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Luxury Expedition - PONANT has reached 30 years

PONANT, France's number 2 cruise company and world leader in polar expeditions celebrates 30 years of existence. It was on 1 April 1988 that the adventure began in Nantes, where 14 young Merchant Navy officers aged 23 to 29, including Jean-Emmanuel Sauvée, still active as CEO, and Philippe Videau, decided to create the company, which first took the name COMPAGNIE des ÎLES du PONANT (it became COMPAGNIE du PONANT in 2009 and simply PONANT in 2014). PONANT is the only cruise company in France flying the Tricolore. by Earl of Cruise
based on an article by Vincent Groizeleau at Mer et Marine
The first ship, built in Villeneuve-la-Garenne, was born in 1991. It is the sailboat and cruise vessel LE PONANT, a modern three-masted ship of 85.5 meters long with 32 cabins, still in service. LE PONANT´s sails became the logo of PONANT. 
A second new unit, LE LEVANT (99.6 metres, 45 cabins, 92 passengers max.), left ALSTOM LEROUX NAVAL shipyards in Saint-Malo in 1998. Then came LE DIAMANT in 2004…

Un soir à bord du NORMANDIE dans le VIN & MARÉE Saint-Honoré

The NORMANDIE event, `Un soir à bord du NORMANDIE´, at VIN&MARÉE Saint-Honoré, Feb.25th, 2017, organized and hosted by Paris Art Deco Society. The VIN&MARÉE Saint-Honoré is a restaurant de poissons & fruits de mer - What better location could be found for honoring la Déesse de la Mer le NORMANDIE ? ... and when combined with excellent food and brilliant sea food and wine ... the better! ... vous voilà parti ...
le Normandie and coat of arms of la Normandie - own collection, copy

When entering the location, the restaurant VIN&MARÉE, 165 Rue Saint Honoré, 75001 Paris, you are caught by the art-replicas of those that have been on board the true beauty of la Déesse de la Mer, le Vaisseau de Lumière, le NORMANDIE.
by Earl of Cruise
On the groundfloor you are greeted not only by welcoming waiters, or the owner, but too and foremost by La Paix, a smaller seized copy of the statue La Paix of Louis Dejean which stood originally in the First Class Dining Room of le NORMANDIE, but too by two panel replicas. On the right side one of Jean Théodore Dupas´ `verre églomisé´ or `reverse painting on glass´ on Saint Gobain Glass, which he created once for le NORMANDIE´s Grand Salon. And the second on the opposite, left, of Jean Dunand, a copy of Jean Dunand´s work covering the fire door to the Grand Salon. Unfortunately as La Paix, it is a smaller seized replica. But non the less impressive and imaginative ...
Earl of Cruise
La Paix de Louis Dejean, smaller seized copy at VIN & MARÉE Saint Honorée - © own photography
Vin et Marée, Normandie
Jean Théodore Dupas `verre églomisé´ copy, detail of `The Rape of Europe´ / `Le Viol de l'Europe´ - © own photography
Jean Dunand copy of `The Chariot of Aurora´ / `Le Char d´Aurore´ - © own photography

Never the less, I was electrified, enthused and joyed to see these artworks - I felt as beeing set back in time and could imagine me on board le NORMANDIE ... 
Then after climbing the curved staircase to the upper deck, pardon floor, you are accompanied on this staircase by, it seems, sheer uncountable photographies of le NORMANDIE, its passengers and crew. After reaching the main, the first floor ... ehm deck, your eyes are darting through the vast room and see another Dupas panel and more NORMANDIE photographies. 
Normandie Vin et Marée
The dining on the first floor of VIN & MARÉE Saint Honoré - © Le P´tit Photographe
The room is dominated by the copy of Dupas´ panel `The Birth of Aphrodite´ / `La Naissance de l'Aphrodite´
You instantly feel the urge to explore ... But during "normal" opening hours, please do not disturb too much the guests ... they will not be too pleased while they are enjoying their delicious, most seafood and fuits de mer, dishes, when you toumble around between them, the tables, the waiters and try to get the best angle for shooting the photo displayed or only looking, or the other wonderful replicas. 
Le Char de Poseidon à bord du NORMANDIE - courtsey cloured by Daryl LeBlanc
So when reaching the first floor, the upper deck, you are in this vast room which is dominated on the back wall by a `verre églomisé´ work, again a replic of Jean Théodore Dupas for the Grand Salon of NORMANDIE. It does not take to much of imagination and you can feel what impression these huge `verre églomisé´ have had on the sophisticated passengers of first class of le Vaisseau de Lumière, le NORMANDIE, or those of the 2nd and 3rd class, who dared sneak into First Class, and tried taking a look at the art of First Class and then the Grand Salon. For those, I can imagine, it must have been intimidating. The light reflecting in these Dupas `verre églomisé´ is still in the replic breathtaking.
When empty, seldom on normal opening hours, but when we meet here for our event, we all could walk around for a look at the marvels, which are displayed at the walls - like a museum, no a shrine. When I was able talking to the owner I learned that he is one of those NORMANDIE aficionados, that we are, who gathered in VIN&MARÉE Saint-Honoré.
Guests of Un Soir à Bord du NORMANDIE, dressed in 1930s - © Le P´tit Photographe

