3-Night Pre-Cruise Package
Village Life of Provence
July 15 – 18, 2021
Package Price: $1,975 per person, based on double occupancy, $2,540 single rate
Deposit: $500 per person
Join PES 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 façades, indulge in French delicacies at local artisan markets, visit aromatic lavender blooms, and begin your river cruise refreshed and rejuvenated, with memories of leisurely Provençal village life.
Pre-Cruise Package Includes:
- Three nights at the 4-star Boutique Hôtel Cézanne
- Welcome Reception
- Buffet breakfast daily and one lunch
- 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
Pre-Cruise Package Itinerary
Thursday, July 15, 2021 – 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 Boutique Hôtel Cézanne, 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.
Boutique Hôtel Cézanne
The Boutique Hôtel Cézanne was the first boutique hotel to open its doors in Aix-en-Provence. Inspired by its namesake, this 55 room 4-star hotel is housed in an ancient mansion that was renovated in 2008. It has a contemporary design style throughout with modern furniture, an emphasis on color created by designer Charles Montemarco, and features numerous original artworks including a vibrant mural by the Berlin artist Zidan.
The hotel is ideally located near the city’s ancient walls on the site of one of the first Roman cities in the Mediterranean basin and just a 5 minutes’ walk from the prestigious Cours Mirabeau.
Join your PES hosts and fellow travelers this evening for a welcome drink, followed by dinner on your own.
Overnight Boutique Hôtel Cézanne
Friday, July 16, 2021 – 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 Boutique Hôtel Cézanne (B, L)
Saturday, July 17, 2021 – 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 Provençal textiles.
Lunch is on your own.
Provence Lavender Fields Tour
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.
Overnight Boutique Hôtel Cézanne (B)
Sunday, July 18, 2021 – Aix-en-Provence / Embark Ship
Enjoy a final leisurely buffet breakfast at the 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).