Major architect of the XXe century, Eero Saarinen eclipsed the work of his father, Eliel (1873-1950), who nevertheless designed Art Deco buildings in Finland, then in the United States, where he emigrated in 1923. Among the masterpieces of the work of the latter, the Helsinki station, in a national romantic style, whose two colossal caryatids are one of the symbols of the Finnish capital.
The Scandic hotel group has just installed its 491 rooms in one of the wings of the station, formerly occupied by the headquarters of the national railway company. Brass lamps, navy blue and white paint, armchair with organic curves, subdued lighting … the typical Scandinavian decoration was created by the Finnish agency Puroplan, which relies on sober and cozy luxury (the beds are very comfortable) .
Suite 3008, which offers one of the most beautiful views over the Place de la Gare-Centrale – with, in the background, the Ateneum, the Finnish Museum of Fine Arts housed in a neoclassical building -, also has the final Finnish touch: a private microsauna adjoining the bathroom. Ideal for warming up after spending the day braving the cold of the city. Leaving the room, linger in the hotel lobby, where there are still chairs and wooden tables painted in sky blue and designed by Eliel Saarinen in 1919, during the construction of the building.
Scandic Grand Central, Vilhonkatu 13, Helsinki (Finland). Room from 130 € approx., Suite from 280 € approx. (depending on dates), breakfast included. scandichotels.com/hotels/finland/helsinki/scandic-grand-central-helsinki
At 550 meters: explore the hills
This architectural UFO opened three years ago is made up of two distinct parts on the outside: a modernist cinema from 1936 at the entrance and, at the back, in a public square, astonishing cement-tiled hills that end in portholes to illuminate the interior of the museum with an overhead light. Inside, Amos Rex offers temporary exhibitions of contemporary art (Bill Viola until February 27, 2022) which take advantage of this flexible and surprising basement space.
Amos Rex Museum, Mannerheimintie 22-24. amosrex.fi/eng
At 600 meters: savor a brioche with spices
Finnish gastronomic symbol, korvapuusti is a tasty brioche with cinnamon and cardamom sold in all bakeries in the country. The Gateau brand offers pistachio, cranberries and lactose-free variations in its pocket bakery, which can be enjoyed on the establishment’s small terrace while soaking up the city atmosphere.
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