Built by Penhoet, St. Nazaire, the Normandie was launched in 1932 and was the largest ship in the world until 1940. On her maiden voyage, from Le Havre to New York, she broke the Rex's record, winning the Blue Ribband, breaking it again on her return voyage eastward. She was taken over by the US Navy in 1941 and renamed Lafayette. During a fire in 1942, because of the water pumped into her, she became top heavy and capsized onto her side. She was sold by the Maritime Commission to be broken up in 1946.