Monday, 16 July 2012

Sab's Top Ten Paris Boat Symbols: No.11~ "Flying High"

POSTED IN:  ~ PlacesTop 10 ~ Symbol Boat

Sab's Top Ten Paris Boat Symbols
No.11: "Flying High" ~ 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.11 ~ "Flying High"

Unfortunately, for every Top 10 there's almost always an unhappy No.11, and sometimes Nos.12, 13, 14, 15... and that's certainly the case with the legendary Paris boat symbol.

They abound, and there was no way I was going to stop at 10, despite the name of the series.

The Top 10 will still be there, but let's extend it to include some more of the wonderful apparitions of this classic and omnipresent Paris logo.

Here's a case in point: swivelling proudly on top of the Palais de Justice on the Ile de la Cité we don't find a boring old cockerel or some banal arrow-shaped piece of metal rotating in the breeze. Oh no. Here we have... and you wouldn't have guessed this, now would you... the Paris boat! Again!! It's everywhere, I tell you!!!

Beautifully cast, this has a particularly attractive curly hull and sail, along with portholes and a set of three oars curiously jutting out from the vessel's underbelly.

The only thing it's lacking is a flag, unless that's what's hanging rather unconventionally off the right-hand side of the sail as we look  at it, and it might well be.

It's very appropriate as a weather vane as it is indeed the wind on the sail which gives the boat its direction although this one isn't going very far of course.

The Palais de Justice has been very rich for my Paris Top 10s, offering up as it has in a quadruple whammy worthy members of my sundials, silly statues, signs of war as well as my Paris boats series. It was a complete surprise to see the boat up there - the highest one in the city perhaps - and just the way it should be.

Which just goes to prove once more my advocation to always look up in Paris. When you're not looking down for interesting drain covers and avoiding doggy doos, that is.

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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