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What is the meaning of Fluctuat Nec Mergitur?

You may have seen it in the press, on cartoons or even dotted around the street art of the city of lights itself. But what exactly is the meaning of Fluctuat nec Mergitur and where exactly did the motto come from?

Well, the phrase is actually latin and it literally translates to ‘she is tossed but not sunk’- the word ‘she’ referring to the beautiful city of lights itself. The earliest recorded use of this motto by the city of Paris was in 1358 when it is believed to have been used by a very powerful organisation known as the Guild of Boatsmen along the river Seine.

At this time, boat was the most effective mode of transport and access to the open sea was mandatory for trade, travel and international relations.

The logo was not made official until Haussmann in the mid 1800s when it began being used more frequently and is now in use on government buildings, town halls and monuments around the city. It is also on the Parisian coat of arms.

Comprising of a boat out on the open sea, underlined by the French motto, the logo also incorporates the iconic French colours of red white and blue.

Fluctuat Nec Mergitur – Tossed But Not Sunk

meaning of fluctuat nec mergitur

About Author

Sophie Nadeau loves dogs, books, Paris, pizza, and history, though not necessarily in that order. A fan of all things France related, she runs when she's not chasing after the next sunset shot or consuming her weight in sweet food. Currently based in Paris after studies in London, she's spent most of her life living in the beautiful Devonian countryside in South West England!

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