Category Archives: Gyeonggi-do

Petite France (쁘띠프랑스) in Korea

Settled in a beautiful environment and only sixty kilometres from downtown Seoul, Petite France is an interesting place for a short stop on your way to Gapyeong or Nami Island

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Petite France is an artificially-made village inspired by European style built in a beautiful and pristine natural area between Cheongpyeong Dam and Nami Island. Located on the busy touristic road to Gapyeong, Nami Island or Garden of Morning Calm, Petite France is usually quite crowded especially during the weekend afternoons.

The concept of the village is to bring European feeling and atmosphere accompanied with cultural experience programs and performances (street flea market with European antiques, melodies from the Orgel and marionette performances). The main theme of the village being  Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s Little Prince, the statues and paintings of the young prince fallen to Earth from a tiny asteroid can be seen almost everywhere.


The village atmosphere with its colourful little houses gained popularity among filmmakers and Petite France became the filming place of many Korean TV dramas and entertainment programs. Today many Asian tourists are visiting to eagerly revive the scenes of “Beethoven Virus” ,“Personal Taste”, “My Love from the Star”, “Secret Garden”, “Running Man” and others.

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On Petite France official website, you will find the exhaustive list of exhibitions and things to do in the village. If you are really craving for an authentic European experience, just don’t expect too much. The first impressions of the site are pleasant and the views of the surroundings are amazing (particularly the view from the observatory and Butterfly Park), however the village is quite small and the indoor exhibition areas seemed to us rather outdated and disappointing. Most of the exhibits are a poor display of mismatched, kitschy and fake objects pretending to be part of European or French heritage. Another weak point in our opinion is that there is no restaurant (better said there used to be one but it closed its doors). On a sunny day, the wooden deck of Petite Terrace would be the best place to enjoy a good meal while overlooking the Cheongpyeong Dam and the mountains. You can still buy a coffee and slice of pizza in the wooden booth but no hopes for a European style lunch.

 

Even if we were not fully ‘sold’ on the authenticity and European feel of Petite France, the village may be worth a stop if you are in the area and want to enjoy the beautiful nature with the mountains in the background – particularly now in a wide array of autumn colours.

If you are looking for a restaurant we tried Dakgalbi restaurant 성희네집 – located 5 km west from the village and loved it (경기도 가평군 청평면 고재길 86-297, tel: 031-584-3695)

 

Directions:

616 Gosung-Ri Gapyeong-Gun, Gapyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do

경기도 가평군 청평면 고성리 616

Tel: 031-584-8200

Beware… returns back to Seoul during the weekend late afternoons or evenings can be very very crowded. On the shorter itinerary, the route 75 connecting to the Cheongpyeong-Geumnam section (route 46) can frequently be fully blocked. It took us more than an hour to make the first 15 kilometers. You may consider alternatively to take the longer way through Gapyeong connecting to Gangchon IC. The full trip will be longer, approximately 110 km, but it might be faster if traffic on the Chuncheon-Seoul Highway 60 itself is fluid.

Opening hours:

09:00-18:00 (Last admission: 1 hour before closing)
* Seasonally late night opening hours can be extended

Admission:

Adults: 8,000 won
Teenagers (Middle & High School Students): 6,000 won
Children (ages 3-Elementary School Students): 5,000 won
Seniors (ages 65 & above) / People with Disabilities: 6,000 won

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Konjiam Arboretum (Hwadam Botanical Garden)

Royal azaleas, wild flowers, birch tree forest… Spring’s cherry blossoms may have wilted but there are other types of seasonal flowers at their peak right now. Take a tour in Hwadam forest for a perfect colourful spring scenery!

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Located in Konjiam Resort, Hwadam Forest is a less known botanical garden easily accessible from Seoul and one of the perfect destinations for a spring picnic in the nature.

Opened in 2010, Hwadam Forest has been designed by the LG Foundation as a preservation sanctuary for many trees and plants species.

This beautiful 1,350,000-square-meter area is renowned for its pink royal azaleas in May and colourful maple trees in October and November.

 

Start your tour by the walk across the Bridge of Promise and admire the view of the large pond with its traditional Korean house. You can choose from different hiking courses which take you around the arboretum.
The main 5-kilometer trail has a low slope and is easily accessible for prams.

You can also take a monorail right from the entrance of the arboretum and enjoy the view from above. It takes around two hours to explore the entire area but count more if you want to  picnic or have a drink on the terrace of the coffeeshop by the lake. There is also a small playground at the end of the trail.

 

How to get there:

278, Docheogwit-Ro, Docheok-Myeon, Gwangju-Si, Gyeonggi-Do, Korea

Opening hours:

  • March– May 8:30 – 6:00
  • June – October 8:30 -6:30
  • October – November 8:30 – 5:00

Admission: adults 9,000 KRW, children 6,000 KRW

Information: Tel. 031-8026-6666

For more information, check the Korean website.

 

Flowers, paddle boats, music and Lego playtime at International Horticulture Goyang Festival

Take a family trip to the Goyang Horticulture Festival, along the Ilsan Lake, devoted to the latest creations in flower varieties and  packed with family activities… Only until May 10, 2015

Hello Kitty floating island, Ilsan Lake, International Horticulture Goyang Festival

In the heart of Ilsan City and directly accessible by subway, the Lake Park is a convenient spot for weekend picnics or a gentle walk around the lake. In April and May, it is particularly nice as it is covered with a variety of seasonal flowers: cherry blossoms, azaleas, tulips, etc. You may also return in other seasons to admire the Autumn foliage or sled and ice-skate in Winter! You may enjoy walking paths up to 7.5km and nearly 5km of biking lanes. The night music fountain bordering the lake is a local attraction on its own (Apr~May, Sept~Oct: weekend + holidays 7:30~8:30PM; Jun~Aug: daily 8:30~9:30PM).

In other words, you may enjoy the Lake area almost all year round but you might particularly head there right now until May 10, 2015 for the renowned International Horticulture Goyang Festival.

The festival hosts activities and exhibits from 25 countries in various garden-themes booths or outdoor areas. Larger pavilions include the World Flower Pavilion showcasing international varieties of tulips, roses, orchids and more, or the Multimedia Harmony Pavilion, combining lightning effects. Besides the indoor areas (which were a bit disappointing in our opinion), we appreciated a lot more the outdoor thematic gardens such as the Metallophones playing area or the garden-in-a-container artistic creation.

You may also enjoy some cultural activities including music and dance performances, crafts (soap or candle making) or paddle boats on the lake itself.  For our kids, the best part was certainly the Lego booth where they could play and create freely at their own pace. The booth holds exhibits from all main lines of Lego products: Duplo, Friends, Ninjago, StarWars, etc.

On the festival’s premises, limited food-and-beverage options are available (snacks, hot-dogs and alike). More diversity can be found in the back streets out of the festival area in the city itself.

How to get there:
[Subway] Jeongbalsan Station Exit 2 [Line No.3 for Daehwa] +5min. walk in the direction of Lake Park.

Admission: 8,000 KRW (Foreigners only), Free under 4-year-old

Information: Tel. 031-908-7642~3

For more information, check International Horticulture Goyang Korea website.

Goyang Horticulture Festival borchure

Goyang Festival Map

For localisation, see our Seoul Map for Kids and Families

International Horticulture Goyang Festival