Cruise Ship History: GLORIA SWANSON aboard the SS PARIS in 1924 — “the most luxurious liner in the world!”

3205616.jpg

1925: American actress Gloria Swanson (1899 – 1983) and her husband, Marquis Henri de la Falaise on board the SS Paris.


A great video on the SS PARIS from Joanna Coleman’s youTUBE website. Our thanks to her and please visit by clicking here.

cce00001.jpg

The SS Paris leaving New York.

The SS Paris was a French ocean liner built in Saint-Nazaire, France for the Compagnie Générale Transatlantique. The French Line’s Paris was built by Chantiers de l’Atlantique of St. Nazaire. Although the Paris was laid down in 1913, her launching was delayed until 1916 and she was not completed until 1921, due to World War I. When the Paris finally completed, she was the largest liner under the French flag, at 34,569 tons.

407px-ss_paris_stairs.jpgsalle_paris.jpg

The grand stairway/entrance and the dining salon of the SS Paris.

The Paris’s interior reflected the transitional period of the early twenties, between the earlier preferred Jacobean, Tudor, Baroque, and Palladian themes in favor of the sleekness and simplicity of her Art Deco arrangements. The Paris had something of a magic touch, with every possible kind of interior. Passengers could choose to travel in the standard conservative palace-like cabins, but the ship also featured Art Nouveau and hints of the Art Deco that the Ile de France would boast six years later.

g81378s-s-paris-posters.jpg

Poster advertising the SS Paris services from New York to Europe.

The luxury of the Paris was something no other liner could claim to have. For starters, most first class staterooms had square windows rather than the usual round portholes. In a first-class cabin you were able to have a private telephone, which was extremely rare on board a ship. A valet on the Paris could be easy to summon in his adjacent room, rather than in a cabin in the second class, uncomfortably far away.

Dining on the Paris was excellent, her service was superb, and the living spaces were divinely comfortable and luxurious. French Line ships had enormous appeal in the twenties-”Floating bits of France itself”, as one brochure aptly stated. Service and accommodation were fine but the cuisine was its most outstanding feature, it is said that more sea gulls followed the Paris more than any other ship in hopes of grabbing scraps of the haute cuisine that were dumped overboard. The French Line’s success took off when a third ship joined the relay: the Ile de France.

With the onset of the Great Depression, even these stylish French beauties were sailing only a third full. The French Line avoided the possibility of “laying-up” by pressing the ship into cruise work. To some, it seemed scandalous to have such ships lazily roaming the Mediterranean or Scandinavia with a mere 300 passengers on board. On 18 April 1939 the Paris caught fire while docked in Le Havre and temporarily blocked the new superliner Normandie from exiting dry dock. She capsized and sank in her berth where she remained until after World War II, almost a decade later.

cce00000.jpg

The SS Liberte steams past the capsized SS Paris.

A year after the war had ended, the 50,000-ton German liner Europa was handed over to the French Line as compensation for the Normandie and renamed Liberté. While the Liberté was being refitted in Le Havre, a December gale tore the ship from her moorings and threw her into the half-submerged wreck of the Paris. She settled quickly, but fortunately in an upright position. Six months later she was refloated and by spring 1947 she was in St. Nazaire for her final rebuilding.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

About Michael L. Grace

MICHAEL L. GRACE is part of the award winning team that created the internationally performed award winning musical SNOOPY, based on PEANUTS by Charles M. Schultz. SNOOPY continues to be one of the most produced shows (amateur & stock) in America/Worldwide and has had long running productions in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and in London's West End. There are over 100 individual productions every year. He has written movies for TV, including the award-winning thriller LADY KILLER, various pilots and developed screenplays for Kevin Costner and John Travolta. Besides co-writing and co-producing SNOOPY, he wrote and produced the one-man play KENNEDY. He produced P.S. YOUR CAT IS DEAD by pulitzer prize winning author James Kirkwood. He wrote the stage thriller FINAL CUT which had productions in the UK, South Africa and Australia. His one-man play, KENNEDY - THE MAN BEHIND THE MYTH, was developed for HBO and has starred Andrew Stevens, Gregory Harrison and Joseph Bottoms. He has recently been involved in European productions with CLT-UFA, Europe's leading commercial television and radio broadcaster. He wrote MOWs THE DOLL COLLECTION, THE BOTTOM LINE and LAST WITNESS for German television. While in college and graduate school he worked as a foreign correspondent for COMBAT, the famous leftwing Paris daily, and as a travel writer. He visited more than 50 countries. He struggled as an actor, then joined the enemy and entered the training program at William Morris. He became a publicist and worked for Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis Presley's manager, at Paramount and MGM. He followed with a brief stint as a story executive, working in the frantic horror genre period of the early 80s and wrote THE UNSEEN. He went onto write for episodic television and develop series pilots. He was a continuing writer on such series such as LOVE BOAT, PAPER DOLLS, and KNOTS LANDING. He developed screenplays for such major award winning directors as Nicolas Meyers, Tony Richardson and J. Lee Thompson. He has written for all the major networks and studios. He has been hired numerous times as a script doctor, doing many uncredited rewrites on TV movies and features. He is currently writing A PERSON OF INTEREST, a thriller novel, and, IT'S THE LOVE BOAT... AND HOW IT CHANGED CRUISING BY SHIP a non-fiction book dealing with how the hit TV series as a major cultural phenomenon and altered the style of cruising by ship. He was raised in Los Angeles. He attended St. Paul's, USC and the Pasadena Playhouse. He received a B.A from San Francisco State University where he majored in theatre arts and minored in creative writing. He is listed as a SFSU leading alumni. He also apprenticed at ACT - The American Conservatory Theatre. For a brief period he had intentions of becoming an Episcopal(Anglican) priest and attended seminary at Kelham Theological College in the UK. When "the calling" wasn't there, he left seminary and did graduate work at the American University of Beirut. He has guest lectured at USC, UC San Diego, McGill, Univ. of London and the Univ. of Texas on the business aspects of making a living and surviving as a writer, focusing on development hell, in the Hollywood entertainment industry. Grace is a lifetime member of the Writers Guild of America, the Dramatist Guild and former regional chairman of the Steamship Historical Society of America. He resides in Palm Springs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*


+ five = 14

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>