The idea of Neighbours' Day was born in 1990, when Atanase Périfan and a group of friends created the association "Paris d'Amis" in the 17th district of Paris to enforce the links of proximity and to mobilise people in order to act against isolation.
A number of "Paris d'Amis" ("challenges for friends") were launched and successfully achieved, including sponsorships for neighbours in difficulty, family-style Christmases for those with no family, an car for people with little mobility, job searches for people without work, and day nurseries at home.
In 1999, a new challenge was launched!
Atanase Périfan and the "Paris d'Amis" association launched the "Immeubles en fête - la fête des voisins" event in Paris' 17th district. It was an instant success: 800 apartment buildings participated, mobilising more than 10,000 residents! The following year, the operation took on a national dimension, mainly thanks to the support of the Association of the Mayors of France and the Union Social pour l'Habitat, with 500,000 people gathering for neighbours' celebrations.
In 2001, one million people took part, and this figure doubled the following year. In 2003, the operation took on a European dimension and rallied 3 million Europeans in France and Belgium, mainly in Brussels.
2004 marked a real success: 3,500,000 participants joined in the launch of "European Neighbours' Day" in Europe, and over 3,000,000 in France.
In 2005, the European Neighbours' Day has been a fantastic success in 450 cities in Europe. In 16 countries of which 13 in the European Union, European Neighbours' day brought 4.5 million people together and became the first meeting of European citizens.
In 2012, over 14 million people in about 1 400 towns hosted gatherings all over Europe and even further. Neighbours' Day has become a major event in more than 34 countries ! The continously growing number of participants is the proof that the concept of « better living together » has no frontier!