The Incroyable Pique-nique and the Méridienne Verte

  • Paul Murdin

Places can be admired for what they are but they can also be admired for what they mean. The White Cliffs of Dover on the north shore of the English Channel between Britain and France are a beautiful seascape, the white, massive, motionless, white chalk cliffs contrasting with the active gray-blue sea. The Cliffs are also a symbol of the island independence of Britain, the bulwark shore that historically kept out potential invaders. For Britons returning via ferries and liners from overseas, the White Cliffs may be the first sight of home after a long absence, providing a warm welcome home. Americans may react similarly to the New York skyline and the Statue of Liberty, South Africans to Table Mountain, and Australians to the Sydney Harbor and its Bridge.

It is not often that people react to an abstraction of a place. The Paris Meridian is the north-south line running through Paris. It is entirely theoretical and there is no one landscape of beauty to react to. Rather, it cuts through...


Seventeenth Century French People Sailing Instruction Natural Clock Sydney Harbor 
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© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2009

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  • Paul Murdin

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