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Buddy Bears rule Champ de Mars

Mini United Nations under the Eiffel Tower as giant friendship mascots go on display for a month

A MINI United Nations has taken over the Champ de Mars under the Eiffel Tower as the friendship mascots United Buddy Bears go on display for the next month.

The bears - 140 fibreglass sculptures, two-metres high and painted in the colours of different countries - are to mark 25 years of the twinning of Paris and Berlin, the bears' home. They also celebrate 50 years of the Elysée Treaty signed by Charles de Gaulle and Konrad Adenauer to seal the reconciliation between France and Germany.

Standing hand in hand, they represent all the countries recognised by the United Nations and since first going on display in Berlin in 2002 have been seen in 25 countries.

Created 10 years ago by Eva and Klaus Herlitz, their motto is: "We have to get to know each other better ... ... it makes us understand one another better, trust each other more, and live together more peacefully."

Individually painted in national colours and costume by artists from all over they world, they make up a vast artwork that stuns parents and delights children. Donations and auctions of bears have helped raise nearly €2million for Unicef and other world children's charities.

German ambassador Dr Susanne Wasum-Rainer will open the exhibition this morning and it runs until November 18.
Photo: Mairie de Paris/Sophie Robichon

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