It seems that with all that has been happening lately, I have wandered off the beaten path of our tour of the SS France. Not to worry we are back on track and now heading down to Tourist Class, where dinner is on our minds!
If anyone were to read the current selection of books currently available to maritime aficionados on the SS. France one would be forgiven for thinking that the ship was all First Class. Many books rarely even mention the public spaces available to those not fortunate enough to be travelling First Class. So for maritime buff this can be a bit frustrating as there is so little out there. Travelling Tourist did not mean that you had to forsake any of the artistic and decorating savoir faire that First Class had. It only meant that rooms and spaces were more utilitarian in their approach and the art not as prolific. As mentioned before I felt that the Tourist Class Café Rive Gauche was one of the more adventurous rooms on the liner.
The Tourist Class Dining Room (Salle a Manger Versailles), even though less sumptuous in design than First Class was only one of two double deck height public spaces on the liner (the other being the First Class Salon Riviera). For tourist class passengers this was a welcome relief from the other single deck height rooms available to them. It also gave them the edge over those dining in First Class.
Designed and decorated by Marc Simon in tones of green, white and grey, Monsieur Simon made the most of the Polyrey and Formica he used. Formica walls were decoupaged with gold leaf abstract patterns, which softened the otherwise the clinical nature of formica.
The forward wall held a mural done in 14 engraved glass panels by Max Ingrand, as well as two tapestries, Les amoureux du printemps by Marc Saint-Saëns, and Paysage provençal by Auvigné.
Chairs were rather utilitarian in shape and upholstered in pale green leatherette. The reassuring thing is that the chairs used in Tourist Class look a little more comfortable for dining than the equivalents in First Class.
The room was perfectly suited to Tourist Class passengers who did not want the formality of First class. This was a room that reverberated with an elegance that was casual and relaxed.
For our younger passengers travelling tourist, there was a children's dining room attached to the main one. The room was furnished with bright coloured plastic chairs which were quite ahead in design, foretelling shapes and colours that would be used much later on in the decade.
After dinner we will head for towards the main salon for some after dinner dancing!