They have created a beautiful venue, which is renowned for the freshness of its ingredients and generous servings. The speciality is as said, poissons & fruits de mer, accompanied by wonderful wines. VIN&MARÉE Saint-Honoré is ideal for lunch or dinner - after a show at the Opera House. You must enjoy the elegant setting of VIN&MARÉE Saint-Honoré, which is located in the heart of Paris, a few steps from the Comédie Française, the Louvre and the gardens of Palais Royal.
But back to the NORMANDIE eveneing ...
We do have now end of April, so why a review about an event the was in the end of February, 2 month ago?
If you are a ship lover and your enjoying watching what we're doing in regards to the Aurora then I strongly urge you to fallow us down this path. I promise you that if you doit will blow your mind.
On that evening I did choose as entrée the Foie de Canard au nature with compotée de pommes à la cannelle. As main course I took Filet de bœuf avec sauce au poivre vert ... `I was not in a fish mood that evening´ ... My desert was then Crêpe Suzette aux fruits rouges. It was most delicious and accompanied by a wonderful wine.

Menue Card of the evening

I was attending this event not only for presenting the idea of recreating le NORMANDIE in 3D but too for meeting people related to NORMANDIE and those whom I befriended on Facebook who are `bewitched´ also by NORMANDIE.
Amoung the attendants have been the daughter of Carlos Sarrabezolles, the creator of Le Génie de la Mer, Mme Geneviève Sarrabezolles - Appert. The statue, once intended to be installed on board NORMANDIE, but was not in the end, because of its weight, is now located in Marseille in the front of CMA CGM, which is the successor of Cie. Gle. TRANSATLANTIQUE.

Le Génie de la Mer par Carlos Sarrabezolles - © own photography
The bronze sculpture was commissioned by COMPAGNIE GÉNÉRALE TRANSATLANTIQUE (CGT) at Carlos Sarrabezolles in 1934 to decorate the rear deck of Normandy in front of the Salon Grill. The artist imagined a Meermann, a trident in his left hand, and a shell, like a cornucopia, in his right hand; His legs end in a fishtail. Three dolphins dive behind him in the stylized sea - Le Génie de la Mer.
Le Génie de la Mer has a total of 7.15 m up to the top of the trident´s peak, and was cast in bronze. Unfortunately prevented its colossal weight and the vibrations, caused by the first propellers, to install Le Génie de la Mer in his original position on the ship ... a great disappointment for Carlos Sarrabezolles!
Le Génie de la Mer, however, later was presented in the Paris International Exposition of 1937. Le Génie de la Mer was then positioned on a balcony of the Gare Maritime in Le Havre. Le Génie de la Mer was for some time before the building of the ministery of Marine Marchand. Later, Le Génie de la Mer was loaned by Compagnie Generale Transatlantique to the Marine Museum, from 1943-1948, which Le Génie de la Mer most likely saved before its destruction during the German bombing of Le Havre. Le Génie de la Mer was back in Le Havre in 1952, the sculpture then decorated the Esplanade of the Gare Maritime. Subsequently, Le Génie de la Mer later was set up at various locations in Le Havre to be finally set up on 15 November 2002 in Marseille in front of the CMA-CGM Headquarters, CGT's heir. The large bronze statue has since been adorned by Marseille, and with the new address of the CMA-CGM moved Le Génie de la Mer to the forecourt of the new company center, a building complex designed by Zaha Hadid for the CMA-CGM.
The son of Raymond Delamarre, Jean-Francois Delamarre and his wife. Atelier Ramond Delamarre. had been at my table, and we had a wonderful conversation, and in the end he gave me a book about his father´s work, where a huge photography displays his bas relief, which he made for the First Class dining room of NORMANDIE.

