Chernobyl Paris Urbex Photo Tour - September 3rd to 13th, 2020
Chernobyl Tour - "Photographing the beauty of urban landscape"
Chernobyl, Paris and Brussels and urban points in between, this is a photo adventure of the urban kind. During our trek we will be exploring and photographing the urban landscapes of Paris, including the catacombs, including Paris at night. The industrial ruins of Charleroi, including the cemetery of rail trains, Laminoir de Montignies or Usine Shelt an abandoned steel factory, and the Cooling Tower and Power Plant no longer generating electricity. This marvel sits in the neighbourhood of Monceau-sur-Sambre. Then on to the contacting beauty of Bruges also called the Venice of the North. This fairy tale like city is famous for it's cobble streets, bridges,canals and buildings. We will spend a day photographing in Brussels before flying to the Ukraine to explore Kiev then on to spend 3 days photographing and exploring Chernobyl.
This will be an amazing experience in photography ... step out of your comport zone and join us for this unique urbex experience. I look forward to photographing with you on this adventure.
Chernobyl and Paris Urbex Photo Tour Itinerary - September 3rd to 13th 2020
OK, so what exactly is Urb-Ex? - The word is an acronym created from the words URBan and EXploration - and basically it refers to the pastime of visiting abandoned buildings and the like, often derelict and decaying, for the purpose of exploration, and photographically capturing urban decay.
Day One: Thursday September 3rd, 2020 Our motor coach departs London mid afternoon for Pearson International airport offering guest pick-ups along the 401 corridor. Guests departing from the Toronto region will meet the group at Pearson International airport. Our flight Air Canada flight departs for Paris at 7:30 p.m.
Day Two: Friday September 4th, 2020 Our flight arrives into Charles Dugal Airport Paris at 8:30 a.m. Welcome to the city of some of the most iconic sights, the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and the Louvre just to name a few. Upon arrival we will be greeted by our local guide who will help us transfer to our hotel. We will check-in and have some time to relax before this evenings events. We will meet for our welcome dinner, then head out for our first evening night photo shoot. For the next two nights we will be staying at Mercure Mont Martre Sacre Coeur Hotel. (D)
Day Three: Saturday September 5th, 2020 Breakfast then meet our coach and guide and travel to the Catacombs, the chilling tunnels of skulls. The Catacombs of Paris are an underground ossuary which hold the remains of over 6 million people. We will spend 2 hours here before proceeding towards the city centre. Along the way, enjoy some free time for lunch on your own before embarking on a city photo walk and tour.
The photo locations include Pont Alexandra III bridge in the heart of Paris that spans the width of the River Seine. It was to symbolize the friendship between the French and the Russians, The Eiffel Tower from Ecole Militaire and Trocadero – built in 1889 and an epitome of love. The on to the Louvre Museum, formerly a palace, is now home to a vast collection of art pieces by a number of famous artists. We will visit the Arc de Triomphe and the famous Notre Dame – Recently it caught on fire and is closed for renovations, however from a distance it still holds its charm and character. Dinner will be served at our hotel/restaurant. Set off into the city again for some after dark shots of the incredible Eiffel Tower and the Louvre. Returning to our hotel Mercure Mont Sacre Caeur. (B) (D)
Day Four: Sunday September 6th, 2020 A 6AM start to our day we will travel with a packed breakfast. Today, we will be checking out and travelling to Charleroi – One of the most Urbex City in Europe. The drive to Charleroi is approximately 3 hours. Be sure to wear some comfortable footwear for today’s adventure. Our guide will be waiting our arrival in Charleroi who will accompany us through the day.
Today we will be photographing a train cemetery, where trains once used to run the lines, now an empty concrete jungle. Then on to Laminoir de Montignies: Or also known as Usine Shelt this was a steel factory that built after the World War II when it was in high demand, however the great recession started also the same time. The site was built in 1970 and left for dead in 1975. The large shed still houses some of the machinery and large metal structural stairs. Then a visit to the Cooling Tower/ Power Plant: This is the most famous of them all. It still looms over the town however no longer generates electricity. This marvel sits in the neighbourhood of Monceau-sur-Sambre.
We will the head towards Ghent where we will be spending the next two nights at the Novotel Ghent Centrum. We'll check-in, have time to freshen up and then dinner,served at our hotel. (B) (D)
Day Five: Monday September 7th, 2020 Breakfast and time to head to Bruges. A.K.A Venice of the North. This fairy tale like city is famous for its beautiful bridges, canals, buildings and of course the cobbled streets. Meet our local guide in Bruges, who will take us on a photo walk you through the imagery of this quaint town.
