The Compagnie Generale Transatlantique earned an enviable reputation for the luxurious decor, sophisticated ambiance and onboard lifestyle of their ships. Service and cuisine were impeccable, the hallmarks of high living on the high seas.
France was the last superliner designed to spend almost all year on the transatlantic run. She was a showcase for French art, cooking, fashion, culture and industry. With only two classes, there was space for private facilities in all First class and 77% of Tourist class cabins. Each class on the France availed of its own main lounge, smoking room, library/writing room and swimming pool. The First class "Chambord" dining room featured a memorable domed ceiling, while the Tourist class space spanned two decks. The largest theater afloat and a chic cabaret were shared by both classes.
With a speed greater than the Cunard Queens, the French Line's France was easily able to maintain a five day crossing schedule from New York to Southampton and Le Havre with a round trip sailing every other week.
"Once onboard, you'll enjoy the fine cuisine for which France is justly famous. You'll be charmed by the traditional courtesy of French Line service. You'll relax. A new idea in luxury travel sails the seas. When you see her you will know that your ship has come in ..."
The French Line also operated a route from Le Havre and Southampton to the French West Indies islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique via a variety of ports. The twin ocean liners on this service were Flandre and Antilles. They were stylishly furnished and upheld the French Line standards of service, cuisine and design. Initially Flandre was assigned to the New York service but in 1962 she was permanently transferred to the Caribbean run.
Built: 1962 by Penhoet, St Nazaire, France
Built: 1952 by Ateliers et Chantiers, Dunkirk, France
Built: 1953 by Arsenal de Brest, Brest, France