A STORY THAT GETS BETTER WITH AGE, JUST LIKE CHEESE

This story began over eight decades ago when French Brie crossed the Atlantic Ocean for the first time ever aboard the illustrious Île de France liner. A truly exciting moment for French cheese lovers, wouldn't you say?

 

This was not a coincidence: Île de France was the first ocean ship to have refrigeration. But she was unique for other reasons as well, Île de France was a trendsetter, with Art Deco interiors and the best French cuisine on the Atlantic. Everything on board was made and done in celebration of French Art de Vivre.

 

So it comes as no surprise that the Ile de France cheese brand was created in tribute to the glorious liner. The brand allows people all around the world to discover and enjoy exquisite French cheese crafted and selected by French cheesemakers.

 

But that’s not all: just like the ship, our brand is an ambassador of French spirit. Its mission is to spread French Art de Vivre and gastronomy to all parts of the world.

WHO BROUGHT BRIE TO THE USA FOR THE FIRST TIME?

Have you ever heard of the Schratter brothers? Probably not. But they played a major role in the history of French cheese!

 

Who were they? Alfred Schratter lived in New York and imported European food products. His brother Julius stayed in Europe to source, select and buy food products to be exported to the USA.

 

Until the launch of the Île de France ship, French cheese could not reach US soil because of refrigeration issues.

 

At that moment the Schratter brothers enter the scene.

 

The brothers immediately recognized the importance of refrigeration on Île de France and organized the transport of French Brie to New York in 1936. A truly historic date for French cheese. Merci beaucoup, Alfred and Julius!

ILE DE FRANCE: A STAR WITH MANY ROLES

The liner was born a star in the 1930s, at the "Golden Age" of Hollywood.

Île de France became famous for her first role: an innovative, elegantly decorated ocean liner that offered exquisite French gastronomy and celebrated French Art de Vivre. 

 

The ship's second role was a dramatic one. During WWII, Île de France joined the Allied Forces and transported hundreds of thousands of Allied troops and brought them home after the war. No wonder she was awarded US military and maritime medals.

 

Then came a heroic role in 1956 when Île de France responded to an SOS from the Italian Andrea Doria ship that was sinking. A total of 753 passengers were saved in a six-hour rescue. This is considered one of the greatest marine rescues in history. Truth be told, the French liner took part in other marine rescues as well but the Doria remains the most spectacular one!

 

After such an astonishing life, she ended her career as a star … used in a Hollywood war and romance movie. Even the title (The Last Voyage) was prophetic…

WHAT WAS LIFE ON ÎLE DE FRANCE LIKE?

Imagine waking aboard the Île de France liner. Your First-Class cabin is distinctive, decorated in its own style. Just like all other First-Class cabins. It's sumptuous and comfortable.

 

You can head to breakfast to the First-Class dining room or go to one of the four private dining rooms for small and more intimate gatherings.

 

After that, you may go for a stroll on the deck or choose to play any of the games and sports available. Children have their own games and a merry-go-round.

 

A coffee with friends in the café on the deck is a good option to chat and take in the fresh scent of sea air. It’s a good moment to go through the printed daily program of activities aboard: there are different shows and concerts each day.

 

You can then choose to go to the shooting gallery, watch your friends train boxing or book a massage.

 

Before dinner, shopping in “Le Bon Marché Paris” and a visit to the hairdresser's are in order. You can go to the sauna another day. Why rush? Just take your time and enjoy everything. Isn't that part of the French Art de Vivre being celebrated throughout the ship?

 

At dinner time, the magnificent interiors are always an inspiration to see. But even more importantly: the several course dinner is a feast for your eyes and taste buds. The cheeses...Oh mon Dieu!

 

After a concert and dancing, you return to your cabin. As you drift to sleep, you ponder taking up French lessons.

The "traversée" on Île de France is unforgettable, and you've fallen in love with French gastronomy and Art de Vivre.

