Saint Petersburg
through Viktor Balaguer’s eyes

April 2021

Travel / Explore

Viktor Balaguer photographs all the melancholy and charm of St. Petersburg, a city he fell in love with at first sight.

Like out of a movie

French photographer, architect and interior designer Viktor Balaguer fell in love at first sight with the ‘Venice of the North’ where he has settled with his family. “Saint Petersburg is a romantic city where you can go from a narrow street to wide avenues, where you follow the sublime and immense Neva River that is completely frozen for part of the year,” he said, calling it “A city of strong contrasts, with a succession of magical palaces and imperial facades whose entrance gates you must cross and visit the dark backyards of the Soviet era. A city deeply melancholic by nature, immersed in a relaxing rhythm of life and permanently open to contemplation “.

Preferring the lively neighborhoods of Vassilevsky and Petrogradskaya Islands, where different eras collide, the photographer revels in the winter atmosphere. He describes it as “Landscapes where a feeling of strangeness resonates, where the city is covered with frost and reminds us of fairy tales or Disney.” Armed with a Leica, he captures deserted spaces, scenes of life and romantic signs. In this time when the daylight lasts just four or five hours, he reawakens ambiances and treasures that many people tell him they have forgotten.

Anthony Guerrée 4
Of the more than 1500 characters in Proust's work, Anthony Guerrée

Exploring new territories

Viktor Balaguer regularly leaves St. Petersburg to explore the countryside. He traveled to Souzdal, 200 kilometers northeast of Moscow, to photograph the cradle of Russia and one of the former most dense religious centers of the country. A few months ago, in collaboration with Leica, he ventured through the Russian Arctic to arrive in Teriberka, recently seen in the film Leviathan. The film reveals “900 living souls and a past of an abandoned fishing village and the most beautiful Northern Lights”. Viktor Balaguer will return there this year at the end of January for a new photographic project on the major cities of the Russian Arctic, territories far from everything.

Discover Russia through Viktor Balaguer’s photos on his Instagram account @viktor_balaguer on through his “Photo Tours”. More information at

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