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Design - Call me FRANCE again - will the mythical ship be back at sea

Le FRANCE, the famous and mythical French ocean liner, will he be back at sea again? President Charles De Gaulle claimed, during the christening (by Yvonne de Gaulle) ceremony May 11th, 1960, that FRANCE III is a true revival of glamorous NORMANDIE ... Those having sailed on NORMANDIE and had the luck of experiencing his grandeur and then top luxuries on board, named FRANCE "vulgar" ... as my aunt and others able to compare.
Didier Spade, a French naval architect and businessman, connected to FRANCE via his father´s and grandfather´s engagement in the outfitting of the famous and last French Transatlantic liner, created a new interpretation of the famous and still loved FRANCE.
by Earl of Cruise
Didier Spade´s vision of the Nouveau FRANNCE - courtesy Mer et Marine
When FRANCE was purchsed by visionairy Kloster, the once liner lost its character after the transforming into the then biggest cruise vessel. What was left was only a last glance of the 1950/60s design and character of FRANCE. NORWAY was something different to FRANCE from his heydays - a caribbean cruise vessel and amusement park. The difference was the size.
NORWAY back then started the growing of the cruise vessels in the mass market, and the change into huge shopping malls and amusement parks, that need no longer a port of destination, except for maintenance. Having cruised by myself on those "new monsters of the seas", I had the impression that ports are a nuissance to the operators, as they can´t any longer squeeze their passengers for creating extra onboard recenues ...
Rendering of le Nouveau FRANCE entering Bay in front of Saint Tropez - Source: ACTUnautique
Will the mythical liner ever return to the sea?
This is Didier Spade's dream.
Le Nouveau FRANCE is seen as very controversial. Reactions are varying from pure enthusiasm to stupid nonsens.
This businessman and naval architect then approached Nicolas Sarkozy, Manuel Valls and embarked on his project Alain Ducasse, Xavier Niel ... For the September 2015 issue of VANITY FAIR, Sophie des Déserts unveiled the story of this new FRANCE that makes them all dream, or as me criticize (in grey). Mme des Déserts made the same mistake as many journalists, naming a liner a cruise ship, and its liner voyages cruises - which I corrected in my editing.
The new FRANCE is an exceptional vessel by its modernity, its difference, while being the worthy heir to a tradition of luxury and age-old refinement - Source: YouTube
Tranlation and editing of the article by Sophie des Déserts by Earl of Cruise:
In the narcissus fauna of the PLAZA ATHÉNÉE, he looked like a poet. He had sat down at the bar, tall stilts in a sea costume, moccasins out of age, hair in disorder and glance in the moon, the peaceful smile, as confident in his destiny. Alain Ducasse said to himself, observing him this autumn 2011, that this man could only be absolutely brilliant or a little crazy. Didier Spade,"he presented himself with a shy handshake. The voice took its time, without commercial hurry." "I saw someone totally atypical," recalls the starred chef. "I liked him with his generous, sincere, passionate speech. We did not talk about money for a second, only about its unreasonable and reasoned ambition at the same time. It's important to people dreaming." Didier Spade also remembers this moment "as if it were yesterday" - and the adrenaline rush that went down his spine. "I was playing big: a date with Ducasse was a miracle! I wanted to transform the test, start with something concrete. He was very benevolent. After half an hour of discussion, Alain Ducasse signed with both hands. He even agreed to collaborate on the project without taking a penny." Thus, the poet embarked the businessman on his imaginary ship, before going to land other potential investors, such as François Pinault, Vincent Bolloré or Xavier Niel.
Charles de Gaulle (the then future President of France) opined that it would be better for French national pride, then flagging due to the then ongoing Algerian War of Independence, to construct one grand ocean liner, in the tradition of the NORMANDIE, as an ocean-going showcase for France. The idea of such a publicly funded liner was controversial, leading to raucous debates in the French parliament. The dealing lasted three and a half years, and though the letter commissioning the construction was finally signed by the Chairman of the COMPAGNIE GÉNÉRALE TRANSATLANTIQUE, Jean Marie, on 25 July 1956, debate about the form, cost and construction schedule for FRANCE lasted a further year.
