Gangplank Rebuilt

One of the best advertising slogans of the 20s and 30s was "the longest gangplank in the world." It meant the French Line—and Gallic cuisine, Gallic wines, service flavored with I-kiss-your-hand-Madame. Today the luxurious gangplank is abbreviated. Normandie, Champlain, Paris are all gone. Only lie de France, queen of luxury, and the slow-going De Grasse are left. Of the line's 53 freighters only 22 are still afloat. But the gangplank is to be rebuilt.

In Manhattan last week, French Line President Jean Marie announced a five-year-plan to do so. Seven liners of varying tonnage, but none as large as the...

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