A STORY THAT GETS BETTER WITH AGE, JUST LIKE CHEESE

The story begins over eight decades ago when, for the first time ever, French Brie crossed the Atlantic Ocean, aboard the famous ocean liner ‘Ile de France’. A truly exciting moment for French cheese lovers, wouldn't you say?

 

This was not a coincidence: ‘Ile de France’ was the first passenger liner to have refrigeration. However she was unique for other reasons as well: ‘Ile 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.

 

It comes as no surprise, therefore, that the Ile de France cheese brand was created in tribute to that 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 is 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 ‘Ile de France’ liner, French cheese could not reach US soil because of refrigeration issues.

 

At that moment the Schratter brothers enter the scene.

 

The brothers immediately recognised the importance of refrigeration on ‘Ile de France’ and, in 1936, organised the transport of French Brie to New York. 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 – the Golden Age of Hollywood.

‘Ile 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 dramatic. During World War II, the ‘Ile de France’ played its part with the Allied Forces, transporting hundreds of thousands of Allied troops and returning them home after the war. No wonder she was awarded US military and maritime medals.

 

Then came a heroic role in 1956 when ‘Ile de France’ responded to an SOS from the Italian liner ‘Andrea Doria’ 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. In fact, the French liner took part in other marine rescues as well, but the ‘Doria remains the most spectacular!

 

After such a remarkable life, she ended her career as a star…used in a Hollywood romantic war movie. Even the title (‘The Last Voyage’) was prophetic…

WHAT WAS LIFE LIKE ON ILE DE FRANCE?

Imagine waking aboard the ‘Ile de France’ liner. Your First-Class cabin is distinctive, decorated in its own style. Just like all other First-Class cabins, it is sumptuous and comfortable.

 

You could head to breakfast in the First-Class dining room, or choose one of the four private dining rooms provided for small, more intimate gatherings.

 

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

 

Next, coffee with friends in the café on deck is a good option, chatting and taking in the bracing scent of sea air. It is a good moment to go through the printed daily programme of activities aboard: there are different shows and concerts each day.

 

You might then go to the shooting gallery, or watch your friends do boxing practice in the gym, or book a massage.

 

Before dinner a little shopping in ‘Le Bon Marché Paris’ could be in order, and then a visit to the hairdresser's. Perhaps you should leave the sauna for another day. Why rush? Take your time and enjoy everything. It is all part of the French Art de Vivre celebrated throughout the ship.

 

At dinner time, the magnificent Art Deco interiors are always an inspiration – but even more importantly, the multiple course dinner is a feast for both eyes and taste buds. The cheeses...Oh Mon Dieu!

 

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

 

The traversée on ‘Ile de France’ is unforgettable, and you find that you have fallen in love with French gastronomy and Art de Vivre.

A CULINARY TIME MACHINE FOR GOURMETS

Any true gourmet finds their imagination tickled to learn that there were as many as 100 French cooks on board the ‘Ile de France’ liner!

 

We should also note that the evening menu on ‘Ile de France’ listed no less than two hundred and seventy-five separate items! The multiple course meals were accompanied by the best champagnes and carefully selected French wines. And when it comes to 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 food was impeccable. The service was outstanding. This was a floating kingdom for all bon vivants!

 

There is a famous anecdote about the maiden voyage of the ‘Ile de France'. 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 those glorious dinners aboard ‘Ile de France’. French cuisine has evolved but the passion to create exquisite food with only the best ingredients remains the same. Another thing also has not changed – French people take the time to enjoy great food. So typical!

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 with 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 is an abbreviation of Art Décoratifs.

 

How can we best 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 us go back in time...Put on some jazz. Pour yourself a tempting cocktail or other 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 just a few years earlier, creating a craze for Egyptian motifs. What a wonderful fusion!

 

The result: straight lines, bold shapes and glossy colours. 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 the building round the corner from you 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 and were thrilled to discover so many extravagant, sophisticated Art Deco buildings in all parts of the globe.

 

We will share a few examples here, but read the list just as an inspiration for your further discovery.

 

As Art Deco began in France we should start with a few examples there. ‘La Coupole’, a Parisian brasserie, is considered to be a true temple of Art Deco, and classified as a historic monument. Also in Paris, the ‘Palais de Tokyo’ (Modern and Contemporary Art Museum).

 

Next, let us head over to England: the ‘Beaufort Bar’, the prestigious ‘Savoy Hotel’ and the ‘Hoover building’ (Grade II listed).

 

Now, if we fly over to the United States, we must take in 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: the Bucharest ‘ArCub’, the Tokyo ‘Metropolitan Teien Art Museum’, the Moscow Underground stations, the Seoul ‘Central Temple of Cheondogyo’, the Caracas ‘Teatro Junin’, the Cape Town ‘Mutual Heights Building’, the Singapore ‘Parkview Square Building’, and the Central Rail station in Rio de Janeiro – and the list could go on.

 

After reading everything here, and searching online for these buildings, you too will no doubt fall in love with the bold, opulent, unique style that is Art Deco.