She was built in 1865 for the Inman Line in Glasgow by Tod McGregor and launched on 13 December 1865, she undertook her maiden voyage on 21 March 1866 when she left Liverpool for Queenstown and New York.
City of Paris was a 2,556 gross ton ship with a length of 346ft and 40ft beam, constructed from iron she had one funnel, three masts (rigged for sail) and a single screw giving her a speed of 13 knots.
After four years of service she was lengthened to 397 feet and re-engined with compounds in response to innovative ships being built for other shipping lines, this raised her tonnage to 3,100 and her capacity to 150 cabin and 400 steerage.
In 1879 she grounded outside Smithstown while taking troops to South Africa, after her return she was re-engined again.
After many transatlantic voyages her final Liverpool - New York sailing commenced on 4 September 1883, she was then relieved from the express service by the SS City of Chicago and was sold to A Hoffnung & Co, London.
In March 1884 she was one of the ships to participate in the 1878 to 1911 wave of immigration to Hawaii and arrived on 13 June 1884 in Honolulu with 824 immigrants from the Azores and Madeira to work as contract labour in the Hawaiian sugar plantations. She was subsequently sold to French owners who chartered her to the French Government who renamed her Tonquin to carry troops from Marseille to Tonkin, she sank on 4 March 1885 off Malaga after a collision with another French vessel, with the loss of the master and 23 crew.
The Inman Line commenced their transatlantic operations in 1850. The company was founded as the "Liverpool & Philadelphia Steamship Company" by the Richardson Brothers & Co. with William Inman as a partial owner. In 1854 however William Inman took the sole ownership of the line. The line first operated between Liverpool and Philadelphia carrying only first-class cabin passengers, the vessels were however quickly changed to permit the accommodation of emigrant passengers.
In 1857 the port of New-York was decided upon as the Western terminus of the route. In the winter of 1856-7 the Delaware River was frozen over and a vessel of the line seeking a harbour put into New-York. This incident apparently led to the establishment of the office in New York. The official name of the line was then changed to the "Liverpool, New-York and Philadelphia Steam-ship Company". In 1875 the official name of company was changed to "Inman Steamship Company Ltd".
The owner of the Company, William Inman was born in England in 1825 and died at his home in Cheshire in July 1881. In 1886 the Company ran into financial difficulties and was acquired by International Navigation Co.Ltd owners of the Red Star Line and America Line. The name of the business was then changed to "The Inman and International Steamship Co."
Photographed in Liverpool Maritime Museum 2 May 2015.