This is one of the stands that rents out toy boats in the Jardin de Luxembourg. If you pass by on a Wednesday, you're likely to see the young French children, accompanied by their nounous, pushing around these old-fashioned wooden sailboats in the large pond in the park. And you might even be lucky enough to witness elementary-school style drama: there's always "that" kid, with a remote-control boat, terrorizing the rest (and the ducks, too!).
In my mind, these toy boats have an iconic role in French childhood; of course, I also make the association with one of my favorite brands, Petit Bateau, maker of oh-so-soft cotton goods for babies, children, and adult alike.
And just to up the melancholy on this gray day, how about the Raphael song "les petits bateaux"?