FRANCE is the story of his life, a dream of a child in love with the sea who believes hard as iron that no project is foolish if it comes from the heart. Didier Spade wants to revive the ship that, in the 1960s, proudly carried the tricolour flag on the oceans and delighted the world with Jackie Kennedy, Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly on board. "The French technique pays homage to the homeland", proclaimed General de Gaulle on 11 May 1960, inaugurating it: "Longer, safer, more powerful, faster... I spoke of a success? Yes! Yes! FRANCE is going to be one," he added. His wife, Yvonne, christened the ship with champagne. Later, Michel Sardou mourned his passing when, in 1974, faced with the oil crisis, the Chirac government decided to stop the exploitation. National consternation, crew mutinies, eighty-eight days of strike.
Michel Sardou - Ne m'appelez plus jamais FRANCE (Don't ever call me FRANCE again) - Source: Youtube
Today, Spade wants to make Sardou lie. Forget the wounds of the past, the dubious recoveries, the refloating of the ship NORWAY in 1977 - a torn ship - and the battles at the end of the world to debone the last remains of the steel monster.
Le FRANCE on the beach in Alang - Source: MaritimeMatters
To rebuild everything in the Saint-Nazaire shipyards that saw it born, to cast off again, with the same objective: to make the art of national living shine. "FRANCE will regain its vocation," said Didier Spade. On board, we will have the best of style, gastronomy and decoration ... "The cruise ship FRANCE will sail again," which he had promised himself, and for almost ten years now, he has been working there day and night.
The dream takes shape in Louveciennes, a wealthy suburb village in the west of Paris, in a white plastered house set at the bottom of a quiet wooded driveway. Chintz curtains, antique furniture, travel trinkets, family photos, everything remained as it was in the happy times when Spade's parents were still living. "Welcome to my kingdom," says Didier, caressing Loli, his German shepherd who is cheerfully struggling before going to sniff couscous in the kitchen. The amateur shipowner seizes the glossy paper plates he has printed on the desk to convince investors, as well as the latest business plan for the future of FRANCE, where everything is meticulously detailed - from staff salaries and nationalities to the number of bakers and saucers. On his computer, he unveils the 3D plan of the cruise ship, which has retained its two majestic funnels. "I wanted this new FRANCE to have a design that was very different from the other existing liners and to be immediately recognizable," he explains. The funnels have established themselves as the most striking feature of ancient FRANCE. "I revisited them by creating living spaces inside: suites and extensions with a 360-degree view. A palm grove with a swimming pool stretches out on the lower deck, plus eight restaurants, a spa, a gym ... There will even be," he adds, "a petanque court, a cooking school, a casino and a panoramic cinema."
Le Nouveau FRANCE, rendering for Ddier Spade´s idea - Source: Mer et Marine
Before arriving there, Didier Spade thought for a long time, alone in his house, with his habits of `old boy´ who can't bear any presence in daily life, except that of his Moroccan butler. His partner, Elizabeth, is comfortable with it. This Wednesday morning, she parked her old motorcycle in the garden and passed a head to make sure that everything was okay. She has brown hair, a pretty face, simple manners: "In reality, Didier lives in his liner," she said. Four years ago, she was a notary in Paris in a thriving law firm; she left everything behind to devote herself to FRANCE: "I married Didier's dream. This project is our whole life!"
The attic is filled with yachting magazines and souvenirs from the mythical liner that have been chined down over the years in flea markets and auctions. There are stacks of drawings, construction specifications, giant menus printed on fine paper. A menu of first-class meals, served in the `Chambord´ dining room, proposes - in French and English - ten appetizers, as many dishes and desserts, tasty dishes with tasty names (Bismarck Hering (herring) with spices, panties of culotte de bœuf bourgeoise, poularde nantaise à la gelée ...) and at the bottom, in italics, some suggestions for `calories´. "Look how precious it is", whispered Spade as he exhumed from an old trunk a green notebook of the bridges drawn in the late 1950s by the Chantiers de l' Atlantique.
Call me FRANCE again - will the mythical ship be back at sea
Synthesis image of the future liner "France". He kept the two famous black and red fireplaces of his predecessor. They will be transformed into cabins with panoramic views - Source: still from the above Youtube video
He drew inspiration from it for his own drawings, which line the ground floor corridor. The sketches of each cabin are in his hands. The first model of the old FRANCE is located farther away, in front of his children's room where there are still albums of Asterix and Gaston Lagaffe, board games, a guitar and his diploma from the Institut supérieur de gestion. "In another life, I was a businessman", he jokes as he tries on a dusty sailor's cap.
