Votive models at Notre Dame de la Garde

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There is a long tradition of people surviving peril on the sea giving thanks to the not-goddess Mary in the cathedral of Notre Dame de la Garde in Marseille. The largest number of physical memorials are plaques, as seen on the wall behind, but there are also many models of boats and ships suspended in the space within the cathedral, which emphasises the place of the sea in the history and life of Marseille and the danger which is always attendant upon setting out upon it. The tradition naturally transferred to air travel in the last century, as models of aircraft are also found.

Not that people are superstitious or making offerings in some sort of pagan way, you understand, it’s just that you wouldn’t want not to, would you? Gods and goddesses can be remarkably fickle and might just forget to be looking your way when next you need them.

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