President’s Council Cruise: Optional Pre-Cruise Package

Village Life of Provence

July 14–17 // 2022

Join the Purdue President’s Council for a three-night pre-cruise package in Aix-en-Provence, one of France’s most charming towns. Aix (pronounced like the letter X) was once a Roman spa and the former capital of the Provence region. Today, it is known for its tree-lined, cobblestoned boulevards, stately houses, and art scene. Being a university town, it has a young, upbeat, energetic feel, and is popular with foodies and wine lovers!

Stroll through historic quarters with traces of Roman and medieval architecture, as well as 16th and 17th century fountains and facades, indulge in French delicacies at local artisan markets, visit aromatic lavender blooms, and begin your river cruise refreshed and rejuvenated, with memories of leisurely Provencal village life.


Thursday, July 14, 2022 // Arrive Marseilles, France – Aix-en-Provence

Welcome to France!
Upon arriving at the Marseille Provence Airport (MRS), you will be met by a local representative and transferred directly to the Grand Hôtel Roi René, approximately a 30-minute drive.

You may also elect to fly into Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) and independently take the TGV train to Aix-en-Provence where a local representative will meet you and transfer you to the hotel.

Grand Hôtel Roi René
Minutes from the Cours Mirabeau and Aix’s historic center, the Grand Hôtel Roi René is your ideal village home. Amenities include La Table du Roi restaurant, featuring elegant Provencal cuisine, L’Interporel bar serving creative drinks, a courtyard with outdoor pool, and a fitness center.

Deluxe Rooms offer one double or two twin beds, modern décor, complimentary Wi-Fi, flat-screen TV, tea and coffee making facilities, minibar, safe, and bathroom with tub or shower, high-end toiletries, bathrobes, and slippers.

Check-in time is 3:00 pm. The hotel will do its best to accommodate early arrivals; however, early check-in cannot be guaranteed. If you prefer immediate access to your room, it is suggested to book the night prior.

Join fellow travelers this evening for a President’s Council Welcome Reception, followed by dinner on your own.

Overnight Grand Hôtel Roi René

Friday, July 15, 2022 // Aix-en-Provence – Walking Tour

Enjoy a buffet breakfast at the hotel.

Historical and Gourmet Walking Tour
Depart from the hotel with an experienced local guide on a historical and gourmet walking tour to reveal Aix-en-Provence’s rich culture, art, and history.

Discover the bustling boulevard of Cours Mirabeau with its wealth of superb architecture, numerous fountains, and admire the elegant architecture and bourgeois mansions of the Quartier Mazarin, see the Medieval city center, Town Hall Square, and Market Square, and pass the 12th-century Saint Savor Cathedral built on the site of a 1st-century Roman forum.

Along the way, learn more about the local gastronomic specialties with a chance to taste the traditional French candy Calisson, plus delicious nougat, green and black tapenade, and locally produced cheese paired with a glass of wine from a local appellation. The tour concludes with lunch at a local restaurant.

The remainder of the afternoon is at your leisure, and dinner is on your own.

This afternoon you might opt to visit Atelier Cézanne, the studio where Post-Impressionist painter Paul Cézanne, born in Aix, worked until he died.

Overnight Grand Hôtel Roi René (B, L)

Saturday, July 16, 2022 // Aix-en-Provence, Markets & Lavender

Enjoy a buffet breakfast at the hotel.

This morning is free to explore the famous local markets of Aix-en-Provence, just a short walk from the hotel. Browse Southern France’s best selection of local seasonal fruit and vegetables, bread, tapenade, cheese, and oils, as well as fresh meat and fish. You can also find antiques, crafts, clothing, and Provencal textiles.

Lunch is on your own.

Provence Lavender Fields Tours
This afternoon we meet in the hotel lobby for a half-day tour to the Provence lavender fields. Lavender is the symbol of Provence and a “must do” experience! The lavender season is typically late June to early August, with mid to late July being the beginning of the harvest when the blooms are the most vibrant and fragrant. It is also likely to see sunflowers in bloom.

Depart via motor coach from Aix on scenic country roads towards the famous Luberon valley, and its medieval hilltop villages. After exploring some secret spots of hidden lavender fields, stop at the Senanque Abbey in Gordes, where Cistercian monks have grown lavender to produce essential oils for decades. Continue to the village of Sault to visit a family owned lavender farm and distillery.

Please note sites visited might be adjusted to provide the best experience.

Return to the hotel and at your leisure enjoy an included three-course dinner in the hotel. The remainder of the evening at leisure.

Overnight Grand Hôtel Roi René (B, D)

Sunday, July 17, 2022 // Aix-en-Provence – Embark Ship

Enjoy a final leisurely buffet breakfast at the hotel.

Depart Hotel
Check-out of the hotel and meet in the lobby for a group transfer to the S.S. Catherine, docked in Avignon (approx. 1-hour and 30-minute drive).


Inclusions and Pricing:

Package Inclusions:

  • Three nights at the 4-star Grand Hôtel Roi René, Deluxe Room
  • President’s Council Welcome Reception
  • Buffet breakfast daily, one lunch in a local restaurant, one dinner at the hotel
  • Aix-en-Provence historical and gourmet walking tour
  • Provence lavender fields tour
  • Sightseeing with experienced local guides and transportation for lavender fields tour
  • Transfers between the airport, hotel, and river cruise ship with related luggage handling and all taxes
  • Gratuities for local guides, drivers, and included meals
  • Assistance of pre-cruise staff


Three Nights: July 14–17, 2022

$1,975 per person, double occupancy
$2,540 per single

Deposit: $500 per person

Final Payment: March 16, 2022

July 13–14, 2022 Additional one-night stay at the 4-star Grand Hôtel Roi René

Inclusions: Package includes one-night accommodation in a Deluxe Room, buffet breakfast, airport arrival transfer, porterage, and all taxes.

Price: $460 per couple or single

*Please note July 13 airport arrival transfers are only included if hotel package is confirmed with Global Tracks.