In the early 1980s, still a student, Spade made his fortune by inventing the "International travel card", a card that offered discounts for 390 francs in hotels, restaurants and car rental companies. It has had up to 100,000 members. Magazines fell under the spell of this "young, gentle wolf like a lamb" - he got portraits in Le Point and Challenges. In May 1984, L' Expansion even had him put it on the cover alongside Paul-Loup Sulitzer under the title: `Milliardaire à 40 ans.´ "An exaggeration of journalists", he says. My fortune never exceeded a few hundred thousand €. He then went to India to meditate on his backpack tour and sold his company to the ACCOR Group, a fine operation that was quickly squandered in bad real estate investments. Then great sorrow occured, when his wife left him. Didier then consoled himself with the boats.
Call me FRANCE again - will the mythical ship be back at sea
NORMANDIE, France afloat, in 1935 he shocked the international public with his consequent streamlines construction and ART DÉCO interiors, and made any other liner looking from a century ago - courtesy colouring by Daryl LeBlanc
So it is with the Spades. The grandfather, Baptistin, a upholsterer in Marseille before setting up his small business in Paris, signed the interior of the most beautiful ships, including NORMANDIE and FRANCE. The father took over and built all his life the pleasure boats on which he embarked, for the holidays, his wife and son. Didier, fed by the stories of Jules Verne and Éric Tabarly, caught the virus.
Call me FRANCE again - will the mythical ship be back at sea
Louis de Funès passes in front of the cruise ship "France" on July 13,1967, in the port of Le Havre during the shooting of a scene from Jean Girault's film "Les grandes vacances" - Source: VANITY FAIR
He's not 30 years old when he buys himself a first motor boat. It was a tribute to my wife, a Catalan woman with a passion for jazz. "Together we lived on a barge and it was a fiasco," he says with  British humor. I wanted to dock at the bottom of the Eiffel Tower to reclaim it; it didn't really work. He went to New Orleans to find the model of his dreams, then to Eindhoven where he found an architect who, for 13 million francs (approximately 2 million euros), financed by a leasing agreement, built his Louisiana Bell. He makes him sail on the Seine for seminars, birthdays, weddings. "At first, it was hard. I couldn't maneuver; I was going back to the decks," he says. I was a commander, pilot, hostess and bartender at the same time. Fortunately, business is booming and soon, the former owner of the VEDETTES DE PARIS is buying back half of his shares. The fleet is expanding by a second boat, the Tennessee. But success is beyond him. The management of the port of Paris informed him that "the Seine is not the Mississippi" and invited him to "imagine" something else. Spade then had an ART DÉCO ship built: a low hull, a high ceiling decorated with chandeliers like in the hall of a palace. With his father, who has lived with him since the death of his mother, he carves wooden steps, chooses mouldings, silky fabrics and period objects. The RIVER PALACE, moored at the foot of the Mirabeau Bridge, takes on board a number of celebrities for an evening: Johnny Hallyday, Nicolas Sarkozy, Alain Delon, Patrick Bruel ... The comedian Dany Boon marries on board. "All those who were looking for originality or luxury came to me," says Didier Spade.
Creating an offer catering unserved demands can create a success against nitpicking critics.
But on the Seine, the horizon lacks lights. In the summer in Corsica, at Saint-Tropez for the Nioulargue, the shipowner quivers in front of the mahogany yachts and leaves to sail with his father on a trawler (a robust motor boat) that they built together, equipped with an ULM with floats. "At the age of 75, he flew with me over Porquerolles."
