By William H. Miller
The grande epoch of the French liners––the departure of trains amid crowds of excited journalists, the flash of camera, piles of Vuitton luggage and sprays of flowers thrust upon movie stars such as Clark Gable, Marlene Dietrich and celebrities like author Ernest Hemingway. The sight of a great ship, the legendary Normandie with her vast black hull, white superstructure and enormous red and black funnels, ready to sail. In all there were some fifty French passenger ships in worldwide services, the French Line (Compagnie Générale Transatlantique), the biggest and most familiar had three celebrated liners on their luxury run in and out of New York before the giant France entered service in 1962––the celebrated Liberté, the beloved Ile de France and the handsome Flandré. Less known to American travelers were other CGT runs to Casablanca and North African ports. Other companies like Messageries Maritimes had vessels plying all over the world and Chargeurs Réunis ships carried passengers to South America and Southeast Asia. Blue-water water routes declined when airlines were the preferred way to go. Sadly, now they are all gone. Cover painting by Stephen Card. Softbound. 140 pages.