In 1935, France launched the pride of that nation by putting into service the tubo-electric propelled S.S. Normandie. The ocean liner was the fastest ship at the time and most the luxurious ever launched by France. Up to that point the British and the Italians held the major share of the market on luxury and modern ocean-liners. The Normandie made 139 transatlantic crossings and set a number of records for speed.
When France fell to the Germany the United States seized the Normandie and renamed her the Lafayette. They stripped the liner of all her grandeur and started to convert her into a troop ship for transporting American soldiers in World War II. In 1942 as that work was proceeding, the ship caught fire in New York harbor. Here is the newsreel of that fire.