Teddies, is the man responsible for an inundation of cuddly bears in the 13th arrondissement, or district, of Paris, France.
Visitors to avenue des Gobelines were left perplexed when the large bears, which are sold by various online retailers for around £100, started appearing in bookshops, cafés and street corners.
Philippe, a man in his fifties who wants to be known only by his first name and the title Father of the Teddies, is the man responsible for an inundation of cuddly bears (pictured) in Paris
Cuddly bears can be rented for free for a period of up to 48 hours. Pictured, a group of longboarders with their giant toys in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
A bride and groom pose in their wedding dress and suit in front of a car filled with the bears, as more pose on top of the vehicle. They hold another of the toys between them as they grin
The cuddly toys have since been seen on the Friends sofa in New York, US.
Speaking to Messy Nessy Chic, a Paris-based blogger, Philippe said: ‘We’ve seen them on the beach, in the mountains, you name it. Of course, everyone wants to know why?’
The bears can currently be rented for 48-hour periods free of charge and have more than 50,000 followers across various social media platforms.
The phenomenon started when Philippe’s toy gorilla, which he calls his doudou – the French for binky or a childhood toy that offers comfort – ‘told him’ it wanted its own doudou.
‘I’m over fifty-years old,’ said the Paris-native. ‘I’ve travelled the world. But always with my gorilla.
‘He knows my pains and joys, and one day he said “you know, I am your doudou for that reason Philippe, but I don’t have my own doudou”.’
A beige cuddly bear sits on a chair behind a stall selling grapes and small pumpkins in the city
Joyride: Two bears sit on a moped as part of the teddy invasion in the 13th arrondissement
A bear peaks out from behind runner beans, courgette’s and Brussels sprouts at a grocers
The phenomenon started when Philippe’s toy gorilla, which he calls his doudou – the French for binky or a childhood toy that offers comfort – ‘told him’ it wanted its own doudou
This bear has a ‘holiday’ t-shirt on as it poses in front of historical ruins
‘Of course; there’s a teddy at the boulangerie, who eats a lot of cakes,’ Philippe adds
Philippe bought his toy gorilla a larger gorilla and named it Super Gorille.
But then his doudou’s toy wanted a toy and Philippe went out to find him one.
‘Me, my gorilla and his doudou, who got on well with the teddy – and the teddy had two others next to him, and we couldn’t bear to separate them [no pun intended]. So we all drove home together.’
‘I put one in the window of my bookshop in the les Gobelins area,’ he says, ‘And began handing them out to other shop owners.’
This bear has been placed on top of a tank as soldiers grin from their seats inside
Bears line the top of a historical carriage as two others perch on top of model horses
A bear sits in the waiting area as another hangs on to a luggage cart at the Villa Beaumarchais
Hanging out in the sun. This bear sits underneath a sign for the Route Nationale 7
This bear sits at a crossing while a train makes its way through. Crowds wait at the other side
Enjoying a cup of tea with some biscuits and cake this bear holds a bag that says ‘le petion’
Outside the National Assembly – the lower house of the bicameral Parliament of France
Watching a toy train as it makes its way around a track this bear leans on the wooden fence
A pharmacist now has a teddy to distribute vaccines while another bear sits inside a wine shop.
‘Of course; there’s a teddy at the boulangerie, who eats a lot of cakes,’ Philippe added.
When the Mayor of the 13th arrondissement, Jérôme Coumet, heard about the bears he sent someone to investigate.
Philippe claims the bears are ‘all cousins’ and may have arrived from Central Europe. ‘A specialist told us some come from Nepal, according to their paw prints,’ he added.
The MBC train carries travellers between the towns of Bière, Apples and Morges in Switzerland
Standing in front of an image of the British Queen the bear is placed by a red phonebox
On a trip to Museum Dunkerque 1940 Operation Dynamo in Dunkirk, France