Summary of the stay

  • 7 days
  • Spring
  • Summer
  • All audiences
  • Culture / Heritage
  • Medium

Russia is a very large country. For a short but good introduction to the main facets of its current identity, we suggest you focus on its two major cities: Moscow, capital of the empire of the Soviets, and St. Petersburg, capital of the empire of the Tsars. They are about 800 kilometres apart and complement each other well.

Map, Itinerary of the stay and pictures

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Itinerary of the stay
  • Moscow (Москва)
  • Saint-Petersburg (Санкт-Петербург)
  • PEtErhof (Пет E Ргоodc)
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Detail of the stay : A cultural getaway to discover the two capitals - 7 days

Day 1: Historical Moscow: around Red Square

Arrival in Moscow. Visit of the Red Square and the Kremlin, the historical, political and religious center of Moscow and Russia as a whole. The Kremlin visit takes a good day. Start with Red Square from the Okhotny Riad metro. The «beautiful place», according to its literal translation, is bordered on the west by the ochre walls of the Kremlin. At the entrance of the square, the historic museum stands on your right. It is a great introduction to the history of Russia that will allow you to better appreciate the visit of the Kremlin. In front of the historic museum, Notre-Dame-de-Kazan Cathedral deserves a quick look. Continue on Red Square: on your left, the huge Goum building, the large state store and its luxury boutiques. Ideal to relax your shopping, but not only; this place deserves the detour itself. West of the square, backed by the Kremlin walls, Lenin's mausoleum is open to visitors every morning from 10 a. m. to 1 p. m. except Monday, Friday and Sunday. At the south end of the square lies majestic St Basile-le-Blessed Cathedral. Inside, the frescoes compete with exterior paintings and its icons are sumptuous. From Saint Basile Cathedral you will see the Moskova, which borders the Kremlin on its southern façade. Come back on your steps to join Koutafia Tower, the entrance to the Kremlin. You will have to cross just before the place du Manège (whose basement is occupied by a shopping gallery) and the Alexandrovsky Gardens. Here you are in front of the Koutafia Tower, the main entrance of the Kremlin. Past the door Koutafia and the Troitskaya door, the first building that offers you is the Palais des Congrès, an architectural heresy built in 1961. Next to your left, the buildings of the Senate and the Arsenal and then the Supreme Soviet who do not visit each other. In front, the former palace of the Patriarchs and the Church of the Twelve Apostles give a foretaste of the magnificence of the place of Cathedrals, located behind. On the square, the cathedrals of the Assomption, the Dormition, the Annonunciation and the Archangel-Saint-Michel, as well as the church of La Déposition-de-la-Robe, which all have an interesting architectural, historical and religious interest. To the east of the square, the two big bells: Ivan the Great and that of the Queen. West of the square, the faceted palace is the oldest building in the Kremlin and Moscow. Finally, behind, the palace of the Térems and especially the Armors Palace to the sublime collection of artillery and goldsmiths, as well as the palace of Diamonds which serves as a jewel of imperial jewels. If you have the energy, you can complete your visit to the historic Moscow by a night of ballet or opera to the mythical Bolchoï or Maly, his little brother, both located on Teatralnaya Square. Join them by borrowing from Okhotny Riad. In front of the beautiful classic buildings and Art Nouveau of the National and Metropol palaces.

Day 2: Russian Art and Urban Walking

Moscow. Visit Tretiakov Gallery, which holds the jewels of Russian art. You will find it near Tretiakovskaya metro station. Stray around the Tretiakov gallery and in the beautiful alleys of Zamoskvoretshye, literally «south of Moskova». You can eat in one of the many cafes around Tretiakovskaya metro station and then go back to the Kremlin by borrowing the bolchaïa Ordynka ulitsa and crossing the canal, Baltchoug Island and finally Moskova. Here you come back in front of Saint-Basile Cathedral. Cross the Red Square again and the Manège Square and head to Tverskaya Street which starts in front of you. The Tverskaya is Moscow's main commercial artery. At the beginning of the street you will find the National Hotel on your left. Then, on the same sidewalk, the Stalinist building of the Central Telegraph where you can pass your international calls. Come back to the right-hand sidewalk and take the Kamergersky pereoulok to your left, the famous mkhat Chekhov theater. By continuing straight away, you will arrive on the Rue Kouznetsky Most, famous for its shops. Go back to Petrovka Street and visit the beautiful Petrovsky Gallery and its luxury shops. Come back to Tverskaya. When you go back, you can enjoy its many shops. On the right hand side, just before Pushkin Square, do not miss the Elysseev store for its exuberant baroque interior. Then you arrive at the Place Pushkin, the other heart of Moscow, where the Moscovites often meet around the statue of the great Russian writer. On your right and left: The boulevards' belt and gardens can provide you with a few minutes of relaxation. Take Tverskaya Street on the left sidewalk, then turn to Blagoveshchensky pereoulok to the Patriarch Pond. Then lose yourself in the streets of this very chic district of Moscow. You can find the Mayakovskaya Square by the Sadovaya ulitsa. In the evening try one of the many restaurants in the neighborhood and why not a concert at the B 2 or a drink at Time Out with its breathtaking view.

