The French Line’s fabulous ILE DE FRANCE



Another great YOUTUBE video from Joanna Coleman… of the ILE DE FRANCE…

Here is a wonderful piece on the great French liner ILE DE FRANCE from New York Social Diary by maritime artist and historian: Scott McBee…


The newly re-fitted SS Ile de France in 1949, having been restyle and sporting only two funnels, leaving Le Havre for its Atlantic run to New York
by Scott McBee

The SS Ile de France was built in for the French shipping company, Compagnie Generale Transatlantique (known commercially as The French Line) at a cost of $10,000,000. Her construction began in1925 at the Penhoet shipyards in Saint-Nazaire, France. She was the first major liner built after World War I. She was launched on March 14,1926.

Seven hundred ninety-one feet in length, 91 feet wide, powered by steam turbines geared to quadruple screws, she had a service speed of 23.5 knots. After a period of 14 months for fitting out her interiors the Ile de France weighed in at 44,356 tons and left the shipyards on May 29th for her sea trials.


The cabin class salon decorated by Le Bucheron…

Her maiden voyage was on June 22, 1927 from Le Havre to New York where she received a gala welcome from New York City. had a passenger capacity of 1,395 — 541 First Class, 577 Cabin Class and 277 Tourist class after her refitting after World War II. She was neither the largest (the sixth largest) or the fastest but was and still is considered one of the most beautifully decorated ocean liners built by the French Line.

One of her most distinctive characteristics were the sumptuous, unique interiors which at the time represented a departure, something new in interior design. It would be the first time a passenger ship’s accommodations would not be designed on a theme of the past but more of what was taking place in the present time. In “The Only Way to Cross, Jon Maxtone-Graham calls the Ile “the divide from which point ocean liner decorators reached forward rather than back.”

To read the rest of the story click here.

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About Michael L. Grace

During the mid-80s, Michael Grace worked as a writer on the TV Hit Series THE LOVE BOAT. He wrote many of the two hour special featuring great stars of the past, including Lana Turner, Claire Trevor, Anne Baxter, Ethel Merman, Alexis Smith, etc. The public’s access to these stars, in familiar dramas and comedies, made them want to go on a cruise. They could see the stars in an ordinary world as “regular” people. The phenomenally successful series was responsible for creating the cruise industry as we know it today. By the time he was writing for Love Boat, the great steamship companies and their liners were flying hand me down foreign flags, painted like old whores, scrapped or doing three day cruises to the Bahamas. He had sailed on over thirty ships and liners with his parents, aunt and grandmother in late 50s to early 70s. The very successful CRUISING THE PAST website has been an outgrowth of Michael’s strong interest in cruise and social history. Drawing on his own knowledge and a vast maritime and social history collection, he is able to produce a very successful website. Michael is part of the award winning team that created the internationally performed award winning musical SNOOPY, based on PEANUTS by Charles M. Schultz. He has written for television and films. Read more by going to "About" (on the above dashboard) and clicking "Editor"…

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