Call me FRANCE again - will the mythical ship be back at sea
Île de Porquerolles, Plage de la Courtade, east of the port of Porquerolles,is an island in the Îles d'Hyères, Var, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France. Its land area is 1,254 hectares (12.54 km2)  - Source: Wikipedia
Didier´s father, the old sailor died in 2008, in his arms. Six months later, Didier Spade pushed a back door of the ARTCURIAL Gallery, at the bottom of the Champs-Élysées (Avenue des Champs-Élysées [avəˌnydeˌʃɑ̃zeliˈze]).The crowds clustered in the rain almost prevented him from attending the auction dedicated to FRANCE. Didier Spade came in thinking of his grandfather who decorated the staircases of the first classes. The sales catalogue includes 800 items: cutlery, menus, lamps, ashtrays, posters, armchairs and portholes. And the highlight of the show is the nose of FRANCE. The whole thing was collected by Jacques Dworczak, a former doctor of Arras, son of a miner reconverted into a baroudeur antique dealer after a painful divorce. The chance led him to Bombay where he set up an export company and learned that the ex-sea giant was stranded nearby on a beach in the Bay of Alang. FRANCE had suffered many storms since he had been immobilized at the Quai de l' Oubli in Le Havre. After it was bought in 1977 by the Saudi billionaire Akram Ojjeh, who wanted to turn it into a floating palace in Beirut, it was sold to the KLOSTERS company (NCL) and renamed NORWAY, equipped with a new swimming pool and discotheque. The ship sailed happily through the Caribbean until a boiler fire in Miami harbour in 2003 sealed his fate. Mythical pave to yield! It was then the waiting in Bremerhaven in Germany as an accomodation for workers on a new NCL vessel, the waltz of crazy proposals (it was discussed to make it a casino in Honfleur or a hotel in Dubai), then the exile in Singapore, a lady in waiting for a planned dismantling - and finally abandoned under pressure from Greenpeace, and other international parties, denouncing the working conditions in Alang, because of the large quantities of asbestos detected in the hull. No one wanted this poison polluted FRANCE any more, except a fearsome business brewer, a boat skinner named Sanjay Metha, who repatriated him to Alang Bay in 2008. The interior of the transatlantic was miraculously preserved.
Call me FRANCE again - will the mythical ship be back at sea
General view of "France" at anchor in the harbour of Vairho, in Tahiti on 17 February 1974, one of its prestigious ports of call with New Zealand, Sydney or Bali - Source: VANITY FAIR
"Initially, he was not aware of the value of the liner," recalls Jacques Dworczak. When Sanjay Metha saw journalists from all over the world, American collectors and some French auctioneers arriving, he felt the bargain. "All of a sudden, he wanted to sell everything - even matchboxes! The shipwreck stripper scammed a number of buyers, including a Brestois who paid for a window he had never seen color and Californians who were willing to pay $100,000 for the 440 posters on board. When I offered to buy the nose of France," confides Dworczak, "he first offered it to me at the price of scrap metal: about 5,000 euros. Then he raised the bids, claiming that the French embassy in Delhi was on the spot. The negotiation is tense, the antique dealer ends up dropping more than a million dollars to buy back almost all the interior of France, plus the nose. I borrowed three quarters from the bank, friends and my ex-wife. I was a bum, totally rinsed out, but I never doubted it. France is like Concorde or the Eiffel Tower. Many people are willing to spend fortunes to afford even a small piece of the symbol." Dworczak repatriated his loot: books, furniture, objects, 750 meters of anchor chain, 50 pieces of the hull, 10 pieces of chimney (which he will have framed by the sculptor Caesar's favourite craftsman) and the nose thus, 4.5 tons of steel, 1,50 meter high. Restored as a price of gold, proudly hoisted on a massive base, the bow tip of FRANCE disembarked at the port of Antwerp before going up the Champs-Élysées under police escort. Jacques Dworczak was celebrated as a national hero, celebrated on the news. Half a century after its birth, the myth was intact.
Call me FRANCE again - will the mythical ship be back at sea
FRANCE during his world circumnavigation cruise in Hong Kong - Source: Wikipedia
Call me FRANCE again - will the mythical ship be back at sea
In 2009 the tip of the bow of FRANCE / NORWAY was returned to the country of his birth as one of a catalogue of auction pieces removed from the ship before scrapping commenced. The auction was held on February 8th and 9th, 2009. It is now on public display at Paris Yacht Marina, Port de Grenelle, Paris 15e.In January 2010 one of the two sets of neon letters which sat atop the superstructure of the France before her conversion was restored and put on display. The letters, which spell "France", are to be displayed at the Musée national de la Marine in Paris. They will then be returned to Le Havre and presented to the Musée Malraux, facing the front of the harbor - Source:Wikipedia
In the ARTICURIAL auction hall, Didier Spade is excited about the event on February 8th, 2009. He has already bought gates in France, a chain link, a piece of hull and two ashtrays when the sale of the nose opens. Price: € 50,000.00. Over € 100,000.00, he has only one buyer in front of him: Jean-Pierre Véron, a real estate developer who hopes, with this part of France, to advertise his new complex in Deauville. "It was quite a duel," recalls Didier Spade. € 210,000.00, I threw in the towel. I was disappointed but relieved not to spend so much money. For me, this nose was just an emotional wink, a tribute to my father who had just died. At the end of the sale, a slender blonde approaches - Sylvie Robaglia, the press secretary of the event: "Didier, remember, I was your girlfriend when we were 17 years old, we were flirting on the beach in Cabourg..." Spade doesn't remember anything but he accepts his invitation to go for a drink with the winner. In reality, Jean-Pierre Véron is very embarrassed by this nose of 4 tons that he must now take away. When Spade offers to host him in front of his offices, he readily accepts. Sylvie Robaglia jubilees: "I've never seen an auction where the two competitors end up becoming friends!"