It was a wonderful conversation about Art Deco in general and his fathers works in special. And I was learning tremendously ...
And after befriending Pascal Ives Laurent, Andrés Sorin, Julien Sanchez and Arnaud Gaudry on Facebook, I was able meeting these guys in real life and making new friends during the evening. The most attendants had been dressed according to the time set and honor of NORMANDIE in the style of the 1930s.
Pascal Yves Laurent during his speach - © Le P´tit Photographe

The evening was organized by the Paris Art Deco Society whose president Pascal is. He was the first who held a speech, about Art Deco in general and the NORMANDIE as its epitome. He was followed by Loic Benot and Daorian Danllongeville, Directeur du Patrimone of FRENCH LINES. FRENCH LINES was created in 1995 for the conservation and promotion of French shipping company heritage, in particular, that inherited from the COMPAGNIE GÉNÉRALE TRANSATLANTIQUE, MESSAGERIES MARITIMES, CGM and SNCM. FRENCH LINES has too copyrighted on its and the heritage behalf a vast number of articles. He informed in his speach about FRENCH LINES its doings and coming projects. Dorian was too at our table, as well the prsident of Art Deco Dublin, Catherine Thibault with her husband.
Me, Ms. Catherine Thibault, Art Deco Dublin, and husband - © Le P´tit Photographe

In a previous article I wrote about the coming cardbord model of publsiher HMV / FENTENS PRODUCTIONS, as I started an articles series about le Vaisseau de Lumière, le NORMANDIE. This is a starter to my book idea about NORMANDIE, which will be printed in three languages - German - as there is only one, recently published, English - as the most are capable of understanding and French - as le paquebot NORMANDIE is created in France, and was France afloat.
Dorian Dallongeville of FRENCH LINES holding his speach - © Le P´tit Photographe

And after the speach and and as following discussion with attendants, it was my turn, my speach, in shich I in first place wanted to promote the 3D idea, Virtual Reality, for NORMANDIE.
What is Virtual Reality, or short VR?
When you look at the world around you with your own eyes and listen with your own ears, you see everything, hear everything, from all directions, and you feel the depth, all this gives you a sense of presence. True Virtual Reality should be just that - a complete, human immersive experience, that lets you feel like you’re really there. In other words, a 3D, 360 degrees, high definition video and audio.
This will allow us to bring you to NORMANDIE or at least "fool your senses" into believing that you are here on NORMANDIE. You will have then the chance touring NORMANDIE in VR and allowing you to join in like no one ever has before. You can feel like being a passenger on board la Deesse de la Mer.
Loic Benot, Paris Art Deco Society, toasting to NORMANDIE - © Le P´tit Photographe

What do you need? A smart phone or a computer and a VR headset that will cost you between $4 clear up to $500, depending on the quality you choose. Once you try this, you will be hooked.
NORMANDIE in 3D Virtual Reality.......

NORMANDIE 3D virtual reality project - my speach hold in French, translated in English:

We are all here today, together to give honor to the most beautiful, most prestigeous and most advanced vessel from a bygone era, that once graced the Northatlantic  - le Vaisseau de Lumière, le NORMANDIE, the man made Deesse de la Mer. A vessel created by genius of Vladimr Yourkevitch and invented by the foresight of president John Dal Piaz (1920-1928) and later Henry Cangardel.

NORMANDIE was the essence of France´s engineering, art and design, craftsmanship, lifestyle and was not only reflecting, but was France - la Grande Nation.

Critics of NORMANDIE do critizise the most perfect and nearly ideal oceanliner as they cannot accept above mentioned facts and know, that the fiercest competitor to NORMANDIE, did fall behind, or to be blunt, was of Celtic Stoneage times.

NORMANDIE was and is stnding alone on the top level of fame. And NORMANDIE still had the potential to gather back the Blue Riband from the rival.

This icon of ART DECO, still today is, was the peak of chic, needs to be remembered and praized.

And each and everybody should have the chance experiencing  this wonder and marvel of French and European shipbuilding.


A rebirth of NORMANDIE in 3D to enable everyone a virtual walk through the reflection of France, our beloved NORMANDIE.

With modern CPUs and Software, we were able to create a outstanding and nearly livelike digital copy, a virtual version of NORMANDIE. This digital could be used at home, with a modern PC and Monitor or, and that’s of course another fantastic perspective, with actual VR Devices. It could be more than a  version for home users, like a digital installation in museums and show rooms, like Argumented reality, f.e. with Microsoft Hololens, where users can get in touch with a ultra detailed and photorealistic NORMANDIE, that brings back this piece of luxury design and art of engineering out of history, directly into your homes, exhibitions, and showrooms in a never before seen way.

