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It is the largest nation in the world. Russia, which borders Europe and Asia, the Pacific Ocean and the Arctic Ocean, is 10,000 km long. Its landscapes range from tundra to subtropical beaches, from birch forests in taiga, from the Urals mountains to the steppes of Central Asia and to the highest mountains near China, which reach their peak of communism (7,495 m) and their peak Lenin (7,134 m). This country is so dizzy! And to soak up its variety, to cross the dachas and bulbous bell towers, the statues of socialist realism and other vestiges of communism, the best thing is still to travel from one end to the other with the Trans-Siberian Railway, Samovar within reach of a cup. We will necessarily stop over in its two jewels. St. Petersburg, on the one hand, the ancient capital, the sumptuous city of Peter, founded by the Russian Emperor Peter the Great, with its famous Baroque winter palace which now houses part of the Hermitage Museum's collections. Moscow, on the other hand, the capital, with its red square and its Bolshoi ballets, one of Russia's cultural symbols. Among the must-see attractions (but you won't see everything in one trip): the Golden Ring and its churches, Lake Baikal, Vladivostok, Kamchatka, a paradise for wild hikes, Karelia... And when you have eaten several versions of borscht, drank vodka and enjoyed Russian caviar, you will still have to find the Russian chapkas and dolls that you will bring back as souvenirs.

What to see, what to do Russia?

When to go Russia ?

No, Russia is not covered with snow all year round and contrary to popular belief, you can enjoy this destination all year round. The Russian winter is splendid, immaculate white. February and March are the best months, as the nights are shorter and the snow still holds everywhere. With the right equipment, and as long as you don't go too far in this season, negative temperatures are not a real challenge. In summer, temperatures can become very hot, especially in the city, so it is the best time to enjoy the mountains and lakes. Summer can be very hot and humid, even in Siberia. A small part of the Black Sea coast near Sochi has a subtropical climate and temperatures in the North Caucasus plains are regularly recorded at around 40°C in summer. Russia is therefore the country of contrasts: with the record lows of -68°C recorded in Oïmiakon and Verkhoïansk in Yakutia, the temperature range is extremely high. Obviously, with such a large territory, it is difficult to give precise dates, the seasons come with different intensities depending on the region. To visit Moscow, the Golden Ring and the Volga, the most suitable period is from June to September. But can we really have seen Central Russia and its churches without its coat blanc ? For St. Petersburg and the North, prefer the period between May and September, with particular interest if you come between June and mid-July for the famous all-nighters. But here again, the heart of winter has something magical about it. For the Black Sea coast and the South, the period from mid-July to the end of August is characterized by a peak in the number of local tourists. Two periods are essentially to be avoided: snowmelt (around mid-April, early May), and the period from mid-October to early December

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Covid-19 : current situation Russia

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, entry and travel restrictions may apply Russia. Remember to visit the site of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before you leave for the latest information
Practical information for travel Russia

How to go Russia

How to go alone

Not mastering the Russian language is no longer a problem on the spot, except perhaps in the countryside, because the practice of English is growing more and more. You will easily find air-only flights to St. Petersburg or Moscow, you can book your hotels in the city from home. On site, according to the itinerary you have planned, you can always connect one point to another by bus or train.

How to go on a tour

Organized trips to Russia are a good option. They generally take place over three weeks, which still allows you to discover several regions efficiently as long as everything is organized and you will not waste your time looking for your route or your accommodation. Another advantage: you do not have to worry about your visa.

How to get around

Domestic flights are efficient but expensive. Take the buses and marshroutkas from the bus station, which criss-cross the country at unbeatable prices. But it is the train that will take you to the measure of the country, samovar within reach of a cup, with or without a berth. A high-speed train links Moscow and St. Petersburg in 5 hours. Cruise ships use rivers. In Moscow, boats sail the Moskova River at a low price. In Moscow and St. Petersburg, take taxis instead of buses

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Discover Russia

Russia is probably one of the most fascinating destinations for travellers from all over the world, but its image is often adorned with clichés. But are they really? To allow you to get to the heart of the matter before you set foot there, this chapter offers you an overview of the history that has shaped this country as vast and multiple as a continent, of its cultural, ethnic or architectural melting pot. You will also learn more about the country's economic and social issues, its rich and varied culinary traditions, but also its legendary climate... from the Volga River to the Trans-Siberian Railway, including vodka and the history of its tsars, we try to give you a portrait of a country with a thousand faces!

