January 23, 2009 / 4:35 PM / 10 years ago

Ocean liner memorabilia sails off to Paris auction

Part of the bow of the former "France" ocean liner is lifted by crane into the courtyard of Artcurial auction house in Paris, January 23, 2009. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

PARIS (Reuters Life!) - The prow of a luxury ocean-going liner of the 1960s sailed down the Champs-Elysee in Paris on Friday to a temporary berth at auctioneers’ Artcurial where it will be sold next month.

Early risers in Paris could see the 3.5 meter, 4 tonne bow of the “France,” the former star of the Compagnie Generale Transatlantique shipping line, being transported slowly down the famous avenue before being hauled into the Artcurial courtyard.

“It was the most beautiful liner in the world, it was a dream for a lot of people,” said Jacques Dworczak, a shipping enthusiast who helped save the bow from the wreckers when the “France,” later renamed the “Blue Lady,” was broken up in 2006.

The bow will be the center of an auction of memorabilia from the ship described as “the pride of France” by the weekly Paris Match when the ship was launched by former President Charles de Gaulle in 1960.

“It’s a piece saved from the waters which looked destined to end at the bottom of the waters,” Francis Briest, vice president of Artcurial, told Reuters Television.

Some 500 items from the opulent fittings of the old ship will be on sale at the auction on February 8-9, from lamps, chimney covers and tables to parts of a staircase.

Writing by James Mackenzie, editing by Paul Casciato

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