Ce paquebot de la CGT a été construit afin de remplacer les vieilissants “La Touraine” et “La Lorraine”. Il a navigué entre 1927 et 1959. L’intérieur du navire est la première manifestation de “l’art déco”, style repris ensuite par de nombreux paquebots dont le Normandie. Pendant la guerre, il sert au transport des troupes(il prend le nom de “S.S. Ile de France”), ce qui vaut au bateau en lui-même de recevoir la Croix de Guerre et d’être nommé Chevalier du Mérite maritime. En 1945, il reprend son service civil et ses traversées, mais joue encore le “héros” en assurant notamment deux sauvetages d’ampleur (celui du cargo Greenville en 1953 et du paquebot italien Andrea Doria en 1956). Il effectuera son dernier voyage transatlantique le 1er novembre 1958 et sera remplacé par le France.
The SS Île de France was a French ocean liner that was built in Saint-Nazaire, France, for the Compagnie Générale Transatlantique (or CGT, also known as the “French Line”). The ship was named after the region around Paris known as “L’Ile de France”, launched in 1926 and commenced her maiden voyage on June 22, 1927. It was the first major ocean liner built after World War I, and was the first liner ever to be decorated almost entirely with modern designs associated with the Art Deco style. She was neither the largest ship nor the fastest, but was considered the most beautifully decorated ship built by CGT, becoming the favored ship of the pre-World War II era, carrying young, wealthy and fashionable Americans to Europe and back.
All of the ship’s luxurious fittings were removed for its conversion into a prison ship during World War II. After the war, Île de France resumed transatlantic operations. In 1956, she played a key role in rescuing passengers from the SS Andrea Doria after the latter ship’s fatal collision with the MS Stockholm off Nantucket. Her last hurrah came just before she was scrapped in 1959, “starring” in the movie The Last Voyage as a doomed ocean liner, and actually being partially sunk, while scenes were being filmed with actors playing their parts in the flooded ship. She was subsequently refloated and taken to Japan to be scrapped. The movie was released in 1960.
Presented by Romano Pisciotti