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NANTES • SAINT-NAZAIRE • ANCENIS • ANGERS • The Châteaux of the Loire Valley


Join your Phi Mu sisters, spouses and friends for
8 Glorious days on the Deluxe French Barge, MS Loire Princesse

June 29 - July 6, 2015
beginning and ending at the barge in Nantes, France
Airfare and transfers are additional

Only $2,407 per person, (sharing) Main deck, on same deck as dining room
$2,917 per person  (sharing) Upper deck with balconies
Single supplement: $884 (limited number of singles.) We’ll arrange shares!

Deposit date extended to October 15, 2014

Click here to download the full brochure now

Or, to request a brochure by mail click here

Dear Phi Mu Sisters, Friends and Family,

Feel like royalty aboard the MS Loire Princesse, a brand-new sparkling deluxe barge, as we ply the Loire River in France. 2015 is an off-year for convention, but a perfect time to renew Phi Mu connections on an 8-day cruise from Nantes featuring a full day excursion to the Châteaux of the Loire Valley.

We have secured a charter sailing, but we need to know by September 5th if we have enough Phi Mus, family and guests to retain the charter status. We need everyone’s help in getting the barge filled.

We have chosen a summer departure in order to include families and teachers on an academic schedule. We can still operate the trip with a fewer number on a group basis.

We have 48 spacious cabins with all the amenities. The 30 upper deck cabins have lovely balconies, and we’ll gather together in the splendid main deck dining room that can seat us all. A huge lounge bar with central dance floor is a pleasant area to mingle with other Phi Mus, family and guests of Phi Mu. The large sun deck is an ideal place to relax. The elegant décor in contemporary colors is in perfect harmony with the good spirit on board. Labeled the “Green Ship”, the MS Loire Princesse was created with ecological designs having great respect for the environment.

We hope you’ll be a part of this grand Phi Mu event.

Gwen Erwood
Delta Epsilon at Purdue University
President, Travel Concepts International

Explore UNESCO-designated sites for economical optional guided excursions:

Nantes: Evening on what King Francis I called the “most beautiful river in France”: The Erdre.
Tour of Nantes with its Cathedral and île Feydeau
Saint-Nazaire – Escal’Atlantic and shipyard or Guérande medieval town and salt marshes
Ancenis, Muscadat Region tasting, Château Cassemichère, medieval Clisson
Angers: See the extraordinary Apocalypse Tapestry at Château d’Angers
Cadre Noir French National Equestrian School and fortified city Saumur
The Castles of the Loire: Château d’Azay-le-Rideau, Château de Villandry and Château d’Ussé (this option is included)
Bouchemaine, Corniche Angevine and tasting at Château des Vaults

Click for larger view

Day by Day Itinerary
See you in France

What’s best for you is best for us! You may use frequent flyer mileage, or take advantage of low internet specials. Or, if you need assistance we will be happy to help you with air arrangements. We suggest you leave the U.S. on June 27 to arrive Paris June 28 and stay overnight June 28. This will allow you to recover from jet lag and be ready for the transfer to Nantes, June 29th. We are holding 20 rooms at a hotel in Paris close to the Charles de Gaulle airport at very reasonable rates. We’ll keep you informed!

Traveling to Nantes

Nantes is served by a TGV (fast) train from the station near the CDG airport.
We will assist with tickets, or if advisable (and more cost effective) arrange for a coach for the transfers.