Let me play a bit with expectations. Let us start f.e. in the spotless machine rooms, which inspired Fred Astaire to his famed machine room dancing scene in `SHALL WE DANCE´, then climbing up via the the 3rd and 2nd class quarters and salons, offering more luxuries than some competitors offered in their First class ... and finally walking through the grand salons and the vast dining room, getting the feeling that passengers on must have had, when they had their Entré.

I remember the gleaming in the eyes of my aunt, who travelled on NORMANDIE several times, when she started talking about her voyages on this grand society stage and met those famed stars, VIPs and politicians that used to sail on NORMANDIE.

Earl of Cruise
La Deesse de la Mer, NORMANDIE, speeding to NY photographed from a plane - © pathé, own screenshot dorm youtube
NORMANDIE looked like something from another planet compared to NORMANDIE´s contemporaries, and rendered every single ocean liner obsolete overnight. It took decades before anyone even came close to catching up with this ship, technically and with its thrilling lines ... And they are still trying. Tim Ro
Nous sommes tous ici ce soir pour honorer le navire le plus beau, le plus prestigieux et le plus moderne d'un monde qui n'est plus; le joyau de l'Atlantique Nord - le Vaisseau de Lumière, le NORMANDIE, la Déesse de la Mer; une déesse construite par les hommes. Conçu par le génie de Vladimir Yourkévitch, inventé par le prévoyant président de la COMPAGNIE GÉNÉRALE TTRANSATLANTIQUE, John Dal Piaz (1920-1928) et terminé par Henri Cangardel, NORMANDIE fut l'essence même du génie technique, de l'art et du design français. Il incarna le savoir-faire, le style de la France, dont il ne fut pas seulement le reflet; il FUT la France - la Grande Nation.
On critiqua le NORMANDIE, qui était pourtant un paquebot proche de la perfection, un navire presque idéal. Ses critiques ne pouvaient se rendre à l'évidence: son plus grand concurrent était en retard, et, au risque de paraître brutal, la conception de celui-ci datait de l'âge de la pierre… celtique.
NORMANDIE fut et reste seul au sommet de sa renommée, et il eût pu ravir encore le Ruban Bleu à son rival. Il faut se souvenir de cette icône de l'ART DECO, de ce sommet de l'élégance, et lui rendre gloire. Il faudrait que chacun pût découvrir cette merveille de la construction navale française et européenne.
En ressuscitant ce grand paquebot en 3D afin de pouvoir faire une promenade virtuelle sur ce reflet de la France, sur notre bien-aimé NORMANDIE.
Avec les processeurs et les logiciels modernes, nous avons pu créer une copie numérique exceptionnelle et presque vivante, une version virtuelle de NORMANDIE. Ce numérique pourra être utilisé à la maison, sur un ordinateur mais aussi d’une autre façon vraiment fantastique : des appareils en réalité augmentée (V.R). En plus d’une utilisation « à la maison’ » cela pourrai être visualisé dans des musées et salles d'exposition grâce par exemple à Microsoft Hololens, où les utilisateurs pourraient découvrir un NORMANDIE ultra détaillé et réaliste, qui ramènerait de l’histoire ce chef d’œuvre de design de luxe dans l'art de l'ingénierie, d'une manière jamais vécue auparavant.
Permettez-moi de vous mettre l'eau à la bouche: commençons par les impeccables salles des machines, qui inspirèrent Fred Astaire dans sa célèbre scène de danse dans la blanche salle des machines d'un navire dans `SHALL WE DANCE´; montons ensuite vers les cabines et salons des troisième et deuxième classes, qui étaient plus luxueux que les premières classes de certains concurrents ... Parcourons enfin les grands salons, arrivons dans la vaste salle à manger, et ressentons le même frisson que les passagers devaient éprouver au moment de leur entrée remarquée dans ce magnifique espace.
Je me souviens des étincelles dans le regard de ma tante, qui voyagea plusieurs fois sur le NORMANDIE, quand elle commençait à parler de ses voyages sur le grand théâtre du luxe qu'était ce navire, quand elle racontait ses rencontres avec les stars, les personnalités et les hommes d'état qui naviguaient sur le NORMANDIE.
Earl of Cruise, translated by Andrès Sorin
Screenshot of my blogsite / article about DIGITIZATION of NORMANDIE
Please ask any questions that you like.
Please partake in the poll on the left menue in my blog if you are interested.


VIN et MARÉE Saint-Honoré

165 rue Saint-Honoré
75001 Paris
Tel.. +33 (0) 1 42 86 06 96


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