Just to prove the Internet is in fact a collection of all things random, here is a brilliant site that catalogs a massive collection of French manhole covers.
I love how the designs vary so dramatically from the simple and modernist to the ornate and fanciful. Plus many of them feature town-marks and other metrobrands. Do the French pay more attention this sort of thing or am I just left without an American counterpart collection at the moment? I wonder if there is a strange subsect of design that deals with manholes and other urban hardware rather than the more visible and more celebrated coats of arms, for example.
What a great find. (not sure where I originally dug this up).
For more commentary on manholes, see also, Outsourcing NYC