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Colouring-in - the new French craze

More than 350,000 Art Therapie books sold as adults catch on to colouring's stress-busting properties

COLOURING-IN has long been a favourite past-time for children, but it is rapidly turning into a stress-busting phenomenon for adults.

Bookshops in France have sold more than 350,000 copies of Hachette’s Art Therapie - 100 Coloriages Anti-Stress series, which features intricate pictures of medieval art, psychedelic patterns and “extraordinary gardens”.

Five other books have appeared in Livre Hebdo’s monthly bestseller lists this year alone.

It has even been reported that colouring books are outselling cookery books.

The internet, too, is awash with tens of thousands people sharing their work, and searching out more images to colour in.

A World Health Organisation study suggests that French residents are among the most depressed populations in the world, with 21% of the people experiencing extended periods of depression during their lifetime.

Colouring is a relaxing activity that is easily available to everyone, Carole Serrat, a health expert with the magazine Top Sante said. “It is an excellent way to access an artistic activity and regain self-confidence.”

Laurent Fort, author of My Experience as an Art Therapist, said: “Colour provides an area of freedom. It allows you to reconnect with your childhood.

“It is an activity in which our mind wanders, it helps us to let go of our daily worries and to step back.”

Images in colouring books for adults are more complex than those in children’s books. They feature images of famous landmarks in Paris, for example - but among the most popular are mandalas, patterns that have their origins as Hindu and Buddhist symbols.

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