"Michel Sardou m'a dit ‘C'est génial, il faut foncer!"
The developer will never come looking for his nose. He sold all his apartments in Deauville and the residents did not want this monument under their windows. The bow tip of FRANCE thus fails, free of charge, in front of Didier Spade's offices on the banks of the Seine, in front of the last boat he operates, the CLIPPER. "I was happy as a king to have this nose in my house, without taking out a penny. It was when I saw him every day that at one point I thought to myself: why not make a new France? I was just 50 years old, maybe it's time to leave a trace." One night, under the eye of his dog Loli, he sketches out a few lines connecting the two famous chimneys. He thinks of the majestic cruise ships of Tintin's adventures, the profiled yachts that parade in the Mediterranean. Then he starts using a computer with a drawing software for beginners. a palm grove, an overflow swimming pool (infinity pool), a spa, suites ... He gets caught up in the game, immerses himself in the archives, launches a blog open to all suggestions and then contacts the architects he has already consulted for his boats on the Seine. They looked at me smiling and said it was crazy, irrational, counter-current. But they're used to my delusions. "
Call me FRANCE again - will the mythical ship be back at sea
Juliette Greco was about to embark on the "France" in February 1962 - Source: AFP
The emergency is to secure the name. The "Paquebot France" trademark is registered at the Institut national de la propriété industrielle (INPI) thanks to the assistance of the French maritime cluster (association which gathers some 300 companies in the sector). Its president at the time, the shipowner Francis Vallat, a small man rather old, but full of audacity, immediately believed in the project FRANCE. "Apparently, it's a wild dream," he admits. But Didier is not a fool; in the river world, his reputation is excellent. Thanks to him, Didier Spade is in contact with marine finance specialists. He went to Saint-Nazaire where he met Arnaud le Joncour, the sales manager of the Chantiers de l' Atlantique STX France, who delivered the largest cruise ships. "We agreed to do two consulting assignments for him," he recalls. The project was given a lot of emphasis, worked on speed and stability of the boat. Little by little, le Nouveau FRANCE is taking shape on paper: designed to accommodate 800 passengers, it is 260 metres long, with eight decks, large cabins of at least 36 m² with a balcony, a few 63 m² suites (and an immense one of 400 m², at US$ 15,000.00 per day).
One evening in May 2011 in Paris, at the end of a concert at the Palais des Glaces, Spade will find Michel Sardou in his dressing room to tell him about his project. We took a glass of champagne and he said to me: "That's great, we have to go for it!" At the same time, the shipowner left to discover the world of cruising. He embarks his companion on the low-cost giants of COSTA in the Baltic, in the Mediterranean and on smaller and more luxurious ships, at some € 5,000.00 a week, like those of the COMPAGNIE DU PONANT. "I've been walking around, from the kitchens to the engine rooms," he explains. "I noticed everything with my laser meter, the height of the ceilings, the size of the cupboards, the size of the toilets, even the colour of the carpet and curtains. I discussed hours with passengers and crews, talked about the captain's famous arrival pot, the all-inclusive, the ports of call, and the treatment of waste on board, which concerns me. Because le Nouveau FRANCE can only be green!" With Elisabeth, he has a thousand ideas: call on Jean Paul Gaultier for uniforms, build two libraries - one for old books, another ultramodern with computers and Internet access, launch chic evenings in tuxedos and long dresses and theme cruises, such as when FRANCE offered its enchanting programs. The "Out of the Islands", "Joie de vivre" or "l’Impériale", organized for the 200th anniversary of Napoleon's birth.
