Category Archives: week-end tips

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observatory and Butterfly Park), however the village is quite small and the indoor exhibition areas seemed to us rather outdated and disappointing.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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Old Sanmaki Road 산막이옛길 and Goesanho Lake 괴산호

Beautiful wooden deck trail passing by mountains and streams with scenic views of Goesan Dam…  Enjoy the nature at its best along this 4km-long eco-friendly path

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If you take a ride to the Korean countryside of Chungcheongbuk-do, make sure to stop by  the Old Sanmaki Road 산막이옛. This spectacular trail is connecting Saorang Village (located in Waesa-ri, Chilseong-myeon, Goesan-gun Chungcheongbuk-do Province) to the small mountain village of Sanmaki.

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Start walking from the main parking lot passing the local merchants stands until you reach the main entrance of the trail marked by a huge stone at the top of the hill. This is the first spot from where you can observe the hidden beauty of the Goesanho Lake (dam built in 1957).

The trail continues for around 4 kilometers and leads you approximately half way around the lake. The path is almost completely prepared as a wooden deck and fits very naturally in the environment. You’ll probably stop many times to take pictures and admire different sceneries and views of the mirror-like Goesanho lake. The highlights of the trip will probably be the wooden suspension bridges or the three-meter-high observatory with tempered glass on the floor.

Once you reach the picturesque Sanmaki village, you can continue to walk or take a short boat trip on the way back to admire the lake and the mountains from different point of view.

You’ll find many coffeeshops and local restaurants at the beginning – around the parking lot but also in Sanmaki village if you need to stop for lunch or just a quick snack.

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How to get there:

546-1, Saeun-ri, Chilseong-myeon, Goesan-gun, Chungcheongbuk-do

충북 괴산군 칠성면 사은리 546-1

Transportation:

  • From Dong Seoul Bus Terminal, take an intercity bus to Goesan (괴산).
  • From Goesan Bus Terminal, take a local bus bound for Sujeon (수전) and get off at Oesa-ri (외사리).

Admission Fees:
Free for the trail – boat fee 5,000/3,000 won (adult/child)

Parking Fees:
2,000 won

For more information go to http://sanmaki.goesan.go.kr

 

 

 

 

Seoul Outdoor Swimming Pools 2015: Summer Splash & Fun!

Much later than previous years and long overdue due to the MERS outbreak earlier this summer, the Hangang pools are finally open!

Seoul Outdoor Swimming Pools are open from July 17 to August 23, 2015. Seven pools welcome you for a refreshing Summer splash & fun – including six locations along the Han River Park and one in the Nanji River Park.

Along the Han River, seven great reasons to enjoy Seoul Hot Summer! From West to East: Nanji Riverside Swimming Area (out of the map below, West side at the level of World Cup Park) and six others nested within sections of the Hangang parks in Mangwon, Yeouido, Jamwon, Ttukseom, Jamsil and Gwangnaru.

Seoul outdoor pools map

Some pools offer specific attractions catering to various tastes. At the Ttukseom pool you can float on tubes along a 450-meter-long water stream and have fun with the “Aqua Ring”, a facility that pours a lot of water at once from a four-meter height.

In Yeouido, there is an Aqua Ring along with a tunnel in which water forms a swirling vortex. Children’s swimming pool in Jamsil has fountains spouting water in the form of a tunnel at the end of each side.

Seoul Outdoor Swimming Pools Opening

Nanji Riverside Swimming Area – just at the level of the World Cup Park – can be visited by people in ordinary clothing: the wearing of bathing suits is not mandatory here. The park is also very popular among children due to its 113 floor fountains, which spew water as high as 10 meters into the air, and a musical fountain equipped with LED lighting. A water slide called “Air-Bounce” is installed both in the swimming pool and the water pool.

All seven pools are perfectly maintained, with daily quality tests on water, convenient and clean facilities including shower, restrooms, air bounce castles and light snack stands. Each one provide 3 different pools to cater for different aspirational needs: one is reserved for adults, one for teenagers or older children, and the last one is specifically for small kids with low depth of water.

Overall the pools are very nice, with great views over the Han River and picturesque background scenery from the Bukhansan and Namsan mountains behind Seoul’s riverside front.

Hangang Swimming Pool Hannam

Hangang Swimming Pool Hannam Seoul

Seoul Swimming Pool outdoor bouncing castle

Opening Hours

The six riverside swimming pools and Nanji Riverside Swimming Area will be open from 09:00 to 20:00 daily until Sunday, August 23, 2015, including weekends and national holidays.

Admission

Adults 5,000 won

Younth (13~18 years) 4,000 won

Children (6~12 years) 3,000 won

Directions: Seoul Map for Kids & Families