Wednesday, February 07, 2007
At the time of her construction, Le France was the longest ocean liner in the world, and as it turns out the last ocean liner built exclusively for transatlantic travel. Construction took four years and four months, and cost $80 million. She was 66,000 tons and 1,035 feet in length, and she included a unique double bottom that enabled her to carry 8,000 tons of fuel - enough for the trip to New York and back. The France was launched on May 11, 1960 by Madame Charles de Gaulle, and her "dress rehearsal" was a trip to the Canary Islands prior to her first transatlantic voyage. The decommissioning of the ocean liner in 1975 was caused by various financial problems, high operating costs, and repeated labour strikes. This mothballing was met with dismay by much of the French population, resulting in a song by Michel Sardou, titled "Le France."