Call me FRANCE again - will the mythical ship be back at sea
Didier Spade photographed for Vanity Fair by Thomas Humery, in the last boat he operates on the Seine, in April 2015 - Source: VANITY FAIR
It will be necessary to make the difference, because cruising is a well-marked world, dominated by four powerful giants, the youngest MSC CRUISES, ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISES Ltd, NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE and above all CARNIVAL CORPORATION, the leader (owner of COSTA: 80% of European customers). Le Nouveau FRANCE, like the old one, is aimed first at an American clientele, then Asian and European, likely to buy hexagonal luxury. Alain Ducasse, thanks to his many establishments in Paris, Monaco, Tokyo and Doha, knows the customers well. The cook, who was once consulted for the QUEEN ELIZABETH 2, brings his experience. "I will dream like you and with you, so that this ship will be the excellence of French know-how," he told Didier Spade. It sends, at its own expense, a dozen or so employees on observation missions on large cruise ships. Together with them, he designs a project for each of the eight restaurants (a gastronomic, an Italian, an Asian, a French brewery, a bistro of specialities that will vary according to the destinations). Renowned architects like Jean-Michel Wilmotte also graciously work on the floor. "We have sketched some of the living rooms and upper decks with noble materials, wood, leather, and special attention to light, to create warm atmospheres," confirms the designer, who has hundreds of projects in progress, including the Great Moscow, a skyscraper in Dallas, the Russian church in Paris, etc. Wilmotte has never built a boat, apart from a 54-metre private sailboat in New Zealand. "This project is very exciting for me,"he confides. I like the idea of this floating embassy across the world."
France will have a new liner named after her in 2015. This luxury ship, built in Saint-Nazaire, must be the showcase of French know-how and lifestyle. Le Figaro Magazine "joined this ambitious initiative until the inauguration of the new" France ". First episode, the genesis - Siurce: YouTube
Politicians are also excited, like former Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin and the current Prime Minister Manuel Valls (!2015), who congratulated Didier Spade on the discovery of his models in November 2014, at the bedrock of the economy and the sea. Nicolas Sarkozy, on the other hand, received him face-to-face in his offices on Miromesnil Street. "Count on me, this FRANCE is beautiful," he said. "I'll back you up."
Call me FRANCE again - will the mythical ship be back at sea
Didier Spade has already embarked renowned craftsmen such as chef Alain Ducasse or architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte in his project - Source: VANITY FAIR
The shipowner is also in contact with Bercy (the investment bankers working on the project met Emmanuel Macron) and with the Quai d' Orsay where he met Jacques Maillot, the founder of NOUVELLES FRONTIÈRES, now TUI Group, who was entrusted by Laurent Fabius with a mission to develop cruises. The authorities are enthusiastic but Didier Spade knows that the nerve of war is elsewhere. He still has to convince the financiers and it's the trickiest part. The total cost of the project is estimated at around € 450,000,000.00. He invests his savings, mortgages everything he owns (just under 3 million euros). Some 150 individuals, friends, former employees and lovers of FRANCE bought 2.5 million euros worth of bonds. A wealthy prince of the Gulf promised the equivalent. FREE's boss, Xavier Niel, is said to have pledged € 10,000,000.00 by a simple e-mail, without even meeting Spade. (This last one refuses to confirm: "I can't tell you anything about it, some people want their confidentiality. Don't put everything on the floor." But Vincent ­Bolloré and François Pinault have not yet replied to his advances. The Qatar Sovereign Wealth Fund declined them. Bernard Arnault would be interested - according to one of his relatives - but on the condition that he himself steered the project. So there is still not enough money to start construction.
The family equity founds and holding, Artémis, of the family Pinault is owning COMPAGNIE DE PONANT, which would not be too bad as "back-up", as it had already a well established sales structure. But if Arnault will or may invest - Pinault never joins, and vice-versa. There is a certain well feed rivalry between these two families. If Arnault will join, there is a certain possibility, that a luxury product, will become a common me-too product as LOUIS VUITTON. Bernard Arnault "democratized" the luxury brand for his benefits, and the luster was perdue ...
