In the days of wood and sail, getting to Antarctica was an expedition in of itself. The French explorer Dumont d'Urville finally arrived within sight of the Antarctic continent on the 21st January, 1840. He then named the shore Terre Adélie, after his wife. Two ships participated in d'Urville's expedition, the Astrolabe, and the Zélée.
Today, the French scientific base on the Antarctic coast is called Dumont d'Urville, and the land it stands on is still called Terre Adélie. Astrolabe is the name of the ship used by the French polar institute (IPEV) to reach Antarctica.
For the history buffs, this post by Glenn Stein on www.ipy.org goes into great detail about the adventures of Dumont d'Urville.