June 29 NANTES
Optional Erdre Cruise • $53
Welcome to France! Passengers are welcome to board the ship in Nantes between 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. After you’ve comfortably settled in your cabin, we’ll introduce our crew during our welcome cocktail party and have dinner on board. Afterward, join us for an optional cruise on what King Francis I called the “most beautiful river in France”: The Erdre. We’ll discover the history of this river and its many castles as we gently cruise along. (D)

Aboard MS Loire Princesse in Nantes

Optional tour of Nantes • $72
After buffet breakfast on board, set off on an optional tour of Nantes (you must reserve this excursion in advance). You’ll discover the small streets of the medieval Bouffay quarter and the beautiful flamboyant-style Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul. We’ll visit the île Feydeau and its exceptional buildings dating back to the 18th century, and then on to the quays. After, you’ll discover the shopping districts created in the 18th century around the Théâtre Graslin and the Passage Pommeraye. We’ll then continue our tour to the Castle of the Dukes of Brittany (Château Nantes). The last castle before the river reaches the ocean, this Breton monument with its outstanding 15th to 17th century buildings will transport you back in time. This urban stronghold was built in the late Middle Ages by Duke Francis II and his daughter, Anne of Brittany, to defend the independence of the Duchy of Brittany, then under threat from the Kingdom of France. The ensemble is remarkable for its striking whiteness, its elegance and its fine stone carvings, in sharp contrast with the rough exterior walls. After our morning visit, we’ll return on board for lunch. We’ll spend the afternoon cruising to Saint-Nazaire, and arrive during the evening. Tonight, we’ll enjoy dinner on board, followed by an evening of entertainment. We’ll remain in port overnight. (B-L-D)

Aboard MS Loire Princesse in Saint-Nazaire

Optional tour to Saint-Nazaire • $102 or Optional tour of Guérande • $60
After buffet breakfast on board, we’ll set out on an optional excursion to Saint-Nazaire, with a visit to the Escal’Atlantic and the shipyard. We’ll begin our visit with the Escal’Atlantic, which ingeniously retraces the history of Norman and French ocean liners through a unique experience. Then we’ll continue on to the Saint-Nazaire shipyard, one of the largest and well-renowned in Europe. Once the birthplace of the most outstanding French transatlantic liners, today it is the construction site for elegant cruise ships. While following a tour designed especially for understanding the complexity of constructing these veritable modern floating palaces, you’ll discover the immensity of this site (267 acres), the stunning logistics, and the advanced technology put in place to build the ships. (This excursion must be pre-booked in advance. Each passenger will be asked to produce a valid passport or identity card in order to gain access to the shipyard).

Or we’ll leave for an optional guided visit of Guérande. Famous writers such as Flaubert, Gracq and Balzac used Guérande as backdrops to their novels, after falling in love when visiting. The tour will continue to the salt marshes, the undeniable symbol of the region. With our guide, you’ll discover the process of harvesting Guérande salt and how the marshes work. After our morning visit, we’ll return on board for lunch. The afternoon will be spent cruising to Ancenis. Enjoy our onboard entertainment during our cruise. We’ll remain in Ancenis overnight. (B-L-D)

Aboard MS Loire Princesse in Ancenis

Optional tour of Muscadet Region • $72
We’ll set off on an optional excursion to the Muscadet Region. We’ll continue toward La Chapelle Heulin and stop at the Château Cassemichère (or similar site). In this exceptional location, you will have the opportunity to learn about its historic vineyard, visit the cellars and taste the lovely white wine: dry, light, fruity and floral. Then we’ll leave for Clisson, a charming medieval city with 15th century vestiges and a slight Italian feel. We’ll return on board and continue our cruise to Angers, arriving early in the evening. After dinner on board, tonight’s entertainment will be provided by the crew. We’ll remain in port overnight. (B-L-D)

Aboard MS Loire Princesse in Angers

Optional tour of Angers • $67 / Optional tour of Saumur and the Cadre Noir • $80
After buffet breakfast on board, set off for an optional tour of the town of Angers. Angers was the capital of the historical Anjou province and is distinguished not only by its legacy, but also by its modern nature. Angers, particularly rich during the Renaissance, was home to the House of Plantagenet. The immense walls of the famous Château d’Angers contain the extraordinary Apocalypse Tapestry. We’ll visit the 13th century castle and discover the Apocalypse Tapestry, one of the most important collections of medieval tapestries in the world. Lastly, we’ll visit La Doutre, a village-like neighborhood in the heart of the city. After our morning visit, we’ll return on board for lunch.