Call me FRANCE again - will the mythical ship be back at sea
A passenger card for a 1972 round-the-world cruise. The document allowed passengers who had come down during a stopover to board the aircraft - Source: VANITY FAIR
"The market is difficult," insists Arnaud le Joncour, the sales manager of Chantiers de l' Atlantique STX France in Saint-Nazaire. Our order books are full until 2020 and Didier Spade has to position himself in a very narrow sector. He has to rethink his dreams to make his boat economically viable. Didier Spade resolved to reduce the tonnage, the size of the cabins, the staff, the price of the stay (now set at € 500.00 per day with, in addition, the possibility of ­mini-cruises of 72 hours in the Mediterranean). Its only condition: "That FRANCE remains different from the others". He recruited Philippe Mahouin, who participated in the development of CLUB MED 2 before working as commercial director for the prestigious COMPAGNIE DU PONANT. A banker, Bertrand Grunenwald, formerly of the SOCIÉTÉ GÉNÉRALE, a specialist in the financing of cruise ships, joined him. "Investors will follow if the project has the support of a large company or hotel chain," he says. We are actively working on it. In the spring of 2015, he spent ten days in the United States to meet the heavyweights of the cruise ship industry. On the other side of the Atlantic, the sweet name FRANCE wakes up little nostalgia but some appetites. "I've been told everywhere that this is a great project," the banker said. But business is business; to get started, you must have the guarantee of at least 20,000 to 30,000 cruise passengers per year. Didier Spade, on the other hand, remains insensitive to pessimists' arguments. He always followed his dreams and life proved him right. Thirty months is the time of the ship's construction; he hopes it will begin in 2016. Soon, he swears, the coat of arms of the Spades will float at the top of FRANCE. And if Sardou is not free, he will convince Johnny Hallyday - his favourite singer - to "light the fire" on board for the first transatlantic race.
Getting heavy weights from the cruise industry to be convinced in a project, that contradict its own philosophy, and makes their own "used to" business strategies an absurdum, won´t join never. They are so used to its "einning strategy" they may not even be able wrapping their mind around.
And the above mentioned four magalodons in the business, weill definitely counteract any new competitor with frail financing, and sudddenly building spaces are not available, as the big threat the builders not constructing the vessel ...
To me, the most may know by now, is luxury on ships ending with a max of 500 passengers on board. the more passengers, even an exagerated design aproach may not help into the future if the passengers feel crowded on board, or the service crew is reduced for cost reasons.
The USP for le Nouveau FRANCE is his design and the luxury ... But Luxury means far more than a high price.
I for myself have a complain for the hull design - name me Kasandra:
Call me FRANCE again - will the mythical ship be back at sea
For this two seperated superstructure construction on the hull needs a higher stability in the hull than normal hull constructions, in the middel the hull has to be strengthend at high costs, that will make it more costintensive and needs a higher maintenance in the aftermath - Source: Mer et Marine
Compared to the first drawings I have seen the hull is hightend with two more decks, but will it be enough strengthenoing the hull structure
Call me FRANCE again - will the mythical ship be back at sea
Earlier rendering of Nouveau FRANCE - Source: LeNouveauFrance
The stern is open as in a modern day sailing yacht, it is a beautiful sight and will offer ample leisure activities ... but what if waves crash in on the stern? the stern is open as a huge barn door. Our oceans are not a bathtub, and the weather is not fine each day ... as our cruise broshures allways tell.
As a stern marina, that area is useless too. When a wave is running through from bow to stern - first the bow is rising, pressing down stern and marina and then it will rise ... steel can be hard hitting on a head, or boat ... a stern marina is not even a good idea on smaller yachts.
The area between the "funnel superstructures" may be a very stormy area, as for the sheer winds, when Le Nouveau FRANCE is sailing.
The lifeboats are hidden behind glasses on the lowest glass enclosed decks in the hull - when SOALS it is accepting, it will need a special emergency opening.
To me the new cruise vessel, le Nouveau FRANCE, is old mass market wine, even from the premium branch, in a new bottle. The core idea has been watered down by the mass market cruise industry and its mechanisms.
France will have a new liner named after FRANCE in 2015. This luxury ship, built in Saint-Nazaire, must be the showcase of French know-how and lifestyle. Le Figaro Magazine "joined this ambitious initiative until the inauguration of the new" France ". First episode, the genesis - Source: Youtube
Will le Nouveau FRANCE ever sail on the seas?
Will Didier Spade´s dream become a reality?

Design - How to design a retro-futuristic cruise ship for families with children



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