Colouring books designed specifically to help people relax. I actually noticed them at a Walmart in Gatineau this past weekend. They were not even that expensive - well under $10.

Hundreds of thousands of stressed-out people across France have recently taken to an unlikely means of relaxation: coloring books for adults. The books first came into vogue in 2012, when the publisher Hachette released Art-Thérapie: 100 Coloriages Anti-Stress, a collection of mandala-like designs that promised adults “relaxation support.” It was such a success that Hachette launched a series, which has since sold nearly 2 million copies.

Offerings from other publishers include Jardin Secret, a collection of intricate floral patterns, and Inspiration Bollywood, a book of paisleys. Yves Saint Laurent has released a coloring book, as has Hermès, which for $160 offers 12 pages of designs, including a fox dressed as a courtier and a fez-adorned fish sporting traditional Turkish garb.

Many coloring converts have hailed the books as a way to take their minds off workaday concerns. One run-down student blogged last September that she’d turned to coloring for relief from tension headaches and eczema. Another woman told a reporter that coloring allowed her to mentally escape “the hubbub of my open-plan office”—it had even replaced her smoking breaks, she added.