CULINARY TIME MACHINE FOR GOURMETS

The imagination of any true gourmet is tickled when they learn that there were as many as 100 French cooks on board the Île de France liner!

 

Let's also say that Île de France listed no less than two hundred and seventy five separate items nightly! Obviously, these were several course meals accompanied by the best champagnes and carefully selected French wines. Speaking about alcohol: her bar was claimed to be the largest afloat.

The culinary artists aboard used only the finest ingredients to create a perfect harmony of tastes and textures. The presentation of the food was impeccable. The service was lavish. This was a floating kingdom for all “bons vivants”!

There is a famous anecdote about Île de France's maiden voyage. One particular lady complained to the captain that the ship was neither the biggest nor the fastest at the time. The captain's reply was really classy: "No, madame, but neither is the Ritz..."

 

Many years have passed since these glorious dinners aboard Île de France and French cuisine has evolved but the passion to create exquisite food with only the best ingredients remains the same! Another thing has not changed: French people take the time to enjoy great food. So typical, isn't it?

ART DECO 101

Now, imagine an International Arts Exhibition that had such a powerful ripple effect that it changed everything in design and architecture. Almost overnight.

That is exactly what happened after the International Exhibition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Arts (Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes) held in Paris in 1925.

Art Deco began. And yes, it's an abbreviation of "Art Décoratifs".

What’s the best way to describe Art Deco? Art historians cannot agree on a single, definitive answer. But one thing is certain: Art deco is fun! Why? Because it is bold, exotic and exuberant. Imagine dull design or architecture. Well, Art Deco is the complete opposite.

 

Let's go back in time... Put on some jazz. Prepare a nice cocktail or refreshing drink and come along on a journey with us.

 

Art Deco was inspired by Art Nouveau, Bauhaus, Cubism, Constructivism, Parisian Fauvism and all things Egyptian. Remember: the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb happened several years earlier and it created a craze for Egyptian motifs. What a wonderful fusion!

The result: straight lines, bold shapes and glossy colors. Superior materials and finishes. Endless variations and combinations.

You can see and feel a special energy in Art Deco design and architecture. That may be because it was an expression of an early-20th-century belief in technology and progress.

Art Deco is an eclectically beautiful style that has become one of the most popular aesthetics to date. The Ile de France logo and identity were inspired by this artistic movement. And we love it!

 

ART DECO IS ALL AROUND US

Did you know that that building around the corner of your street is Art Deco? Well, not literally but there are magnificent Art Deco buildings in almost every city around the world.

 

Do you think the Empire State Building in New York is fabulous? There you go. That is an excellent example of Art Deco architecture.

 

We are fascinated by Art Deco (more about that in "Art Deco 101") and we were thrilled to discover so many extravagant and sophisticated Art Deco buildings in all parts of the globe.

 

We will share a few examples here. Read this list as an inspiration for your further discovery.

 

Since Art Deco began in France, let's start there with a few examples: "La Coupole", a Paris brasserie, considered as a true temple of Art Deco. Classified as a historical monument. Also in Paris, the Palais de Tokyo (Modern and Contemporary Art Museum).

 

Next, let’s head over to England: The Beaufort Bar, the prestigious Savoy Hotel and The Hoover building (listed as of special interest).

Let's fly now to the United States to a very special place: the Miami Beach Art Deco Historic District. It is made up of 800+ Art Deco buildings and structures built between 1923 and 1943. It is so spectacular to see and visit that there are official walking tours!

Then we travel to China: the magnificent Fairmont Peace Hotel, built over 80 years ago.

 

The list continues: Bucharest (ArCub), Tokyo (Metropolitan Teien Art Museum), Moscow (metro stations), Seoul (Central Temple of Cheondogyo), Caracas (Teatro Junin), Cape Town (Mutual Heights Building), Singapore (The Parkview Square Building), the Central Rail station in Rio de Janeiro and it goes on and on.

 

After reading this and searching online for these buildings you will most probably fall in love with this opulent, bold and unique style.