Greetings dear readers from a decidedly chilly south of France – looks like fall is here to stay! Today we have a My Provence guest post from blog reader (and writer!) Darina Nykl. Darina is, besides her full-time job as a secretary, an avid writer. Since she was twelve years old, she has written stories and her first book, “The Night that Changed her Life” appeared in 2009 following her participation in a writing competition. A book of the same name is being published this year by an American publisher. She also writes articles for a website about France and about the writing process for a Dutch website. You can follow Darina on her own blog where she shares writing tips and her travels with her readers. This blog also serves as the background of the second book that she is writing at the moment – one busy (writing!) lady.
1. What is your connection to Provence, and how long have you been living in or traveling to the region?
When I was 15 years old, I visited Provence with my parents for the very first time. We stayed in the little village of La Motte and we made many trips to the surrounding villages, Fayence and Aups and the local market of Le Muy. After this holiday I really fell in love with Provence!
Nowadays I try to visit the Provence/Côte d’Azur each year. I really miss it when I am away too long.
2. Where is you favorite place to visit? (a tough one!)
This is really a very tough one. I love Saint Paul de Vence because of the many galleries of artists and the narrow cobblestone streets. At every corner you find another unique view of the houses, balconies and panoramas – very picturesque. Menton is another town I adore. The houses have colors of the citrus fruits which this village is known for. Each year, in February, there is a very popular lemon festival in Menton.
But I love Nice too with her Belle Epoque architecture, the Promenade des Anglais, the azure blue sea and the colorful houses in the old town.
St. Paul de Vence
3. Do you have a “best travel memory” for the region?
I have many! The first holiday in this region with my parents and later, the first holiday with my husband with a group. We met such nice people with whom we had a great time exploring the region. And I always feel back in Provence when I hear the “cicadas” singing!
4. Can you think of one piece of advice or recommendation for travelers to Provence?
Take the bus or the train to explore the villages. The cost of public transport is low. Plan a route and visit Menton, Monaco, Eze-sur-Mer (to visit the village you have to take bus line 83 to the village or walk the 1.5 hour Nietzsche footpath), Antibes, Grasse, Cannes. When you visit Cannes, don’t forget to visit the old town, “Le Suquet” and take a ferry boat to the Iles de Lerins. I visited Ile Sainte-Marguerite, the largest of the Lerins islands, last year. This is the island with the fort of the Man with the Iron Mask. A truly beautiful island, only 20 minutes by boat from Cannes, with a interesting history and where you can take beautiful walks.
Place Massena, Nice
5. Finally, can you give us one sentence which you feel describes Provence?
Provence has something to offer for everyone: beaches, mountains, history, cities, many sights, good gastronomy and for me it’s a place where I find so much inspiration. The villages, the light, the colors, nature….it’s wonderful! (sorry, two sentences!).
A very heartfelt merci to Darina for her lovely travel memories and insights into la belle Provence. I’m looking forward to seeing her book in print and please remember to check out her blog for more armchair travels to France, beautiful scenes of Amsterdam, and writing inspiration of all sorts! Darina Nykl – Where the writer’s pen will travel to…