The city coat of arms and motto is proudly displayed on public buildings, lamp posts and bridges all over Paris. The coat of arms has been through many transformations over the last seven hundred years but the main elements of the wave tossed ship and background of fleur-de-lys have remained constant. The full coat of arms now shows the shield crowned by a crenelated city wall, representing the independence of the city, with branches of oak and olive either side. The medal of the Legion of Honour was added in 1919 and the medal of the Liberation in 1945. All that makes a lot of complicated detail so stone carvers, ceramists and metal workers have often used artistic license in their commissions. Here’s a selection.
The city motto – briefly world famous after the November 2015 terrorist attacks – translates as ‘tossed by the waves but not sunk’.
Click on any image to view the gallery.