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French Line's FRANCE

Posted: Tue Oct 07, 2014 9:30 pm
by Deepol
A selection of photos from the collection of the last Transatlantic liner under the French flag. Her keel was laid at the St Nazaire yard of Chantiers d'Atlantique in September 1957.

Re: French Line's FRANCE

Posted: Wed Oct 08, 2014 10:01 am
by Deepol
She was a replacement for LIBERTE and ILE DE FRANCE. Originally a replacement for each was planned but it was decided that one ship would serve better as a French showcase as NORMANDIE had done.

Re: French Line's FRANCE

Posted: Wed Oct 08, 2014 10:05 am
by Deepol
She was launched on May 11th 1960 by Mme. de Gaulle whose husband by that time was French President. She took the accolade of longest liner in the world beating QUEEN ELIZABETH by some 3feet.

Re: French Line's FRANCE

Posted: Wed Oct 08, 2014 10:09 am
by Deepol
Into the water and ready for fitting out.

Re: French Line's FRANCE

Posted: Wed Oct 08, 2014 10:09 am
by Henk
Nice set Paul! thanks for sharing.

Re: French Line's FRANCE

Posted: Wed Oct 08, 2014 10:18 am
by Deepol
Her most noticeable design feature was her funnels which had aircraft type wing fins to take away her exhaust completely different to the artists' impressions.
Here's some photos of the fitting out of these.

Re: French Line's FRANCE

Posted: Wed Oct 08, 2014 10:27 am
by Deepol
Trials took place in November 1961 when she attained over 35knots nearly equaling UNITED STATES' Blue Riband speed but which she never challenged. She then undertook berthing trials at Southampton and a shakedown cruise to the Canaries prior to her maiden voyage to New York.

Re: French Line's FRANCE

Posted: Fri Oct 10, 2014 11:34 pm
by Deepol
FRANCE's maiden Transatlantic voyage commenced on February 3rd 1962 and she continued on this on an all year round basis for the next ten years.
The maiden voyage was covered in special editions of Paris Match the well known French picture magazine. Copies were in our school library and were guarded very closely by a certain Library Monitor.....
I was very fortunate in later years through the wonders of the internet gaining scans of the commemorative covers.

Re: French Line's FRANCE

Posted: Mon Oct 13, 2014 1:40 pm
by Deepol
On board shots

Re: French Line's FRANCE

Posted: Mon Oct 13, 2014 1:52 pm
by Deepol
At the beginning of the 1970s FRANCE undertook off Atlantic season cruising because of the changing nature of travel by sea to the USA.
This resulted in her only visit to Scotland as FRANCE when she anchored in the Forth in 1972. However the oil crisis of 1973 amongst other rising costs prompted the French Government to announce in 1974 that subsidy would cease and she would be withdrawn in the October. This resulted in the crew going on strike at Le Havre in September for a month which effectively ended her French Line career and she was laid up.

Re: French Line's FRANCE

Posted: Tue Oct 14, 2014 8:36 am
by Deepol
After seven years and some failed attempts by some to buy her, FRANCE was bought by Norwegian Caribbean Cruises for conversion to cruising. In August 1979 she was taken to the Lloyd Werft yard in Bremerhaven for a massive refit. She was renamed NORWAY which I always thought was exceptionally clever given her previous name.

Re: French Line's FRANCE

Posted: Tue Oct 14, 2014 11:38 am
by Deepol
Interesting postcard produced by NCL in the lead up to NORWAY's inauguration plus a Lloyd Werft advert photo showing her nearing completion.

Re: French Line's FRANCE

Posted: Wed Oct 15, 2014 12:02 pm
by Deepol
The finished article was slightly different from the adverts. Two large tenders were fitted to the focsle and there were alterations at the stern. But despite this her overall profile remained the same and in her new colours she looked rather splendid.
I was lucky enough to be in London at the time she was coming to Southampton from Bremerhaven and hastily rearranged things and got her arriving in April 1980.

Re: French Line's FRANCE

Posted: Wed Oct 15, 2014 9:25 pm
by Deepol
Despite initial breakdowns she enjoyed success and after 10 years service she received additional decks which spoilt her appearance but kept her viable. In this form she came to the Clyde on two occasions if I remember correctly. I never scanned any of my slides of her when my scanner was serviceable so if anyone has photos of her at Greenock please post them or anything you have throughout her career as FRANCE and NORWAY.
As the years went on she seemed to go downhill especially with regards to her machinery and on one occasion there was a serious boiler explosion which resulted in some members of her crew losing their lives.
Finally in 2006 she was sold for scrap and renamed BLUE LADY. Controversy followed her because of asbestos but she finally arrived on the Alang Beaches in August 2006 where after environmental concerns were finally overcome demolition commenced in December of that year being completed by the end of 2008. So ended the career of the last French Transatlantic liner. One set of her illuminated name letters survive at Le Havre's maritime museum as does part of her bow in Paris.

Re: French Line's FRANCE

Posted: Wed Oct 10, 2018 10:38 pm
by Deepol
Courtesy of the Grimaldi brothers in Genoa, this painting featuring France which was up for auction in Italy I think. Possibly for the cover of a book on her/ocean liners in general

Re: French Line's FRANCE

Posted: Sat Oct 13, 2018 3:19 pm
by williemac
Hi Paul,she was here on Sept.14th 2001.I managed to get a few shots arriving and departingCheers Williemac

Re: French Line's FRANCE

Posted: Sat Oct 13, 2018 3:23 pm
by williemac
And some more!Cheers Williemac

Re: French Line's FRANCE

Posted: Mon Oct 15, 2018 10:03 pm
by Deepol
Thanks Willie I think that was the visit I missed being in deepest Hampshire at a wedding! Super photos as ever.

Re: French Line's FRANCE

Posted: Tue Oct 16, 2018 2:12 pm
by shiploversa
she remains for me - the most beautiful passenger ship ever built

Norway x France

Posted: Tue Oct 16, 2018 2:19 pm
by shiploversa
the blue lady x norway x france