least Thomas Morel is hoping they will. He's a 30-year-old
former financier who saw how much Canadians liked the sport, or
game, or pastime, or whatever axe-throwing might be.
"And I told myself, this is bound to work in Paris," Morel said.
So he opened Les Cognees - French for "axes" or "hatchets" -
where people can gather after work and pay to hurl heavy edged
weapons around. What could go wrong?
Quite a lot, obviously, but safeguards are in place: no alcohol
is served, the blades of the axes are blunted and security
measures are read out to participants when they arrive.
And they are arriving. Morel's venue is in the city's north-east
18th district, a traditionally working-class neighborhood
showing tentative signs of gentrification. On a typical day this
week, it had attracted about 30 men and women in their mid-20s
Some had come with friends and some, improbably, were there on
corporate outings. For example, 29-year-old Antoine Verdier, a
legal manager, and his boss, Camille Cocaud, had come on a
"It's a great way to unwind after work," Cocaud said.
"It's a real melting pot," Morel said. "You get the young
hipsters, you get companies on team-building, but you also get
punks, you get mothers with children, you get families."
Morel's timing is good. France is trying to get more people to
take part in sports, partly to promote the 2024 Olympic Games in
In fact, Morel can see a great marketing opportunity
approaching, although some might say it's a tad over-ambitious:
"We want to make axe-throwing an Olympic sport," he said.
(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta, Anais Lebranchu and Charles
Platiau, editing by Larry King)
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