Paris, Fluctuat nec mergitur

Quand Paris s’enrhume, l’Europe prend froid

(“When Paris sneezes, Europe catches a cold“, Prince Klemens von Metternich)

The coat of arms of Paris

The coat of arms of Paris

Paris is hit for a second time in 2015, and this time the victims are way more numerous than the first time. After the tragic events related to Charlie Hebdo, now terrorism is hitting in the heart of the capital, and this time the victims can be everyone: it is again the French joie de vivre, way of life and values which are targetted.

The Paris’ coat of arms is easily recognisable and the city is likened to a ship, as Paris was born on the Ile de la Cité (which looks like a ship). Paris’ motto reads FLVCTVAT NEC MERGITVR, Fluctuat nec mergitur, which can translate into “[She is] fluctuated but does not sink”. Ile de la Cité is still the geographical centre of Paris, the seat of her Prefecture, of her Cathedral and of the “point zero” of all France. In the time of Saint Genevieve (Late Fifth century AD), patron saint of Paris, the city was almost stormed by the Huns then suffered many woes during the fall of the Western Roman Empire: many problems and woes. But the city could recover and keep safe in that time of troubles, then from every troubled time in her history.

The idea of the motto emerges: Paris, represented by its heart, Ile de la Cité can be tossed by the waves of the Seine, yet it will not sink and will always surpass the diffuclties, represented by these waves. Since 1853, during the time of Baron Haussmann, Prefect of the Seine and Paris’ most famous city planner, the motto is official. The unsinkable ship, symbole of the geographical centre-head and centre-heart of Paris, is a metonym for the city and for France.

The terrorists have shaken us, yes, but they will never overcome us, we are Paris, we are unsinkable and we will always be victorious and overcome troubles and woes.

Vive Paris et Vive la France!


Cite this blog post
Jack Keilo ( Jacques Keilo ) (2015, November 15). Paris, Fluctuat nec mergitur. Centrici. Retrieved June 19, 2024, from

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