It is also the seat of one of the fifteen French ecclesiastical provinces and one of the two divisions of the French Army. In the city had a population of ,, in a metropolitan area of ,, the second in the region in terms of population. Established in a meander of the Doubs river , the city was already important during the Gallo-Roman era under the name of Vesontio , capital of the Sequani. Its geography and specific history turned it into a military stronghold, a garrison city, a political centre, and a religious capital.
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The ship was named after the region around Paris known as "L'Ile de France", launched in and commenced her maiden voyage on June 22, It was the first major ocean liner built after World War I , and was the first liner ever to be decorated almost entirely with modern designs associated with the Art Deco style. She was neither the largest ship nor the fastest, but was considered the most beautifully decorated ship built by CGT, becoming the favored ship of the pre-World War II era, carrying young, wealthy and fashionable Americans to Europe and back. All of the ship's luxurious fittings were removed for its conversion into a prison ship during World War II. In , she played a key role in rescuing passengers from the SS Andrea Doria after the latter ship's fatal collision with the MS Stockholm off Nantucket.
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