After organising successful Free Hugs events in London and Lille, I’ve finally exported it to Paris after receiving demands and especially challenges to give hugs to Parisians who have the reputation to be colder than any other people in France!
Since I’ve started the event in London, I’ve made a goal to do Free Hugs in every city I travel to. I didn’t achieve that in some places I’ve been to so far like Warsaw but I’m doing my best! This time it is Paris. One month earlier, I publish on CouchSurfing an announce calling all people in Paris to help me make this happen. I had several contacts including a group on Facebook called “Free Hugs Paris” they organise the event very frequently and I was happy to be the one taking care of it this time!
I set the event for 2.30pm on Sunday 9th June in Trocadero Square just in front of one of the most famous landmarks in the world… Eiffel Tower!
2.30pm I had my sign between my hands up in the air, waiting for the crowd to show up meanwhile, people walking around thinking I was crazy… 2.34pm the first guest shows up. He is from India and saw the post on CouchSurfing and decided to join. Few minutes later, 3 more people joined by greeting us with warm hugs. At the end, we were around 12 people working hard to give the locals a hug. Surprisingly some were very friendly and accepted it without thinking too much about it… but others NO! You feel a deep feeling of negativity and coldness coming from this NO! But it doesn’t stop our group, we give hugs for longer till we get tired!
Some people tried the experience for the first time, like Veronique. She says: “This is the first time I give Free Hugs and I’ve worked till 5am to make my sign”. Her sign was very colourful and original. She was definitely seen as Miss Free Hugs with it!
Due to rain and cold weather, lot of people did not attend the event. It has also stopped me very quickly to keep giving hugs for longer. At 4.30pm, I left the group towards Champs-Elysées where I’ve had a lunch in a fast food just off a street leading to the symbolic Arc de Triomphe.