Normandie Interiors Today


Jim Kalafus

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Dec 3, 2000
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>Normandie WAS popular - but here's where the difference is and explains how a ship could be so popular and spoken of on both sides of the Atlantic and not be able to be called anything financially resembling "profitable."

Using that rationale, Sylvester Stallone's recurring attempts at becoming a singing star were popular since so many people know of them. Known and popular are not the same thing.

>People loved her, yes - but no one could afford to travel on her and hardly anyone had the money to even think about traveling on her.

Her basic rates were only about $25-$50 per cabin higher than aboard the Champlain or Lafayette, to judge by the 1937 price schedule. So it was not a matter of being priced out of the market for a basic cabin that kept travellers away.

>How a ship could be so talked about in her time and still be the financial Skidoo/Can't Stop the Music! of the French Line.

Skidoo, Can''t Stop the Music and Stallone's country and western musical Rhinestone were all talked about in their day, as well. People talked about them, but did not pay to see them. Talk, after all, is cheap~ it is action at the box office that counts.
 
Jul 9, 2004
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>Using that rationale, Sylvester Stallone's recurring attempts at becoming a singing star were popular since so many people know of them. Known and popular are not the same thing.

I have to disagree with you here actually. People talked about Sylvester Stallone's attempts at being a singer-star, yes - but the tone of that talk was - I assume - not positive! Normandie's talk wasn't all positive I'm sure, but I don't think there was all that many actually liking Stallone's 'singing' if it can be called that.

>Her basic rates were only about $25-$50 per cabin higher than aboard the Champlain or Lafayette, to judge by the 1937 price schedule. So it was not a matter of being priced out of the market for a basic cabin that kept travellers away.

Then I don't think that it was her interiors that scared people away alone - people aren't THAT finicky. I don't believe Normandie's interiors could be blamed completely for her financial implosion, I've always heard that traveling on the Normandie was expensive - so perhaps I had been listening to the wrong person. I'm not insinuating you were saying that Normandie's interiors were to blame - but I wanted to clarify that it couldn't have been the interiors that kept people away.

What were the passenger carrying averages for the Ile de France, Paris, Lafayette and Champlain for 1935 to 1938? Were they as rotten as Normandie's? It would be interesting to see how the whole French Line's transat ships did during Normandie's run. Perhaps it was the political situation in Europe that kept people away? Or perhaps it was just the fact that not everyone wanted to go to France? I'm not making statements - but rather I'm asking questions. If it wasn't Normandie's interiors that kept people away and I don't believe it was - it may have contributed but I don't think it was the main culprit - then WHY was Normandie such a financial flop?

I know its construction cost was astronomical, but even then Normandie COULD have done a lot better than she did - she still wouldn't have made a profit but she could have made a good step towards a profit had it not been for that intangible factor that kept people away. Why?
 

Jim Kalafus

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>Then I don't think that it was her interiors that scared people away alone - people aren't THAT finicky.

I say "Carnival" and you say....?

(Let's call the whole thing off?)

Back later, to further beat this dead horse
happy.gif
 
Jul 25, 2006
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The only great thing missing in the first class public rooms interiors of the Normandie was furniture of le Corbusier, I think the LC1, and so on, would have been amazing in those interiors. for example it would have looked better than those, even for the late 30's, tacky embroided red seats of the smoking room
 

Grant Carman

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Jun 19, 2006
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Quick question. Does anyone know what happened to the light pillars from the First Class Dining Room? I understand that there is a lot of CGT stuff in storage, property of the French Governement I believe, and maybe they still have them there?
 

Mark Baber

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From now until October, "The History of Navigation," taken from Normandie's first-class salon, will be on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan. Details appear here.
 

Joe Russo

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Apr 10, 2006
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I just saw "The History of Navigation" today at the Metropolitan Museum. It was breathtaking and really shows what the scale of that room would have been. It also hints at what is missing and scattered about from the other panels since this is just part of one of the corners.
It would be nice for the owners of all of the other panels to loan them to the museum so the room in its entirety could be seen again, but I don't think that is going to happen anytime soon.
I will post the many pictures that I took when I get back to LA on Friday.
 
Jun 6, 2003
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Just saw the Normandie Installation at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. I recall a portion of it used to in the first floor restaurant but I could not recall which section of the current mural used to be there. No one at the museum information desk seemed to know.
 
Apr 27, 2005
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Quel frommage! What I find amazing is so much of the ship's interior was successfully removed prior to the fire, and we are blessed with the artwork to this day. With some refinement in our artistic nature, "Normandie" is appreciated more today than in her own short lifetime.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>What I find amazing is so much of the ship's interior was successfully removed prior to the fire, and we are blessed with the artwork to this day.<<

That was the upside of gutting the vessel for her intended use as a troopship. Now if only some moron hadn't decided to use a cutting torch near bales of kapok life vests....
 

Jim Kalafus

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I think Richard may have been making a pop-culture reference...

"Quel frommage" is a gag line from the 1940s film "Good News." June Allison, at 53, plays a poor but proud college student. Snotty society girl, whilst flaunting her evident superiority in front of the post-menopausal Allison, says "Quel frommage" and is corrected by the elderly working class heroine.
 
Apr 27, 2005
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Gentlemen, you give me too much credit. "Quel Frommage" are the only two French words I know, other than the lyrics to "Lady Marmalade", which is totally inappropriate. I often spout them as an expression of whatever emotional is called for.

"C'est moi!"
 

Art_Deco_Dave

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Jul 4, 2012
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Just found this thread; I saw a b&w postcard on eBay of the Conrad Hilton's Normandie Room this week, and the chairs and round settee looked like Normandie's.

Judging from what I have read that Normandie was intended to be a Ship of State, and that the intention from the start was to have her decorated with works from anyone who was Anyone in the French world of art at that time, I find it unlikely that those interiors could have been completed in any better taste. Every artist involved pulled out all the stops on his/her individual commissions. Think in terms that Normandie was not going to be anything other than a museum piece of French art in the early 1930s. Museums are pretty cool, but who would want to live in one all the time? No, Normandie was as tasteful as it could be.
Also, as has been said before in this thread, when creating those monumental rooms, everything has to be monumental. The Grand Salon's ceiling was THIRTY FEET high. Paint a room of that proportions a nice, tasteful color, and it looks pretty dull. Also, remember that it was the beginning, the roots, of the glitz that is cruise decor today. The public rooms were intended to be stimulating, not restful. The idea was that those wealthy enough to afford first class passage would want to think of themselves as actors and actresses, spending the four-ish days in rooms that were actually stage sets for the shipboard dramas they were living.

Yep, I feel Normandie's interiors were as Glamorous as they could possibly be, and as tasteful as they needed to be. It's no mistake you have recognized the two small lounges adjacent to the Grand Salon were more restrained. Those in charge of the interiors were aware of what they were doing.
 

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