Pictures and images Russia

Maison des Décembristes - Maison Volkonski Stéphan SZEREMETA
Vodka. Pawel Michalowski : Shutterstock.com
Palais Catherine. Author's Image
Marins visitant le sous-marin S-56 Stéphan SZEREMETA

The 12 keywords Russia

1. #Baths

11_Bania © Alhim - Shutterstock.com.jpg

Sauna and Russian bath (bania) are very popular in Russia where, during the harsh winters, it is customary to warm up by flogging oneself with a kind of small broom made of birch branches. Bathing is an art of living: you spend your Saturday afternoon there, you eat and drink. The luckiest ones have a sauna in their dacha!

2. #Calendar

It is well known that the October revolution was in fact a November revolution. In 1918, the new Soviet government set the record straight by adopting the Gregorian calendar. But religious holidays still follow the 13-day Julian calendar: Christmas is celebrated on January 7 and the Old New Year on the evening of January 13.

3. #Cyrillic

iStock-649016074.jpg

This alphabet was created in the 9th century by the Byzantine monks Cyril and Methodius for liturgical purposes to evangelize the Slavs. It consists of 33 signs that can be learned in just a few hours. Then, nothing could be simpler to get off at the right station or find a coffee: in Russian, almost all the letters are pronounced.

4. #Datcha

Ah... the dacha, that small space of its own, far from the impersonal community of Soviet checkered cities. Russians love the countryside and many of them migrate on Friday evenings to their small, even very modest, houses outside the city. Small isba of painted wood, a small flowery garden by the roadside, a few vegetables: happiness!

5. #Measurement

A stereotype with its share of truth: in Russia, you have to think big (not to mention the size of the country). The largest bridge, the largest housing complex, the largest bookstore, the largest number of rooms in a hotel? A tendency to excess, which is embodied in the infrastructure, but also love and resistance!

6. #Kvas

If you spend the summer in Russia, you will surely come face to face with a yellow cistern bearing the arms of KBAC (kvas), the traditional Slavic fermented drink made from stale bread. Halfway between cider and Coca-Cola depending on the preparation, kvas is very thirst-quenching and, it seems, excellent for your health.

7. #Orthodoxy

12_Orthodoxie © Marina Pousheva - Shutterstock.com.jpg

The link between the Orthodox religion and Russian identity is as complex as Russia, between a "Third Rome" Moscow and communist Boga Net ("There is no God"). Since 1991, Russia's religious revival has been primarily political: the patriarch is close to the president and conservative spiritualities serve the government.

8. #Aboriginal People

Aboriginal, indigenous, national... the situation of the peoples colonized by the Russians varies, but their fate is generally not enviable, despite the official discourse that values the country's diversity. From the Far North to the Caucasus, people have fought to preserve their traditions and their land, and ecology is the new battle horse.

9. #Poetry

Failing to grasp the particularities of a Russian soul that exists only in the imagination of Europeans, you can try to get closer to it by immersing yourself in the writings of Russian poets who, for centuries, have set the rhythm of the daily lives of the country's inhabitants. After all, poetry in Russia is almost a matter of spirituality..

10. #RuNet

The Russian part of the internet is called RuNet: a collection of social networks, search engines and sites designed by and for Russians. The goal is political (digital sovereignty), but also practical, as Western sites are not adapted to the particularities of Russian. Forget Facebook and Google, this is Yandex, Vk and Telegram!

11. #Theatre

13_Ballet © melnikof - Shutterstock.com.jpg

Russians love to go to the theatre and have produced some of the most talented playwrights and choreographers in the world. The USSR has scattered the country with a dense network of public theatres: prices are affordable and people go there very regularly. And Russian-speaking or not, it is absolutely necessary to take the opportunity to see an opera or a ballet!

12. #Vodka

Another stereotype that's having a hard time! Vodka consumption in Russia is much lower than it used to be, and it is now considered bad enough to drink too much. A few rules to follow though: we avoid cheap vodka, we don't drink without toasting and of course, we don't mix! Russian vodka is delicious, so it should be drunk neat

You are from here, if...

You're not afraid of distance or the road. You have mastered the art of travelling and the waiting that goes with it, whether you want to spend several days on the train or make a round trip to the avtovokzal to find out the schedule of the next marchroutka!

You have the RuNet reflex, and can order a YandexTaxi, orient yourself on YandexMaps and check the restaurant schedule on Vkontakte.

But don't forget to read: wherever you are, you always carry a book with you. There's nothing better than a classic of Soviet literature to enjoy the Moscow metro.

You don't miss a chance to drink tea anymore. At the restaurant? Tea. On the train? Tea. In the morning? Tea. In the evening? Tea. You know how to handle the samovar, and serve tea "à la russe" by pouring a very concentrated decoction first and then adding water. Finally, in the event of a tea bag, you know how to save it by passing it from one cup to another.

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