When the Societé Generale de Transports Maritimes à Vapeur (SGTM) after World War II decided to order two new passenger liners for the Marseille - Buenos Aires - route, the company already was a long-established line in the South America service with an experience of 80 years. Originally founded in 1865 to connect France with the iron ore Mines of Mokta-el-Habib in French Algeria, the company had additionally started the service to Buenos Aires only 2 years later .
Of cause the ships for the South America route
had always been the largest units because of the long distance to South
America. That was also the case with the two new ships under construction;
they should even become the largest liners, which this company ever possessed!
The management decided to name the ships after French regions: TSS PROVENCE
and TSS BRETAGNE. The "TSS." stands for "Turbine Steam Ship". These
new ships were not the first ships to carry these names. Both had a predecessor,
and, how could it be different, of cause served for the SGTM.
The first PROVENCE was a steam-driven emigrant
ship of the modest length of 118 meters, compared to its modern name cousin,
and it already sailed the same route to Argentina as the second PROVENCE,
starting in 1884. (for those, who want the details: 3874 tons, beam: 12.89
m, 14 knots, built in France, on the South America line until 1907 for SGTM,
then for a Spanish subsidiary company until the demolition in France in 1927).