Petite France is a famous filming location of Korean dramas. Among them are “Beethoven Virus”, “Secret Garden” and the recently concluded “The Man from the Stars”. I saw all three dramas and I wanted to visit the place after watching “Beethoven Virus”, starring Kim Myung Min and Jang Geun Seuk. I couldn’t find the right opportunity to go there until last Saturday, April 5th. My husband told me we should go to Petite France since he also enjoyed watching “The Man from the Stars” starring Jeon Ji Hyun and Kim Soo Hyun.
Petite France is located in Gapyeong in Gyeonggi province and it is only an hour drive from Seoul. The “French village” is on the hilly side of Cheongpyeong Lake. It is not just a filming site and a place to experience “French culture”, but it is also a lodging place with 34 guest houses. There is a restaurant, a cafe and a gift shop for the souvenir hunter. We spent four hours taking photos, watching shows, learning more about the author of “The Little Prince” and looking at the collection of dolls, figurines, paintings and household items. We also spent time waiting for the rain to stop before heading to another building. And when it wouldn’t stop, we just left and headed to a restaurant for Gapyeong’s specialty dish ~ makguksu.
At Petite France, you’ll find a lot of things connected to “The Little Prince” ~ the book loved so much by Koreans. There are statues, artworks, different versions of the book on display and photo zones!
What my Korean husband enjoyed most at Petite France are the shows. He watched the 3-man band play “La Vie En Rose” and a few more songs that I didn’t catch because I was busy somewhere else ~ probably being asked by tourists to take their photos. My husband also enjoyed the presentation at the “Orgel House” that lasted for half an hour. And he really waited for the magic-mime show at the Event Hall that was pretty funny. He also spent time reading every word at the museum dedicated to Antoine de Saint-Exupery ~ one of the two French authors that he likes. The other one is Bernard Werber.
What my Korean-Filipino son enjoyed the most are the photo zones at the Event Hall. He played with the puppets and pretended to be a puppet master. He also liked the “Orgel House” presentation as he loves seeing how things work. My two boys spent some time playing with the wooden arcade games: pinball, labyrinth and foosball. He wanted to play some more but there were other dads with their kids waiting for their turn.
What I enjoyed the most is visiting the “traditional French house” and the “Antique Shop”. I love the colorful plates on display, the dolls (clowns, girls, witches) and figurines. I was most attracted to the dolls and seeing them reminded me of a childhood fantasy to collect previously-owned dolls. I heard some people behind me say the collection is scary but nah! I mostly enjoyed watching the tourists enjoy take their turns to pose beside Jeon Ji Hyun and Kim Soo Hyun’s wall photo and I was asked to take photographs several times!
How much is a trip to Petite France?
~ Entrance fee for adults: 8,000 / teens: 6,000 and children: 5,000
~ A cup of Americano coffee is 3,800 won and a Latte is 4,500 won
~ Two pieces of churros costs 4,000 won
~ Souvenir: a small fridge magnet is 3,000 won
How to get there? We took our car and spent an hour driving to Petite France from Dongdaemun-gu in Seoul taking the National Road 46. To get there by public transportation, take the bus to Cheongpyeong from Sangbong Bus Terminal or Dong Seoul Bus Terminal. When you get to Cheongpyeong Bus Terminal, wait for the Gapyeong City Tour Bus or the City Bus. The Gapyeong City Tour Bus is a hop-on hop-off bus that costs 5,000 won. It’s better to go to Gapyeong early so you could visit other places too like Namiseom and the Morning Calm Garden.
What to prepare? Food! The prices of food at Petite France is a little pricey. Check the weather and bring an umbrella. A camera and lots of patience! We went there on a weekend and even if it was rainy, there were lots of tourists.