Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Sab's Top Ten Paris Boat Symbols: No.6 ~ "We Are Sailing"

POSTED IN:  ~ PlacesTop 10 ~ Symbol Boat

Sab's Top Ten Paris Boat Symbols
No.6: "We Are Sailing" ~ Introduction 
by Sab Will,  wannabe offbeat Paris street guru

The symbol of Paris is a boat. Strange, you might think, unless you think about it a little more.

Paris is a river-based city. That stretch of water has both brought invaders and protected it down the ages. The Paris area, taken as a whole, is purported to be Europe's busiest port.

The river Seine is synonymous with the city and the French capital would be unthinkably lessened without it.

The motto of Paris is 'Fluctuat nec mergitur', which means something along the lines of 'tossed by the waves but does not sink'. Which is metaphorically true enough. Paris has been invaded or under siege or simply revolutionised countless times, and yet has never suffered the whole scale destruction many other cities have.

The symbol of Paris is a boat, often depicted as being rocked on a restless sea. They might not be immediately obvious, but as soon as you become aware of the idea, as often happens, they suddenly start cropping up all over the place. This Paris Top 10 is devoted to the little, and sometimes not so little boats of Paris, in all their incarnations. As ever, if you find a wonderful one you haven't seen here, do tell me and I'll add it in.

Sab's Top Ten Paris Boat Symbols
No.6 ~ "We Are Sailing"

Schools and swimming pools in and around the French capital seem to share the same penchant for nautical architecture and symbolism, including quite a few eye-catching Paris boat symbols.

This one, strolled past quite by chance, I really love. It's colourful, cheery and with a few simple lines both reproduces the city logo perfectly and gives you a real sense of a life on the ocean wave. Did there used to be oceans over Paris? I'll have to check.

You might have noticed a strange pattern on the wall which is not an integral part of it.

What I think has happened is that the sun was actually above and behind this wall, and the shadow and light patterns aren't shadows at all but the reflection of the sun in the windows of the building which would be behind me as I took this shot.

It's funny, but I didn't even notice this as I took the shot, but it's come out quite clearly here.

This 'noticing after the fact' happens quite often in street photography, but to be honest these are fairly straightforward record shots of this marvellous Paris boat symbol which makes a very worthy appearance in my Top 10.

Do you think that Rod Stewart's 'Sailing' is an obligatory part of the maternelle and élémentaire school curriculum, and if it isn't shouldn't it be? I think it should.

Discover all my Paris boat symbols... 

* Sab Will runs Photo and Curios Tours in Paris, and also manages a variety of Paris and photography-themed sites and blogs. He writes an illustrated Paris Chronicle every day, runs a Meetup group for Paris lovers, interviews Paris personalities and reviews Paris books (on this blog), and even contributes to the city's street art (shh), so feel free to browse some of the links below and in the right-hand column to find out more about what he gets up to out there...

© 2011 Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free - Suggestions, questions, requests and offers always welcome!

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