French Lines was created from the historical collections belonging to the largest French shipping companies, in order to promote the history of the Merchant Navy. The vast richness of this collection continues to grow, enabling a more comprehensive understanding and the broadest possible knowledge of this fascinating maritime history.

Donations are now the main means of extending the collections and we would like to thank our many contributors for their generosity.

What items is French Lines interested in?

French Lines is interested in all donations related to the history of the Merchant Navy! We receive all kinds of donations, such as: family souvenirs; shipping company archives; photographs and films; objects; instruments and uniforms used by onshore or seagoing personnel; material accounts involving all aspects of shipping company activities; artwork depicting liners and cargo ships; furniture; decor and tableware used on board vessels, etc. the list is long and by no means complete!

Here are various examples of the many donations that were recently entered into the collections:

  • 2 first-class children’s dining chairs from the liner Liberté
  • 16 menus from the liner Paris
  • 1 concert program from the liner Félix Roussel
  • 2 cufflinks decorated with the crest from the liner Normandie
  • 1 personnel file regarding the career of the chief engineer
  • 1 lithograph print from the liner Panama
  • 4 decorative panels belonging to a first-class cabin from the liner France
  • 1 poster depicting the ferry Danielle Casanova
  • 1 set of photographs from the advertising department of the French Line agency in New York
  • 1 third-class earthenware egg cup from the liner Normandie
  • 2 ornamental tiles from the Messageries agency in Saigon
  • 1 passenger list from the liner France
  • 1 baby bib from the liner Flandre
  • 1 set of letters between French Line, the Reverend Père Bernardet and several contractors or artistes concerning refurbishments for the chapel of the liner Liberté
  • 1 white jacket from a dining room waiter on board the liner France
  • 1 Guide Bleu « Les grandes croisières en Méditerranée orientale »
  • 2 matchbooks from the Messageries Maritimes
  • 1 centennial brochure from the Compagnie Générale Transatlantique
Would you like to contribute to enhancing this heritage for future generations? What is involved?

All proposals are carefully reviewed by scientific staff who assess their relevance in relation to what is already included in the collections. This procedure involves close cooperation between the French Lines team and the potential donor to determine the most appropriate solution for each donation proposed. If it is accepted, a donation letter will formalize your submission.

The items, works and documents included in the French Lines collections shall be endorsed as heritage items. They will then be patiently inventoried, described and photographed; and later stored and kept at the reserves in Le Havre. Some items may also undergo restoration. As they have an inalienable status, which means they cannot be sold, donations may be studied, exhibited and lent throughout France and abroad, alongside other countless objects and become part of an exceptional heritage collection.

Would you like to make a donation to French Lines and pass on a part of maritime history for the benefit of public interest?

Please get in touch!