Friday, 23 December 2011

Sab's Top Ten Paris Boat Symbols: No.8 ~ "Come In Number 22"

POSTED IN:  ~ PlacesTop 10 ~ Symbol Boat

Sab's Top Ten Paris Boat Symbols
No.8: "Come In Number 22" ~ 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.8 ~ "Come In Number 22"

Grabbed from a cracked up iPhone in the fading light of a drizzly day in the Marais, the quality of these images isn't top, but you get the idea. The Paris logo is everywhere.

Here it's been incorporated into a house number, and beautifully done too. I've asked myself how you could get one of these things, it's so attractive and rare - the only one I've seen - but I haven't found out yet.

Maybe it's the hotel itself - well, it must be - which had it done to draw attention to itself, and it worked for me, not that I ended up staying in the hotel or anything.

It's a great extension of the classic blue Paris house number plaque, to which I'm rather partial as you might know.

What's more and more intriguing, as I progress through this series, is just how many different interpretations of the humble little Paris boat there actually are. I wonder if there are official guidelines or restrictions on just how it can be represented. I would think there must be, otherwise I can imagine all manner of irreverential versions cropping up all over the place, with busty figureheads and other perversions.

Not that busts would cause your average Parisian much to bat their eye lashes at, the city literally heaving with thousands of the things.

And here's a call out to you guys - if you know of any really interesting and unusual Paris boat sysbols then let me know, and I'll include them here.

Not that I'm totally desperate yet for entries to get up to 10 members of this Top 10. I reckon I've got about six or seven really unusual or just spectactular versions, but I haven't been looking out for them for very long so I'm sure there are some amazing ones out there I really need to know about - thanks!

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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