As an option we’ll visit the Cadre Noir* and the city of Saumur this afternoon (you must reserve this excursion before your departure). In 2011, UNESCO added the Equitation in the French Tradition and the Cadre Noir to its Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity as a school of horseback riding that emphasizes harmonious relations between humans and horses, guided by non-violence and lack of constraint. We’ll discover the history of this school, founded in 1825, by visiting the Grand Manège, the stables and the tack room. We continue our visit with a walk through the fortified city of Saumur, dominate by its chateau. Tonight, we’ll enjoy dinner on board, followed by an evening of entertainment. We’ll remain in port overnight. (B-L-D)

*Guided tours do not guarantee the presence of the jockeys or the horses in training, especially when the Cadre Noir riders are away or at competitions.

Aboard MS Loire Princesse in Angers

Saturday The Châteaux of the Loire Valley
Tour of the Châteaux of the Loire Valley (included)
Enjoy a buffet breakfast on board before our full day’s excursion to the Châteaux of the Loire Valley (lunch included). We’ll leave by coach for the Château d’Azay-le-Rideau. Built on a small island in the middle of the Indre River, the château as it is seen today was built under Francis I by Gilles Berthelot, a wealthy financier who wanted to incorporate its medieval past alongside the latest architectural styles of the Italian renaissance. The chateau is a French national monument and possesses all the refinement found in the French Renaissance. We’ll continue to Villandry for lunch. After lunch, enjoy a walk through the lovely gardens surrounding the Château de Villandry. Afterward, we’ll continue our tour and visit the Château d’Ussé. Rebuilt in the 15th and 16th centuries, this stronghold with fortified towers, turrets and steeples looks like something out of a fairytale. The castle is still inhabited today and takes visitors back to a time of legends and fairytales. It is thought to have inspired Charles Perrault when writing “Sleeping Beauty”. After our tour, we’ll return on board for dinner. Enjoy our onboard entertainment during our cruise. We’ll remain in port overnight. (B-L-D)

Aboard MS Loire Princesse in Angers

Optional tour to Corniche Angevine • $72
You’ll begin your day with a breakfast buffet on board and cruise early this morning for Bouchemaine, the departure point for the optional excursion along the Corniche Angevine. We’ll leave by coach to travel along the levees of the Loire Angevine, admiring the picturesque villages and several viewpoints along the Loire. We’ll stop at the Château des Vaults (or a similar site), an authentic site in the middle of a beautiful park. We’ll enjoy a tasting of the local wines and continue along the Corniche Angevine. We’ll rejoin the ship in Ancenis in time for lunch. This afternoon will be spent cruising the Loire: along its banks you’ll admire the landscape which has been shaped by the river over the centuries. We’ll arrive in Nantes during the evening. Tonight, we’ll enjoy our gala dinner together, followed by an evening of music and dancing. We’ll remain in port overnight. (B-L-D)

Aboard MS Loire Princesse in Nantes

Enjoy one last buffet breakfast on board before disembarking at 10:00 a.m. (B)

B-breakfast, L-lunch, D-dinner


See more pictures

Take a look at our pictures from our past Phi Mu Foundation tours by

Group photos from France 2015

Travel with the Phi Mu Foundation

Phi Mu Foundation Travel Newsletter (PDF)

Download Volume 1 Edition 1

© 2015 Travel Concepts International, Inc. CST 2005743-40

Travel Concepts International, Inc.
Cultural Tours to Better Understand the World and Its People

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Voicemail/Tollfree in U.S.A. 1-800-762-4216
wen@SeriousTraveler.com • Web site www.tci-travel.comor www.SeriousTraveler.com

wen@SeriousTraveler.com • Web site www.tci-travel.com or www.SeriousTraveler.com