SS Normandie


PAQUEBOT << NORMANDIE >> de la Compagnie Generale Transatlantique
Galerie Salon
[Ocean Liner “Normandie” from Compagnie Générale Transatlantique (Company name)
Gallery Salon]
1930s
Publisher: Company of Photo-Mechanical Arts, Strasbourg, France

The SS Normandie was a French ocean liner built in Saint-Nazaire, France, for the French Line Compagnie Générale Transatlantique (CGT). She entered service in 1935 as the largest and fastest passenger ship afloat, crossing the Atlantic in a record 4.14 days, and remains the most powerful steam turbo-electric-propelled passenger ship ever built. Her novel design and lavish interiors led many to consider her the greatest of ocean liners. Despite this, she was not a commercial success and relied partly on government subsidy to operate. During service as the flagship of the CGT, she made 139 westbound transatlantic crossings from her home port of Le Havre to New York.

The luxurious interiors were designed in Art Déco and Streamline Moderne style. Many sculptures and wall paintings made allusions to Normandy, the province of France for which Normandie was named. Drawings and photographs show a series of vast public rooms of great elegance. Normandie’s voluminous interior spaces were made possible by having the funnel intakes split to pass along the sides of the ship, rather than straight upward. French architect Roger-Henri Expert was in charge of the overall decorative scheme. Most of the public space was devoted to first-class passengers, including the dining room, first-class lounge, grill room, first-class swimming pool, theatre and winter garden. The first-class swimming pool featured staggered depths, with a shallow training beach for children. The children’s dining room was decorated by Jean de Brunhoff, who covered the walls with Babar the Elephant and his entourage. The interiors were filled with grand perspectives, spectacular entryways, and long, wide staircases. First-class suites were given unique designs by select designers. The most luxurious accommodations were the Deauville and Trouville apartments, featuring dining rooms, baby grand pianos, multiple bedrooms, and private decks.
Wikipedia

YouTube: Normandie’s Maiden Voyage, 1935


Le Paquebot << NORMANDIE >> de la Compagnie Generale Transatlantique. — Le grand hall des premieres classes
[The Ocean Liner “Normandie” from Compagnie Générale Transatlantique (Company name). — The Grand Hall of First Class]
1930s
Publisher: La Cigogne, Le Havre.

Through the open door in its side, we enter the ship, and we find ourselves in a palace. A vast hall of a pleasant amber color welcomes us. The Walls are Covered with Algerian onyx, enhanced with patinated and gilded copper hardware, and take their full value between the ground, covered with black and dark blue, and the very luminous ceiling that constitutes, like beams blocking the hall on all its width, two groups of three elements of molded glass. Four lifts in gilded bronze cages connect the seven floors of the ship to this central square where stairs also converge. . . . Note on the first landing of a monumental staircase, the panel which closes the hall, and bears under the features of the “CHEVALIER NORMAND” the symbol of Normandie.
Brochure: The Ocean Liner Normandie – 1937 (CG Archives)


Interieur du Gd Paquebot NORMANDIE . Le Grand Salon.
[Interior of the Ocean Liner Normandie. The Grand Salon]
1930s
“Photo HAMON | Serie R. 102”


Cie Gle Transatlantique . Paquebot << NORMANDIE >> Un Coin du Grand Salon
[Cie Gle Transatlantique . Ocean Line “Normandie” A corner of the Grand Salon]
1930s
Publisher: Bloc Freres, Bordeaux (Photo Desbooutin)


PAQUEBOT << NORMANDIE >> de la Compagnie Generale Transatlantique
1o classe – La salle a manger
Ocean Liner “Normandie” from Compagnie Générale Transatlantique
First class dining room
1930s
Publisher: Company of Photo-Mechanical Arts, Strasbourg, France

What air and light, beauty and freshness in this room so harmonious proportions! The burnished gold reflection of the coffered ceiling, the mauve runoff that drips the molded glass walls, the brightness of the sconces and the brilliance of the firepots help to create a brilliant atmosphere, which marvelously bathes the 241 flowery tables, trimmed the elegance of 700 guests and sparkling crystals. Eight small unique dining rooms open on either side. They each have their character. Alternating with the glass elements of the walls, marbles of blood breccia frame four bas-reliefs gilded staff evoking the resources and various activities of Normandie, which adorn the narrower parts. This room ends with the lower banquet hall which, in proportion, seems small despite its 72 seats.
Brochure: The Ocean Liner Normandie – 1937 (CG Archives)


Le Paquebot << NORMANDIE >> de la Compagnie Generale Transatlantique. — Le grand salle a manger
]The Ocean Liner “Normandie” from Compagnie Générale Transatlantique. — The big dining room]
1930s
Publisher: La Cigogne, Le Havre.
(Same photo as above)

Normandie’s first-class dining hall was the largest room afloat. At 93 m (305 ft), it was longer than the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles, 14 m (46 ft) wide, and 8.5 m (28 ft) high. Passengers entered through six-metre-tall (20 ft) doors adorned with bronze medallions by artist Raymond Subes. The room could seat 700 at 157 tables,[ with Normandie serving as a floating promotion for the most sophisticated French cuisine of the period. As no natural light could enter it was illuminated by twelve tall pillars of Lalique glass flanked by 38 matching columns along the walls. These, with chandeliers hung at each end of the room, earned the Normandie the nickname “Ship of Light”
Wikipedia