We will visit the Market square – the popular central plaza, which holds a number of bars, pubs and dining locations. It dates back to the 12th Century. It is also known for its beautiful multicoloured buildings. Basilica of the Holy Blood -Behind the Market you will find another of Bruges’ charming squares, the Burg. Around it you can see the splendid Stadhuis, city hall and the white and gold Brujse Vrije, where the city archives are stored. We will have time to enjoy come of the local dishes.
This afternoon we do a canal cruise offering up a different view of the town. We will then continue our walking tour to see the Burg Square ad the Belfry of Bruges. Tonight dinner will be served in Burges before travelling back to our hotel the Novotel Ghent Centrum. (B)(D)
Day Six: Tuesday September 8th, 2020 Brussels - Breakfast check-out and drive to Brussels. Todays drive is approximately 1.5 hours. When we arrive we will meet our local guide who will take us on a photo walk through the cobbled streets of Brussels. Buildings and architecture that are so different from one another will be our focus today. We'll Royal Mint building, St Michael’s Cathedral, and the Grote Market. Enjoy some time at your own device to have some lunch. Brussels is also, the creative home of the Tintin comics, keep your eyes peeled for some incredible street art. Along the way, sample some Belgian chocolates and have an opportunity to buy some. You will also see a row of shops selling Belgian waffles. It would be rude not to try one, right? Later this afternoon return to our hotel which is located close to the Brussels airport as tomorrow we fly to Kiev. Dinner tonight at our hotel. Overnight Parker Hotel Brussels (B)(D)
Day Seven: Wednesday September 9th, 2020 Breakfast, check-out and transfer to the airport. Flight from Brussels to Kiev where we will be met by our guide and transfer via coach to the city centre. Our frist stop will be lunch at a local restaurant then check into our hotel. Mid afternoon we will take a city photo walk. We will photograph Khreschgatyk street and Independence Square and visit the People's Friendship Arch. We will explore St. Michael's Golden-domed Cathedral, the 11th Golden Gate, one of the fortified main entrances to the city and 18th century opera house. Dinner at a restaurant near our hotel. Radisson Blu (B)(L)(D)
Day Eight: Thursday September 10th, 2020 Breakfast and then prepare for our 3 days of exploration of Chernobyl. We will travel to site visitation office for check-in then depart for Chernobyl. We will stop at "Dytyatky" checkpoint. Pass through Dytiatky police control checkpoint on the border of the 30-km Exclusion Zone (exclusion zone and the zone of absolute (mandatory resettlement), passport check, instruction of safety rules. We will visit the Cherevach village. Behold hundreds of deserted houses on the way to Chernobyl town. Zalissya village. A place that was once home for more than 3500 people.
Then on to discover the town of Chernobyl. The town with more than 4000 residents, most of whom are the personal of the Exclusion Zone and Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. We will make a photo stop in front of a Chernobyl “Welcome sign” Then visit St. Ilya Church and the bell tower, Chernobyl Downtown, main square, Wormwood Star monument then visit the memorial complex to all towns and villages that got under the law of mandatory resettlement. There is a statue of Lenin. A rare chance to see a statue of an infamous communist leader. We will se the destroyed synagogue and Chernobyl river port, and visit the Memorial “To those who saved the world” near the Chernobyl fire station whose brigade was one of the first to arrive at the place of Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant disaster on the ill-fated night of April 26th, 1986.
The exhibition of authentic, remote vehicles that were used to clean up the aftermath of the ChNPP disaster and the Rassokha Vehicle Cemetery. A well-known forbidden object "Rassokha" - one of the last cemetery of radioactive equipment left after the liquidation of consequences of Chernobyl accident.
We will then pass the Leliv checkpoint, an entrance to the 10km zone. Here there is a Soviet secret military base Chernobyl -2 and Duga over-the-horizon radar station is the most secret object of the Soviet Union, and was marked as a “summer camp” on all topographic maps of that time. For the distinctive sound in the air while working (knocking) was called "Russian Woodpecker". The height of the station is about 150 meters, length 800 meters. After the circumstances of 1986, it was frozen and exploitation was discontinued due to possible damage to electronic equipment.
