A Change of Pace: A Special Report on Why Foreigners Are Falling in Love With "Artek"

Today, a new shift comes to the international summer camp Artek. Many foreigners, including the French, will take their vacation on the coast of the Black Sea. Some of them visited the camp last year and are now bringing their friends along. Artek became a sort of magnet for them.

Anastasia Popova with the details from France.

Alexandra is looking forward to going to Artek. It'll be her second time in Crimea. The mixture of cultures and languages, the spirit of mutual respect and international friendship inspired her so much that this summer, she decided to bring her French friends along.

Alexandra Frankhauser: "At first, they were cautious, they didn't know what to expect. All those political issues you see on the TV, you know. But I showed them the photos and videos of the great scenery and now they're eager to join me in Crimea".

Alesya Miloradovich, Artek employee: "Surprisingly, the French kids and youth are becoming increasingly interested in Russia. The group that's going to Artek this year shows that the kids who visited Artek last year managed to persuade their friends and tell them how great Russia is".

Alexandra, 15, is a synchronized swimming champion in the Île-de-France region. Only the best go to Artek.

Sergey Treleau: "I like Russia. I want to have fun in Artek, Maybe learn something see Crimea, St. Petersburg, Moscow and learn a bit of Russian".

Their schedule is tightly packed. No video games are allowed. Artek is raising true people by unlocking and multiplying their potential. Sergey is fond of judo and his sister loves dancing.

Alyona Treleau: "We'll bring costumes. Each of them will represent a French region. I'll have a fringe dress for dancing cancan. We'll try to win the costume competition".

There will be not only modern outfits but medieval dresses as well. The girls are dressing up before departure. They need to check whether everything fits and, of course, take a picture.

France is not just about singing, dancing, and wearing perfume but also cooking. Two cooks are going to accompany the French group to cook something extremely delicious for the competition. He's cooking potatoes with a duck breast. There are no snails or frogs on the menu. Dominique is a cook with 30 years of experience. He's cooking traditional French veal in cream sauce with mushrooms. In Artek, the kids will learn to bake an apple pie. It's Dominique's first trip to Russia.

Dominique Frankhauser, cook: "No, I'm not afraid I'll get eaten, poisoned, or something like that. That's sounds plain silly".

In France, the negative attitude and the fear to let their kids visit Russia are gradually disappearing. French kids have come to Artek for three years in a row. This year, there are two groups. Each year, the Russian Crimea attracts more and more vacationers.

Anastasia Popova, Ilya Bernadsky, and Irina Kudesova , Paris, France.