PAQUEBOT << NORMANDIE >> de la Compagnie Generale Transatlantique
La Piscine
[Ocean Liner “Normandie” from Compagnie Générale Transatlantique
The Swimming Pool[
Stamped on back “Visite S/S Normandie/18 Avr. 1938/Le Havre”
Publisher: Company of Photo-Mechanical Arts, Strasbourg, France

The pool measures 25 meters by 6 meters wide – its walls are covered with white and bluish enameled stoneware tiles. A ceramic from the Manufacture de Sèvres, executed on the cartons of M. Menu, surrounds the gallery overlooking the bath with its frieze. Steps allow to enter the green water gradually, alighting makes light, until losing a foot in the deep tank. The ceiling is violently illuminated by an element of the sculptural composition, made in antique bronze by M. Chauvin, and placed on the beach where bathers meet at the bar, an elegant rendezvous. Mechanotherapy room beautifully equipped, cabins, hydrotherapy rooms and massage, neighbor.
Brochure: The Ocean Liner Normandie – 1937 (CG Archives)


Le Paquebot << NORMANDIE >> de la Compagnie Generale Transatlantique. — Le Jardin d’HIver
[The Ocean Liner “Normandie” from Compagnie Générale Transatlantique. — The Winter Garden[
1930s
Publisher: La Cigogne, Le Havre.

“Normandie” carries a little of the soil of France, its flowers, its roses, its lilies, in this admirable garden entrusted to the vigilant care of the house of Vilmorin, which opens in rounded facade on the front of the ship, above the Promenade Bridge. Parterres, pergolas, and greenhouses glazed along the windows, always carry the most beautiful flowers. Two aviaries, full of pretty birds, surmount, in the center of the garden, basins where fountains flow.
Brochure: The Ocean Liner Normandie – 1937 (CG Archives)


Le Paquebot << NORMANDIE >> de la Compagnie Generale Transatlantique. — La Chapelle
]The Ocean Liner “Normandie” from Compagnie Générale Transatlantique. — The Chapel]
1930s
Publisher: La Cigogne, Le Havre.

An altar in sober style shines in the dim light of the Chapel, whose half-cylindrical vault and supports woven patterns blue and purple. In the shadow of the aisles, covered with black marble from the Pyrenees, fourteen panels mark the Way of the Cross. Everywhere are the four elements of Christian iconography: ear, vine, rose, and palm. The atmosphere is that of a very collected chapel, very far from the brilliant world and favorable to prayer and meditation.
Brochure: The Ocean Liner Normandie – 1937 (CG Archives)

S.S. Paris


St-NAZAIRE. – Intèrieur d’un Paquebot de la C. G. T.
Dôme de la Grande Descente

[St Nazire. Interior of a paquebot of the Compagnie Générale Transatlantique
Dome of the Grand Staircase.]
1920s
Publisher: J.B. Jonbier

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SS Paris was a French ocean liner built for the Compagnie Générale Transatlantique by Chantiers de l’Atlantique in Saint-Nazaire, France. Although 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 Paris was finally completed, she was the largest liner under the French flag, at 34,569 tons. Although not so large as the Olympic or Imperator ships and not intended to challenge the speed record of the Mauretania, the Paris, operated by the Cie Generale Transatlantique, was one of the finest liners put into service, at the time.
. . .
Paris’s interior reflected the transitional period of the early twenties, between the earlier preferred Jacobean, Georgian, Baroque, and Palladian themes that were used in earlier liners built before World War I. Paris’ interiors were also a fusion of Art Nouveau and Art Deco. Many important early French Art Deco designers worked on the interiors and furnishings such as Louis Süe, Paul Follot and Rene Prou. The painter Albert Besnard decorated the dining room with “La Gloire de Paris” and Georges Leroux made a large decorative panel for the smoking room: “Le Jardin du Luxembourg”. The painter decorator Adrien Karbowsky also participated in the decoration of the ship’s library, without forgetting Lalique. The decorating architect Louis Süe participated in the decoration of this liner.
. . .
On 18 April 1939, 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.
Wikipedia.

Two years later the elegant Paris was finally completed. She emerged from the shipyard as the largest vessel ever built in France. Now that she was completed, the press could catch an eye on what the French Line had meant in 1913, when they talked about the Paris’ interiors. The ship certainly had something of a magic touch, for she featured a number of styles of amazing and superb interiors. Passengers could choose to travel in the conservative Palace-like cabins, but the Paris also featured Art Nouveau, as well as hints of the Art Deco that the Ile de France would boast six years later. The luxury of this ship was something no other liner in the world coul d claim at that time. Amazingly, the vast majority of the First Class staterooms had proper windows rather than the traditional round portholes. In the cabins guests had a private telephone, which was extremely rare on board a ship. A valet was available on the Paris, and he was easily called by phone and he would be there within a minute, as he was locate in an adjacent room, rather than in a cabin in the second class like on other companies, which would have been far away. Added to this the Paris, along with the other French liners, was well known for their amazingly superb cuisine, which was of a very high five star standard!
SSMaritime (more pictures)