We will carry on and visit the village of Kopachy. Buried village and its only building – kindergarten. We will enter the territory of Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, the Cooling towers of the ChNPP see the Unfinished building of the ChNPP 5th reactor and drive around Chernobyl power plant. We will stop and see the observation deck of the new safe confinement ("Novarka")
During our first day we will also meet the Samosely "self-settlers" are residents of the 30 kilometer Zone of Alienation surrounding the most heavily contaminated areas near the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Belarus and Ukraine. This evening return to our hotel for dinner and time to review some of todays work. Overnight hotel Deyatka. (B)(L)(D)
Day Nine: Friday September 11th, 2020 Start the day with a breakfast at our hotel, then depart for day 2 visit Chernobyl. We will pass by the remains of the Red Forest. A relatively small section of a forest belt, about 10 square kilometers, assumed the largest share of the released radioactive dust during the explosion. A powerful radiation leak "painted" the forest in a bright red colour. Trees have helped people a lot at the cost of its lives, delaying dozens of tons of radioactive dust as a filter - the pine crown is very dense and well retains dust. One of the most unique places of the Chernobyl zone, where you can visually observe the effect of radiation on living organisms even today.
We will then visit Yaniv Railway Station an abandoned railway station situated near to Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. A lot of trains were left in a hurry when disaster happened. Then on to Prypiat, we stop for photos as we enter Prypiat. We will visit the “Bridge of Death”it is said that many who watched the fires that night from the bridge near Chernobyl did not survive.
We will then pass the checkpoint and enter the Prypiat town, many things to see, a commemorative cross, People's Friendship statue, Medical unit number 126, Pripyat Cafe, Pripyat abandoned fluvial port, cinema, Hotel Polissa, Palace of Culture Emnergetik, and one of the first supermarkets in the USSR. Then on to Pripyat Amusement Park The non-functioning park is located in the center of Pripyat, behind the square with the buildings of the department store, the Energetik Palace of Culture and Polissya Hotel. The most famous object in the park is the Ferris wheel, which became one of the symbols of both Pripyat and the entire Chernobyl exclusion zone as a whole later. The wheel never worked; its launch was planned for May 1, 1986. The park is one of the heavily infected sites in Pripyat.
We will also visit the “Avanhard” Central Stadium, Kindergarten "Cheburashka", Swimming pool “Azure” and Pripyat fire station. This evening we will return to our hotel for dinner time to review images and prepare for our final site visit the following morning. Overnight hotel Deyatka. (B)(L)(D)
Day Ten: Saturday September 12th, 2020 Start the day with a breakfast at our hotel, then depart for day 3 visit to the Chernobyl region. Because this is a photo exploration tour we have added the third day on-site. We will use the third day to return to areas of high interest or areas the group wish to re photograph as reviewing the previous 2 days images. We will be on-site until 6:00 p.m. today. This evening we will return to Kiev for dinner and prepare for our return trip home. Dinner at a restaurant near our hotel. Radisson Blu (B)(L)(D)
Day Eleven: Sunday September 13th, 2020 Breakfast check-out meet our guide and transfer to Kiev airport to begin our journey back home. Kiev to Paris and to Toronto. We arrive in Toronto at 7:35 p.m. Clear customs meet our motor coach and travel back to London arriving at approximately 10:30 p.m. (B)
Our Chernobyl Paris Urbex Tour will offer up some of the most unique photo opportunities. The weather is comfortable that time of year with temperatures in Paris of 14C to highs of 23C with slightly cooler temperatures on the coast. Kiev is very similar in temperature 11C lows and highs of 20C.
The cost of our Chernobyl Paris Urbex Photo Tour is $6225.00 per person CAD based on double occupancy including air via Air Canada, plus air taxes of $694.22 CAD and $15.60 HST. Single supplement available for an additional $1025.00 CAD.
A non refundable deposit of $850.00 CAD is required at time of booking. Balance 60 days prior to departure. We recommend the purchase of travel and health insurance as this tour takes us out of the country.
Please note your passport expiry date must be valid for 6 months past our return date of September 13th, 2020.
Your tour includes:
- Round trip motor coach via Cherrey Coach Lines to Pearson Airport, Toronto
- Departures from London & Woodstock, other pick up points please inquire
- Round Trip Airfare via Air Canada
- Internal flight Brussels to Kiev
- All airport and hotel transfers,
- Accommodations during our tour as listed in itinerary or similar
- Breakfast everyone morning during the tour
- Dinner every evening
- Some lunches as specified in our itinerary
- All Admissions during the tour
- Chernobyl program
- Permissions for Photos and Video in Chernobyl (no drones)
- A special escort in Chernobyl
- Air conditioned transport in Chernobyl during our visit
- Tour hosted and escorted by photographer James Cowie
Alcoholic beverages, laundry and tips.
Tourist Visa Fees (we will assist with applications and processing)