”Voyage to the Mediterranean”

”Voyage to the Mediterranean”Inside two bays of the former submarine base, Escal’Atlantic in Saint-Nazaire, on the French Atlantic coast, turns its visitors into passengers and takes them on a voyage through the saga of the glamorous transatlantic liners. Over three levels and 3,500 square metres of exhibition space, Escal’Atlantic re-creates the atmosphere and the interiors of these legendary ships, from the cabins to the captain’s bridge, the sun deck, the engine room, the emigrants’ quarters and of course the elegant dining room with its red-carpeted staircase. The huge hull of this imaginary liner, fascinating archive films, photos and documents, authentic pieces of furniture or works of art from various liners, and even an evacuation drill await passengers in this unique place where they relive all the emotions of a transatlantic crossing… without ever leaving the harbour! An unforgettable experience, and a very lively way to discover the world of ocean liners.

Until December 31, 2008, Escal’Atlantic embarks its passengers on a voyage around the Mediterranean Sea, towards the shores of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Turkey, Greece, Italy. This is not a modern day cruise, however: what is told here is the story of vessels, maritime routes and ports of call in the Mediterranean in the late 19th / early 20th century.

Escal’Atlantic takes you to a time when Egypt was “the” fashionable destination, when regular shipping lines linked Marseille to French colonies in North Africa, when countless steamers plied the Mediterranean between Alexandria, Beirut, Constantinople, transporting passengers and all kind of goods. The whole “liner” is themed, with photos, documents, posters, precious collection pieces… In each display area, visitors find information in a very lively style: the texts are presented as though they were extracts from a traveller’s diary , a traveller who claims to have undertaken numerous voyages all around the Mediterranean and who, in a certain way, has “seen it all”.

”Voyage to the Mediterranean”The archive films shown on the more than 20 screens of the display areas are of particular interest. Dating from the 1920’s and 30’s, they show for example the harbour of Constantinople (as Istanbul was still called at the time); a shore excursion in Venice; intrepid tourists on camels riding towards the Egyptian pyramids; voyagers enjoying a surprisingly modern form of tourism in the Sahara complete with luxury hotels and excursions in 6-wheel automobiles… Not to be missed: the “Moorish lounge”, a totally new area on the upper deck of Escal’Atlantic, wgich is both a ver attractive setting and an ingenious way of getting across even more information and knowledge.

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