Day 3: Museum and shopping district

In the morning in Moscow. The Arbat Street. Go shopping on the historic Arbat street and visit the museum houses of Pushkin and Gorki. In the afternoon, take the time to visit the museum district: whether for the Pushkin Museum and its collection of international art, the Museum of Private Collections, the Tolstoy House-Museum or for the massive cathedral of Christ-Saint-Sauveur destroyed by Stalin and rebuilt in 1997, today the Holy Seat of the Patriarch Kirill I. Night from 3 rd to 4 th day, en route to St Petersburg. For purists, no doubt, it is night to go between the two capitals. Instead, take a place by «cut» (compartment of four). Otherwise, the Sapsan (equivalent of the TGV in France) connects Moscow to St Petersburg in about 4:30 a. m. The aircraft remains an option at the cost now almost identical to a train ticket, but the time gain is almost nil, especially if the airport-center connections are included.

Day 4: The Royal St. Petersburg: its palaces and canals

St. Petersburg, in the morning. A good compromise between art, history and nature is available to you: the palaces. That day, choose two among the most remarkable. And to vary the pleasures, choose a summer residence and a principal residence located in the city. For example, Petrodvorets. At a. m. take the hydrofoil opposite the main entrance of the Hermitage. After half an hour sailing on the Gulf of Finland, you will be at the foot of the park of Petrodvorets (Perterhof), which was for two centuries the official dacha of the czars. Inspired by Versailles, Pierre the Grand had wanted an equally impressive architectural ensemble. Stroll through the beautifully framed gardens, discover the small private pavilions that hide there, as many treasures isolated in nature, watch these waterfalls to the unequalled ingenuity… And within the palace, open your eyes great. The dance room, the baroque staircase, the throne room, are all elements that make up a fairytale decor. You can dine for a fairly small price at the Peterhof restaurant, near the western entrance of the lower garden. Then, walking in the opposite direction. St. Petersburg, the afternoon. Soak up the atmosphere of St. Petersburg through a boat ride on its canals. You need to get tired by walking after your trip: Leave yourself in the water and enjoy the view. From the Achnikov Bridge on the Nevski perspective, you will take one of the large covered boats that leave every thirty minutes. Choice of different routes, depending on the channel you want to borrow, but whether you are hiding on Griboedov, Fontanka or Moïka, you will stay in the historic centre. In this way, you will be able to discover and even walk through magnificent monuments - the cathedral of Kazan, the church Saint-Sauveur, to name but them! If the weather conditions are there, the boat will leave on the Neva and you will have an impressive overview of the enlightened city.

Day 5: Ermitage Museum, along the river

St. Petersburg. Visit the Ermitage, the old official residence of the tsars. Go to the Palace Square, literally gigantic, which allows you to kiss all the Ermitage with one eye. Observe these 500 meters of baroque and yet perfectly balanced architecture, as well as the column of Alexander, raised by Nicolas I to commemorate the reign of his predecessor. Get into the building by the main door. In the afternoon, leaving the Ermitage, join the banks of the Neva and turn left on Angliskaya Street, along the Admiralty, this fortress which was an important shipyard. Turn left and reach Saint-Isaac Church, the most impressive religious monument in St Petersburg. Then join the Moïka towards the palace of Youspov. These large landowners were the largest family after the Romanov and occupied very high positions in the administration. Immerse yourself in the intimacy of a lingering stay, follow the vast apartments, the bedrooms, the Moorish lounge, the stained glass room, the Turkish cabinet… Above all, relive the assassination of Rasputin, poisoned in these places. As you come out of the museum, you can drink a cup of tea from here, at the Café Rousky Kitch, whose incongruous atmosphere extends your immersion into the universe of the Russian nobility. Treat yourself to a typical Russian dinner at the 1913 God restaurant, also nearby, in Dekabristov Street. Finally, you can spend the evening in the Nikolaevski Palace, located in the same neighborhood, where you will see a traditional dance show.

Day 6: From Nevski to the Russian Museum

It is impossible to stay in St Petersburg without strolling along the Nevski perspective, the city's largest artery. Take a morning to walk back on foot (towards the Ermitage) from the Anitchkov Bridge. You will have the opportunity to contemplate the various historical monuments (or to stop there, depending on the time you have) that mark it: the Stroganov Palace, the Bellosselski-Belozersi Palace, the Anitchkov Palace, the Sainte-Catherine Church… Do not miss the superb Elisseïev grocery store (at No. 56, open from 11 a. m. on Sunday), in which you can buy a few products in memory, but also admire the wealth and the richness of… the finesse of this masterpiece of Art Nouveau. Just opposite Notre-Dame-de-Kazan Cathedral, enjoy a pleasant snack at the small Kazanskovo restaurant (No. 26). Then return to your steps, turn left and walk along the Griboedov Canal over a few hundred meters. You will arrive at the Russian Museum, where you can spend about 2 hours, provided you target a theme. The icons, the eighteenth-century painting in the nineteenth, the movement of the itinerants, the folk arts, the avant-garde… the embarrassment of choice.

Day 7: The time for return rang

It's time to go back to Moscow for some. For those who leave St. Petersburg, you can go to Pushkin to admire Catherine II's palace, Tsarskoe Selo.

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