Friday, 23 December 2011

Sab's Top Ten Paris Boat Symbols: No.7 ~ "Float My Boat"

POSTED IN:  ~ PlacesTop 10 ~ Symbol Boat

Sab's Top Ten Paris Boat Symbols
No.7: "Float My Boat" ~ 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.7 ~ "Float My Boat"

Just like when you're thinking of buying a new car and you suddenly start seeing it everywhere, as soon as you tune in to the little Paris boat, there it is, and there, and there, and THERE!

Honestly, I don't want to spoil the suspense of my own series, but in one short walk down a street I saw this symbol on and advertising panel (shown here), a parking meter, a bike hire stand, a library, one of those big rotating Morris columns (more ads) and a bunch of benches.

Have a look around you and see for yourself!

The one you see here is one of the most distinct, as in 'crispest', in that it's in fairly high bas relief, if you can have such a thing, and its contours haven't been masked and softened by countless layers of paint over the years like some of them.

It's not the most spectactular, having something of an 'industrialised' (i.e. mass-marketed) look about it for obvious reasons: it was mass-marketed, but but it's rather evocative nonetheless, and strangely anomalous for a town so far from the sea.

I've sexed up this posting using an obvious device, which I hope you'll forgive me for. The lady above was either sinking or bobbing up (I can't remember which) on the rotating advertising panel of which this symbol is part, which has given her a pleasingly dishevelled look.

I fear that if I include the boat logos from the Vélib stands or the parking meters you'll start throwing virtual  tomatoes at me, so unglamorous will they appear after this rather sultry image but we'll see.

In any case, I don't want the adverts to completely take over from the purpose of this blog post, and please note that there are other brands of fake dead reptile bags available.

Me and advertising - hah! That's a whole other story. But do I spy another potential Paris Top Ten lurking in the background: Sab's Top Ten Silly Surprising Paris Sculptures? I think I do, I think I do...

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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