Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Paris by the Sea

Ocean scenes and symbols are not what one typically associates with the city of Paris, but if you can focus your eyes beyond the glitz and glamour, you’ll find the sea all around you.   A river runs through it, and the official seal of this important river trading post features a sailing barque with the motto “Fluctuat Nec Mergitur” or Tossed by the Waves but Never Sunk.  You will find this seal on official government buildings, monuments, museums, metro stations, street drain covers, libraries, swimming pools...in fact, once you start looking for it, you’ll see it everywhere you turn.  After the terrorist attacks in 2015, the seal and motto showed up in graffiti as a mark of the city’s resilience.

Graffiti in Paris after the November 2015 terrorist attacks.  Photo from wikipedia.
Lurking among the ever-present sailboat emblems are other sea creatures, used to decorate bridges, buildings, and lamp posts. Paris even boasts a (very expensive) port for motor boats or de-masted sail boats at the Port de l’Arsenal near the Bastille.  

Along with Paris' "permanent exhibits" of ocean culture, the Seine often plays host to temporary expositions worthy of any sea port. Currently docked along the river is the 3-masted sailing goelette La Boudeuse, which is the only vessel of its kind still capable of long expeditions on all oceans.  La Boudeuse is flanked by a life-sized blue whale as part of an educational exhibit along the banks of the Seine.

Paris even boasts a (very expensive) port for motor boats or de-masted sail boats at the Port de l’Arsenal near the Bastille.  

I wonder how many tourists notice the sea around them in Paris?  Oh, okay… I couldn’t write a post about Paris without at least one photo of the Eiffel Tower.  Nice lighthouse, eh?


Astrolabe Sailing said...

Fantastic! We want to cruise through the French Canals, and would love to go in to Paris. That would be amazing.

We 'met' another SO379 over the holidays. Her name is Roberta. I will give the owner - Peter the link to your blog.

Sailing Mareda said...

I've cooled on the idea of cruising the canals after our experience in the Gironde river going to Bordeaux, but we still have 4-5 years to think about it. Thanks for linking us up with Roberta ! It's always nice to link up with other SO379 owners. And congrats on finishing a very rough few days ! You guys are my heros ! (as I sit swilling wine in a Paris bar...).

LittleCunningPlan.com said...

Such beauty. Someday I will get to Paris and we, too, would love to do the canals. So many choices of places to take a boat! Also, their graffiti is much, much prettier than what we have around here.

Sailing Mareda said...

We were so privileged to live in this beautiful city for 12 years (35 for Patrick). It's a city where you can spend your whole life and still never see all the beauty in the different neighborhoods. Just to keep it real, there are lots of not-so-beautiful areas and standard-issue graffiti...

Yia Yia Thompson said...

As usual, great pictures. I love to see these come up on my computer - makes some people wonder what we've been doing . . . . and if I've had enough wine, I too can wonder.