Helsinki, at the crossroads between northern Europe and Russia, is remarkable for its neoclassical architecture which, like St Petersburg, is the work of the architect Engel. This 19th and 20th century architectural movement, which advocated a return to simplicity, explains the presence of imposing coloured buildings - ranging from light blue to pale green, pink, yellow and grey! -Not very busy and rather solemn, far from romanticism and rococo style. But Helsinki is also a rich city that is full of colourful and lively markets, including the port market on the Gulf of Finland, cafés with sunny terraces in summer, concerts in the open air and parks by the sea. Historic sites are the occasion for beautiful excursions such as the superb fortress island of Suomenlinna or the small town of Porvoo.
The Lappish adventure :
Lapland is a mythical region, buried under the snow in winter. Rovaniemi, the capital of Finnish Lapland, a few kilometres south of the Arctic Circle, has an exciting museum (Arktikum) dedicated to the Arctic peoples, including the Sámi, the only indigenous people in the entire European Union present well before the borders between neighbouring countries. The Sami Parliament is located further north in Inari and is the ideal place to discover this unique culture a little better, thanks in particular to the Siida Historical Museum and the Sajos Cultural Centre. In summer and winter, travelling to Lapland is an adventure: rafting on cold and tumultuous waters at thaw or temperature shock: 80 to 100 °C in a sauna and - 20 °C outside. We go there to experience the Far North, under the midnight sun or under the permanent night. Lapland is also home to the most famous of Finns, Santa Claus and his reindeer herds!
© Dominique Auzias & Jean-Paul Labourdette