This was the first class of French Ironclad warship produced in the early 1860's . Three ships, the Gloire, Invincible and Normandie made up the class . Although shortly eclipsed by the Royal Navy's HMS Warrior these vessels marked an epoch in warship design.
The Magenta and her sistership Solferino were two decked ironclad warships built in the early 1860's as part of the initial French ironclad program .
Provence was part of an ambitious program of ship building authorised by the department de la marine in 1860 . Authority was given to lay down no less than 10 warships based on an improved Gloire design , the ships included the Provence, Flandre, Gauloise, Guyenne, Magmanime, Revanche, Savoi, Surveillante, Valeureuse and Heroine.